Over the past weeks I have been sitting with friends, soul mates, directees, clients, mentors, therapists, spiritual directors, and other companions as they explore and reflect on their experience of living in social distancing and in a pandemic. I have heard details of their individual stories and listened for the deeper narratives influencing their words, thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. If I allow myself to sink deeper, below the details, below the narratives, I hear similar themes:
I would like to invite all of us to sink deeper with one another. As we sink deeper, we begin to connect. We connect with our common experiences (apart from the details, which are unique to each of us), our common humanity, and with our core selves. In this connection, we soothe one another’s bodies and souls. We validate, we see, we hear, we offer compassion and understanding. We are validated, we are seen, we are heard, we experience compassion, and we are understood. These are the best gifts we can give one another, and to ourselves. They comfort rather than weigh us down. For in the details, we stay in the spinning and the chaos, in the confusion, and in the unknown. In sinking deeper, we rest. We rest in the knowing, “Here I am, right here, right now.” And we let others know, “Here I am with you, right here, right now.” If we welcome this, then we can welcome the next moment, and the next moment, and the next moment, and the one after that. In therapeutic terms from my training as a counselor, when we do these things, we are grounding ourselves in the present, we are soothing our central nervous systems, we are co-regulating, and we are helping ourselves and each other move through this time of uncertainty and trauma. As a fellow contemplative, when we do these things, we are living out of who we are as a child of God and offering support to our fellow travelers.…..If we listen deeply for what is beneath the surface, beneath the details, and if we allow this to teach us and transform us, then in time we will come to the other side of this. And we will come to the other side with deeper connection with God, with our own selves, and with those with whom we journey.