I haven’t written for a few weeks because I’ve been sick with Covid along with managing feelings about what is happening in our world today. Covid took a toll on me and knocked me out for days. I am still feeling fatigued from it, and I believe it will take a long time to fully recover.
Covid and Yom Kippur were essentially intertwined for me this year. Yom Kippur occurred before Covid, but Covid extended my fast for days on end. I couldn’t read or do much other than rest. I was forced to be alone with my thoughts for extended periods of time without any distraction.
When I finally came out of it, I realized the value in taking the time to deprive myself of all the distractions. The introspection solidified some of my beliefs and challenged me to think about some things in an unusual way. When people go through difficult challenging experiences, they may come out with a new perspective. I met a man recently who had been placed in a coma and had several operations over the course of a year. He was dead on the table but has no memory of that part of his experience. He told me that his perspective on life is quite different from what it was. Things that were important to him are no longer on his radar and he pays attention to his everyday life in a different way than he did before.
It is cliche and easy to say “life is short” or take a “day at a time” but life will give you these moments of teaching where you can choose to pay attention and use it to empower you for what is next. For me, this opportunity illuminated my impression of the “the system” we live in. When I say “system”, I am referring to the rules of man that now govern our lives. We enforce these rules on ourselves even when no person is watching because we are taught to do this. There are people that have no rules or break all the rules and we see them in our world. They can be criminals or politicians or highly successful people. They may also live silently among us just doing their own thing, living their own lives.
I am not advocating for anyone to make or break rules, I am just observing how things have worked. I don’t believe the rules or system of mankind as it works today are in harmony with nature. I think we act in unnatural ways, and we fight nature. At some point, nature will overtake us all and we will not continue operating as we do today. We may not even exist.
The other thing that struck me was this linear thinking in the development of our civilization. Years ago, when the Civilization video game came out, we would have enormous potential to meet our end through nuclear conflict. Over the years, even through other games and future leaning scenarios, most of what we see is destruction. We destroy each other.
What I have realized is that we are simply playing out these scenarios as predicted based on how we interact with each other as part of the system. Our behavior is consistent and as our technologies become more capable, we just lean in on meeting the goal. I am not proposing anything or even sharing something with you that you don’t already know. I am simply acknowledging this to be true and reflecting on what it means to me.
It would be nice if the world had a “pause and reflect” moment. Even as the pandemic / endemic of Covid presented us with this opportunity, we as a body did not use it to change. We value our personal illusion of liberties and wealth over the potential for positive change for humankind. The system we have in place is broken. I don’t believe there is any way to change it, but we can work around it. There may be a time where humans will experience a global situation which changes us forever to become harmonious with nature and change some of our behaviors towards the benefit of all people instead of just a small percentage. During my pause and through reflection, I am reaffirmed that the only thing I can do is to do my best to demonstrate my values and take action to help others in my small ecosystem. It isn’t a new lot on life but an acknowledgement that we can only do what we can do and that what we choose to do no matter what is “good enough.”
This is my message today to you. Whatever you choose to do is “good enough”, none of us need to feel guilty about what we did or didn’t do. If you think about how we live our lives and how we get wrapped up on things that don’t matter, we should be told at some point to “chill out” and relax. We should take action and we should take steps in our lives. We should work and we should contribute but whatever it is we choose to do it is “good enough.” We can and should be proud of whatever it is we choose to do and recognize that there is no such thing as failure. I hope you have some time to pause and reflect but through your own choosing, not because you are forced.