Today, Russia invaded Ukraine.
At the same time, Omicron is ravaging Hong Kong. Unlike previous waves, COVID feels so intimate this time around. There are people around me catching it.
I have found myself stressed out, anxious and short tempered. On the positive side, I have been paying closer attention to myself. I have become more self aware, more mindful.
It is interesting to observe how I have been reacting to such stressful circumstances. The last time the world was as confusing as today was probably during 911. I remembered I woke up in the morning of 912 genuinely wishing everything was just a dream.
I am noticing more nuanced emotions. In the midst of hopelessness, I sensed the undercurrent of helplessness more precisely. I was able to pinpoint more accurately at why I lost motivation in doing anything- it was because nothing seemed to make a difference to the world events. I also noticed my desire to search for anchors. The serenity prayer grounded me surprisingly well!
I was also keenly aware of what wasn’t working. “To bounce back” didn’t resonate well with me. I did not think it was a right goal for me to try to return to the previous states of mind. Instead, I preferred how Ray Dalio coped with the loss of his son. They did not try to bounce back. They dove in and tried to embrace whatever mourning threw at them.
In the months after his son’s tragic and sudden death, Dalio and his family devoted daily morning hours to wrestle with trying to keep and let go of his son. They leant into the emotions together. They felt each other’s emotions deeply, bluntly, painfully. They dwelled on what it felt to empathize with oneself and each other. They exposed themselves to the full range of emotions, from fragility to softness, from despair to nostalgia, from guilt to grace, from regrets to serendipity.
Lastly, no matter which introspective path I took, I always ended at the same question, “Am I using my time the best way possible?”
I am glad we can confidently say yes. We are putting all our money and effort into trying to educate better. I am devoting all my time into counselling adults to be better leaders of themselves and other human beings.
I will work even harder in advocating for better parenting. I will be more fearless and turn my conviction on self mastery and self maintenance into something truly useful. I will challenge myself to get into emotionally charged topics and conversations, and work as hard as I can to stay calm, be kind, and be useful. I will push myself to get involved in the messiness of human communities. I will overcome my tendency to isolate myself. I will engage and participate. Dope-Dad WhatsApp groups and NFT discords, here I come!
And hopefully this current round of madness will prepare me well for whatever suffering “existence” will bring me next.