Apparently, we make meaning out of everything. The sky is blue and that means..., I vote Democrat and that means..., I have this degree and that means..., etc.
The colour of our skin, the job we have, the money we make, the religion we follow: all of these, and all the rest, have a meaning of some sort that we attribute to it. The meaning we attribute to anything defines so much about how we think and respond to life, especially critical times in our lives, such as a Pandemic.
Meaning however is more often than not a learned experience. Our culture, politics, financial status, family, upbringing, religion and more: all generating meaning for us - meaning that we use to generate responses to our ever changing environment.
Meaning, in many cases, has become a default. How we react, respond, cope, or not, the ways we see and feel our world are, for so many of us, a default setting.
The global Pandemic is a catalyst for emotion where many people find themselves defaulting to positions of fear, anxiety, anger, and of course creativity, compassion, care, love and hope. The MSM would have us believe that it is doom and gloom and yet there are many stories of creativity and success. People seek for stronger footing in times of hardship and the mind seeks solutions.
What if our default position in times of significant change was creativity, trust, compassion and personal wellbeing? What if there is always a silver lining to the storm clouds and this state of mind becomes our default response? The meaning we make out of the shift in our environment defines what happens next, and in times of pandemic, climate disruption, and everyday life-change, meaning is everything.
'This means that', becomes what ever we want it to mean. 'This Pandemic now means I fell even more inspired than ever to create positive outcomes'. 'This crazy time means I can feel more encouraged to trust myself and my ideas’. ’This upheaval now means I can feel even more empowered to love and act with compassion’.
The narrative that we hear repeated from the main stream media is a generalisations, distortions and deletions of the most negative or extreme responses to the crisis: riots, political upheaval, unemployment, financial difficulty, financial collapse and more. It can feel challenging to not let this constant stream of generalised information to get under your skin, and yet, if we shift our meaning-making perspective, we can take it on board knowing that we are a part of the regenerative solutions that are, and will continue to unfold.
When you notice yourself ‘making meaning’ that does not feel like it is serving you: stop, take a moment and ask yourself; ‘What do I want?’ Name it: ‘I want some inner comfort!’ Now make a statement: ‘I wonder how this crazy situation i find myself in (or witnessing) can mean I can built more and more inner comfort’.
Here’s the thing; your mind does not differentiate between reality and fantasy. Try it; Remember a lovely event from the past and notice how your body responds - your body believes it’s real and happening. That is how horror movies and love stories can generate such strong responses. So, when we shift the meaning and use the words I have suggested, the mind and body simply take them onboard.
The trick is; don’t expect an answer or an immediate internal response - just consider the idea, shift your perspective, and unlike what the power-broker out them might want, take control of your own state of mind and the behaviour that follows. I call this 'Collateral Freedom' - personal freedom arising from what appears at first glance to be the opposite.