The other day I was on Instagram and I decided to run a poll asking if Social Distancing was the New Normal. Almost 80% of poll participants said YES! I think on some deeper level, we understand that even when our Shelter-In-Place Mandate is lifted and we are able to gather again in large groups, or flood the parks with fresh hiking routes, the world as we were experiencing it prior to 2020, is gone.
Something else is opening up in front of us. As humanity we're experiencing survival fear. Even if your ego says you'll be safe in your home washing your hands, your global primal nature knows that you have no control over the course and experience of the Coronavirus. Because of this, you, in your own way, have to reconcile your beliefs:
+ Why are you important?
+ Why should you (personally) survive?
+ How can you maintain the networks of safety and love that you've leaned into for so long?
Even as you are struggling to understand the meaning of life, you're also by necessity creating new social and survival processes that the world hasn't seen before.
I remember being young and watching movies about the amazing technology of the future--dreaming that we might one day have phones without wires, or that we could talk to each other face to face from little gadgets our wrists! I thought these dreams were fantastical and assumed that if I ever lived to see them, I would be an older woman in my 80s or 90s. The possibility of cell phones, instant information at your fingertips, and advanced computer automated services (like ordering takeout, self-driving cars, or even digital streaming music!) weren't even glimmers on the horizon. Our home tv was the width and depth of my refrigerator. Our home radio was a fancy one, the primary entertainment unit of the house! It was four feet tall and larger than my bathtub in length and width.
Technology has advanced over the years, and with it, our means of interacting has shifted. When you have wikipedia, you no longer spend a whole afternoon with your best friend flipping through the entire World Britannica Book Series looking through every index to find your keywords for a paper. Texting replaces carefully worded phone calls, and simple polite rules we grew up with suddenly no longer apply, because the technology of our connections is shifting so rapidly.
This year the whole world was put on pause by a virus, and in many ways, it means our technology will again take a huge leap--this time out of necessity as we are isolated in our homes and reviewing our lives.
How do you want to hold our culture as that happens?
I ask because I realized today that culture can't be woven by a few Instagram Socialites or the government. It's up to each of us to craft it. My young child doesn't know how to write a polite email, doesn't understand why one might sign a message, doesn't comprehend the subtleties of emotion as they translate through technology, and isn't learning through online school all of the wise mini-lessons we gain just from interacting with dozens of people and being forced to spend time with them. He doesn't understand why the rampant hyper-stimulation of most social media networks could actually be damaging to his sense of reality--and he's not alone.
When I was a child, I spent many hours alone, and for a chunk of years after the death of my grandmother, I didn't have great adult role models to show me culture. As a result, I became most comfortable in life when I was alone. I found that I felt safest and most secure when I was locked away in a bedroom writing, or out exploring the world on my bicycle with nature as my best companion. I could have become extremely socially awkward, but almost everything I needed in order to survive required extensive human interaction. Because of the time, I learned the basics, and then of course I had wonderful friends and family to help me along the way when I was older. Today, you can get books, tv, movies, music, friends, food, even a job, at the push of button without having to see another human. Do we want to be this automated?
I love technology. As an energy healer, I see it as alive. But because technology can also render hours of human interaction obsolete, it's even more important for us to take time each day to decide how we want to weave it into our lives during this hugely transformational year.
We can use technologies (like social media, movie and video games, and apps) as a mental escape that keeps us from having to directly face our current human experience...
Or can we can use these very same technologies to create bridges between each other, forging new landscapes for how communication in the 2020s looks, and opening us up to new, important challenges in human social interaction.
DAILEY LITTLE is a healing practitioner, transformational life coach, ordained Priestess, and teacher who founded Healing Heart Reiki to help others navigate life with joy. She teaches classes in healing and mindset from a magical peaceful corner of the world in Northern California. For more info see: www.SantaRosaReiki.com