Wise, compassionate brilliance from Sara Gorham at Light on the Mountains in Ketchum [Sun Valley], Idaho.
When I was in my twenties, I did a lot of living and traveling in the far corners of the world, spending the better part of that decade improvising one adventure after another, generally without itinerary but always open to whatever showed up. In those days you couldn’t Google where to stay in Calcutta before you went to Calcutta. You just went, trusting that things would work out and generally they did. To be honest, that youthful boldness and assurance amazes me now, but at the time it seemed unremarkable, just a way of being.
Now, with all that is going on in the world, the daily challenges, the unknowable future, I’m starting to think it might be time for me to dust off that youthful assurance and the skill sets and assumptions that went with it. It would appear they could be useful in our current moment when none of us can Google what’s ahead. Instead, the road to what’s next is being laid one brick at a time, just ahead of our footsteps. So, what can we do to best prepare for the novelty of our unfolding future? If I were to take another tip from my younger self, I might suggest we pack light, for it isn’t stuff that we’ll need, but rather the skills and mindset that will help us land well, wherever we land. Here are three things we might consider, things that never failed to serve my younger adventuresome self: curiosity, adaptability and optimism.
We can be curious about the possibilities available to us, about what we might learn and what we might create as the old assumptions of separation fall away. Instead of casting about for what was, we can learn to be adaptable and open to the new “what is,” remaining centered in the moment as things change and evolve. And if we can hold an optimism in our hearts, an expectation for good, we can carry ourselves, not just forward, but upward, buoyed by our knowing that we are at our best and our truest when we are led by our love and caring and not driven by our fears.
We are being gifted with a common experience. It is not an easy passage. We do not make light of the grief and suffering that is part of this experience, but it does afford us a view of our unmistakable unity, of our commonality of being. Let us not waste that realization. I have no doubt that the seas will eventually calm and that the ship we’re sailing will once again right itself, but I suspect that when our ship makes landfall, we will find ourselves on an altered shore, a new horizon. The good news is that our role is not just to arrive at our new horizon, but to co-create it. To best do that we need to be aware and intentional, mindful of our mindset and ready to use our best skill sets, so that the post-pandemic culture we create reflects the heart of our shared humanity and the very best within us all.