Fear and loneliness are a vicious combination. Typically, when we’re afraid or lonely, we seek the comfort of our family and friends, and when we encounter someone who is afraid or lonely, we instinctively comfort them. The pandemic wrinkle encouraging compassionate separation creates a contradictory message: Don’t seek or provide physical comfort because that will cause COVID to spread. While quarantining and social distancing are necessary to save lives, this isolation causes each of us to battle our internal emotions alone, or simply become numb to the whole situation. After 9 months of spiraling emotions, it feels like most of us are surviving in numbness, only functioning at the surface level of our feelings. When all you have are zoom and socially distanced interactions, it’s hard to stay emotionally connect to ourselves and others.
The vaccine has brought some hope to 2021, but it remains unclear how we will thaw from this numbness while overcoming our bottled up emotions. Paving a positive path forward within our communities will take an abundance of patience and love for ourselves and others. There is hope, but we have our work cut out for us. Feelings of fear, anger, and greed have sparked disagreements and division throughout society. As we unpack these emotions, there is a strong possibility that we will continue to stoke the many varieties of division in our country, but if we want to build a better future, we need to find a way to come together through love.
Love is the vehicle that will help us rebuild our communities, but when emotions like fear and anger are running high, we forget about the importance of our human connections. Love is strong but soft, so we need to quiet our minds to connect to our hearts. For many, quarantine survival has depended on the distractions of streaming and scrolling. If you’re interested in connecting to a higher purpose as human interactions transition back to normal, it may be time to reduce the distractions and start to look inward.
There are many ways to connect to love, but the most potent strategy for me is meditation. Training the mind to slow down and listen creates a natural connection to the heart and love. The adventure of exploring the emotions buried within us is often turbulent, but the destination is a more calm and loving mind. If we can connect to the love within us, we will discover the love that connects us, and be able to build the brighter future we’re all looking for. As you set your New Year’s resolutions, you may want to include meditation on your list. May we all find our own way to connect to love and the people in our lives in 2021. Happy New Year!