As we encountered and subsequently plunged into 2020 survival mode, we faced a health pandemic, an economic downturn and a racial divide. If you’re like me, you began to question your purpose and presence on earth, and search for mental clarity as well. In his song, “lt’s Always Better When We’re Together, “Jack Johnson asks: Like why are we here? And where do we go? And how come it’s so hard? It’s not easy and sometimes life can be deceiving.
As 2020 comes to a close, I encourage us all to reflect on what we’ve learned during these challenging times. I believe each of us has received at least one pearl takeaway because we’ve had to summon up new ways of living. And when we live in a different way, we get outside of our comfort zone. Sometimes we must ask for help and seek advice. And always, there’s a lesson to be learned.
The wisdom of mental clarity and higher thinking
To move through these challenges, I’ve looked for help from books like A New Earth – Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle. I’ve subscribed to podcasts, including Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations and The Manifista with Portia Mount. And I’ve meditated during my Sunday morning walks listening to my church’s sermons on YouTube. All in an effort to pour in what’s being depleted. The common theme? Rise to higher ground and mental clarity will come. This means…
- Separating self from ego
- Putting down what’s not working
- Choosing to be part of a greater cause
- Responding to this moment with courage
- Giving ourselves permission to_______ (fill in the blank)
I believe mental clarity comes from cultivating humility, grace, joy and humor.
- Humility for understanding life is bigger than us
- Grace for remembering this – and to do our best
- Joy for honoring newly recognized, small moments
- Humor for staying sane in the membrane
Seeing the bigger picture
Have you heard of the Overview Effect? It’s a term coined by Frank White, author and advocate for space exploration. It’s the feeling of being overwhelmed at the sight of Earth from space. Imagine the greater perspective of the vast universe in relation to our tiny space. When we expand our view beyond self, we begin to see a greater connection to life, worth and being. Believe it or not, this expansion can bring unexpected opportunities simply because we’re open.
William Anders, an Apollo 8 astronaut, said, “We came to explore the moon and what we discovered was the Earth.” So in other words, plan A may evolve into plan B. Likewise, what we plan for may not happen. So be ready to receive what does happen and be open to the unexpected path.
We’ve seen this countless times during COVID. Leaders stepping up to the uninvited plate and subsequently shining a light on positivity and resilience: healthcare workers, teachers, grocery workers, service delivery people, the restaurant industry, small businesses and the everyday common person. Why? For duty or honor? Maybe for some, yet for most, I’d say it’s about humility and grace. And the true superstars bring joy and humor as well.
The ego of self
In one of his YouTube sermons, Pastor Bobby reflects on the concept of self. He states the more closely we’re associated with our sense of self to a role, position, or group, the more difficult it is to see a wide, global unity to oneness. Our brains naturally default to subdivision in an effort to organize and make sense. Does this fit? Where does this go? How does this connect?
However, it’s this very need to organize that can be disruptive because we’re sorting according to societal norms. Instead, we should let it be and remain open to mental clarity coming to us vs. seeking it.
Tolle believes self means ego and having consciousness means having greater awareness. He claims our past and our ‘head voice’ keeps us focused on our ego. (Can anyone relate to a relentless squawking head voice)? When we listen to this head voice, we keep ourselves removed from the present moment. We miss the energy of others – an opportunity to greet, acknowledge, share, learn and engage.
Giving ourselves permission
Due to these collectively unprecedented challenges, we must give ourselves permission to pivot and redirect. From a work perspective, I’m interested in learning how other solopreneurs are discovering ways to remain valuable to customers. Many are anticipating needs coming out of COVID and delivering a new or expanded service/product to meet those needs. I’m definitely in this mix and I find inspiration from others who say, this isn’t what I expected but here we are. So let’s go. Let’s reinvent; let’s re-imagine.
COVID, the financial fallout and the #BlackLivesMatter movement have begged us to see outside of our own lives…to see others and have empathy. We are in a moment of time. I wish everyone mental clarity.
I wish for humility to serve others, grace to seize the joy of small blessings and a good joke to keep your head voice light.