Our time in the In Between began in 2020 when the global pandemic shut down the whole world. We have been in it ever since and we will be in it for quite a while longer. We are in between two worlds. The one we knew is gone and the new one has yet to form.
This is a bit of a no man’s land. Anything goes. There are very few rules and the ones we have keep changing with the tides of our new circumstances. Our old routines don’t quite fit and we haven’t yet developed new ones because the sand hasn’t stop shifting yet. The world hasn’t settled into its next form.
We are unmoored and drifting through time. It is imperative we allow ourselves to just be however we are right now. We are all moving through the stages of grief and trauma at this upheaval in our own way and at our own pace.
Recognizing the Trauma of Now
As the events of the past year keep piling on, I encourage you to remember to be gentle with yourself and give grace to your loved one, neighbors, grocery clerks, service staff, health care professionals, etc. It has been quite a year, we are still in the trauma and we can’t begin to heal so what we have to focus on is triage.
And triage is managing our emotions and our capacity. Let’s start with emotions.
Give them room to breathe. We do not have to analyze what we are feeling too deeply, in fact, don’t analyze them at all. Just feel them. There will be plenty of time later for analysis.
We can allow ourselves room and time to cry or scream or rage or laugh. If we don’t add our thoughts to the matter and feed those feelings all of our fears and worry, they will dissipate quickly and we are left feeling lighter and better able to manage the large load we are each carrying right now.
Notice if you are numbing your feelings with your favorite vice. Just notice it, the goal here is awareness. In the middle of the trauma is not the time to try to fight yourself about your coping mechanisms. Maybe work on accessing a feeling hear or there so the numbness doesn’t get too settled.
My go to ways of access feelings when I am numbed out is with music, books, TV, or movies. Choose something that will stir you up so you can release what is locked inside. This will allow you to free the emotion without looking at your specific situation which you may have zero control over right now.
A good cathartic cry, scream, or belly laugh will keep you from falling into Zombieland. You will be able to stay better connected in your relationships and/or show up for job with more resources.
There is so much about our daily lives that we can’t control. Work schedules, child schedules, store schedules, etc., it is important to remember that we have a capacity, a maximum volume that we can hold. Do you know your capacity?
We usually only know our capacity when we have sailed right past it. Have you thought about how you can reduce your capacity? At least temporarily?
With so many things on our plate that are not flexible, we will need to find where in our schedules there is room for flexibility. Maybe it is with chores? Maybe it is recruiting help from other family members or coworkers or community?
Asking for help is often hard, so sit with it. Warm up to the idea. See what things can wait, what can’t and if it can’t how you can find a solution that works for now.
Now is not the time for perfection, it is the time for good enough. Experiment, let your creativity explore options without censoring them. Life has constricted. Our time, our options, our space, our lives are constricted.
If we allow it, this is when our creativity shines. Get crazy with it. Not every idea will be feasible. Not every option will work out but I trust that you will find the nuggets you need to keep going. To keep showing up and getting things done.
Don’t forget to breathe. Don’t forget to scream and cry, even if those aren’t your feelings you are experiencing, let the energy escape. There will be a time in the future when we can get specific and do our healing, for now it is triage and balancing our precarious capacity.