Someone asked me to write about my perspective on how our very large online meditation group has evolved in the past couple of years…we are in the midst of a great physical and social divide all over the world. He did not offer a reason for the request or an opinion of his own. From my point of view, the request seemed a pointless task because so many writers and videographers are already reacting publicly about the COVID lockdowns. I mean, who wants to read or watch another one? Then I thought maybe my meditating brother just thought I should start filling my blog again with something meaningful to me. I know I need to write for my own journey to make sense when I look back on it. What I want to remember about these times is that people like him care for people like me even when we live hundreds or more miles apart. It took a while to wrap my clouded and jaded head around it, but he is who I want to open a conversation about. Empathetic people like him are all around. Just look. Someone is out there picking up on those of us that may not realize how beat up we seem. You might be one of those massively sensitive watchers. For you, for my friend, for all of the people that found a way to connect during times when we were not allowed to step foot in a public space, it is worth the energy to write. It has taken me a year to realize that his request could just have been about healing and self-analysis…for my own sake. But it took me no time at all after starting to write to believe that there is no good reason to wait this long to openly appreciate people who are so seemingly naturally motivated to help the rest of us.
In the past couple of years, during the COVID pandemic and lockdown, I have lost my husband, my mother, my second mother and uncle who helped raise us Oklahoma brats of single mothers-lost two jobs and was forced to move to a new home and put my graduate school program on hold. I didn’t post one word of any of this on social media. I did not speak to a therapist. I did not call anyone to talk or cry about it. But I will say it now, without detail or elaboration on my feelings of fear and helplessness, I still have many days of private crying. I have had dozens of these entire-day sessions, honestly. And most of them are completely Merlot-free. I don’t know how I could afford to medicate with wine every day because, as I mentioned, the jobs keep slipping through my fingers. I am not feeling biased when I say that it is not me, it’s them. And so that brings me to perspective…and why I believe my friend asked me to write.
I got a little addicted to Tik Tok while I was between jobs and because I have spent so much time alone in my house. Right away I found that real people, professionals and non-professionals have a large voice in psychology on the platform. So, now I spend some time on it when I am looking for that help that I never ask for. And today my feed brought me exactly what you and I needed to hear today. I could not tell you who it was. She is lost in my scrolling now, but she said that even though she had not reached out to anyone and was not being “a good friend”, people reached out to her to ask her to do simple things with them in the moment like offering to take a walk with her when she went and leaving groceries at her door because they knew she was eating from the Costco sample displays this week. They didn’t offer advice or talk down to her. None of them she mentioned said a word other than to let her know she had a community and a clan. She said that she is still too down to offer herself to anyone, but they knew she needed them, and they just came to her when she had no idea it was apparently time to ask.
How could we know, hypothetically speaking, that we look like we crept from out of a rockslide unless we see through the eyes of the empathetic people around us because, instead, we are looking into that cracked mirror that went down that slide with us…for years or a lifetime. This is nothing new. Everyone who has a voice in psychology or coaching, counseling, public speaking, are all talking about personal perspectives that do not match what the external world may be seeing in us. I am here to say one thing about this, and I will not drag the point any further. I am in no position to prejudge anyone in their agendas. However, everyone has a looking glass built upon their own life experiences. The empaths do not hold that up to us. Literally, figuratively, they just do not-not those people that have a natural motivation to help others. People that honestly want the best for us because we happen to be in their space whether they know us well or not are the ones to take perspective from. These are the people who have come out of the woodwork during this pandemic. These people are teaching the rest of us and re-creating the communities we have lost since we became more about industry than community. I will belabor it no more than that.
I have listened to the hardships of people with the burden of empathy. It is not easy for them to take on so much and to lose energy to be available and open to other people. Heroes have the most challenging lives. If you are one of these persons full of empathy and drained of all the energy people have needed from you over the past 22 months, I hope it is alright that we need you. I hope we can learn somehow to feel more like you. I believe a new community can come from all this. I hope we can breathe air together again soon and all the helpers can have some relief and the rest of us can offer something to the world in return. I hope we can all find closeness because you taught us.