The crisp morning air fills my lungs. It is fresh. And cool. And the people in my neighbourhood are just starting to wake up.
This pandemic has rocked us all, leaving no stone unturned.
The sense of unease is palpable.
And even the sun seems to hesitate in peaking out from behind the clouds.
And then….off in the distance…..I see it.
The perfect ice puddle.
I quicken my pace, as if someone else may just get there before me.
My heavy rain boots crack the ice with a satisfying crunch. I sink through, right to the sidewalk. Water, breaking free. Feet, dancing in the shattered ice-cubes.
It reveals so much. And when applied to something fragile…..a thin layer of ice…..it exposes the fractures that exist within.
I think about the stress I’m under…..the stress we’re all under….and I see the incredible test of courage that we are all being asked to face.
I see my own weaknesses, threatening to cause my entire being to buckle under the pressure.
And in those moments…..when it feels like I am about to crack…..I remind myself that I have struggled and endured before. I am strong. I am resilient. I am rock solid.
Now, I am definitely not a gardener. And if you’re ever looking for someone to kill a cactus, I’m your girl.
But if there’s one thing I know about plants, it’s that they are incredible organisms (pause….re-read that correctly) at adapting to stress.
Plants will actually acclimate to stress by changing their leaf size, developing antifreeze, or even outright adapting their cells to compensate for dry soil.
Not only that….many gardeners actually swear by deliberately stressing out their plants! Want a hotter pepper? Try letting it wilt before watering.
In the plant world, stress isn’t necessarily harmful. Drought….flood….pests….cold snaps….these events that disrupt homeostasis, are actually a catalyst for change. And in the right doses, plants can turn discomfort into growth…..and long-term stability.
The next generation? Even hardier. And a much greater likelihood of survival.
Does that not totally apply to what we are facing, right in this very moment?
This stress. This discomfort. It can be a catalyst for change.
I truly believe that we will all be able to look back at this time, this experience, this season….and say, wow. Look at how we adapted. How we responded. How we came together as human beings, despite the physical distance.
This will absolutely act as a point of reference for all of us, going forward. Something we can point to. Proof of our resiliency, and our ability to endure something hard.
And not only that….we are setting the example for our children. We are showing them how to weather the storm. And guess what? They will be stronger because of it. They will learn how to get creative in the face of impossible circumstances. They will learn how to stay positive in the midst of chaos. They will learn how to stay connected despite distance. They will learn how to experience gratitude for the smallest of things….things that were once, perhaps, taken for granted.
But only if we are willing to be courageous. Only if we are willing to see this stress as an opportunity. And only if we are willing be the example.
Our children are watching, and learning how to adapt….because we are adapting.
And so I ask you. How are you reacting to this disruption in homeostasis? And how are you using it as a catalyst for change?
For me, it is about grounding myself in the present moment. Working hard to stay focused on the blessings of today….because, well…..tomorrow is not a given.
It is about witnessing my own mind, and learning how to take a step back from my anxiety in a healthy way. It’s about avoiding the temptation to numb the pain. And rather, learning about what truly calms my heart (laughter, human connection, writing).
It is about learning how to be someone who celebrates change, and does not shy away from new and different.
And most of all, it is changing my mindset around "running the hard mile."
You know what I mean.
Every time you get out there, and go for a run, there’s a hard mile. The mile when you start to question how long this thing is gonna be. The mile when you start making excuses. And telling yourself stories. And blaming Ariana Grande for killing your vibe (just kidding….Arianna would never do that).
It is that mile that defines who you are, and how you do life. It is that mile that tells you whether you are someone who stops at the first sign of discomfort…..or whether you are are someone who can push past the negative chatter in your head, and run the shit out of that mile anyways!
I have made lemonade out of lemons before. And this is no different.
With every sunrise that we are blessed enough to experience, we are being given SUCH a gift. The gift to run this hard mile….hell, sprint this hard mile…..and to give it everything we've got. So that....with any luck…..we come out of this on the other side, with newfound resiliency.
Yes, what we are all being forced to do is the equivalent of stripping naked, and strutting down Main Street. It’s highly uncomfortable. It is.
But if I may quote Shakira circa 2001, “underneath your clothes, there’s an endless story.”
We all have latent potential. Endless stories that are dying to unfold. And this….THIS…..is the opportunity of a lifetime to change, to adapt, and to become stronger than ever.