Here’s an imaginary public address announcement that airline passengers might hear in the early fall, 2020:
“Ladies and Gentlemen, this is from the flight deck, your captain and her crew. We have been warned that we will encounter some turbulent skies and we all need to take special precautions in order to stay safe and make it to our destination: Sanitize your hands, the seat and seat back in front of you; act with kindness and compassion toward your fellow passengers; keep your seatbelts fastened for the duration of the flight and no rushing to get out the door upon landing; take your turn patiently.
Remember that the world economy is sound, and we face a bright and prosperous future – once we clear the turbulence. Blue skies are ahead, so keep the faith, put on a happy face, don’t complain, show gratitude toward the crew members, especially those who are working behind the scenes to keep our planes clean and safe. Give thanks for your blessings and take nothing for granted.”
This might not ever happen, of course, but it does illustrate how much we have learned from the virus invasion of our country and the world. If this pandemic is a great “teacher” for humanity, there are some lessons we would do well to make permanent elements of our new way of life, post virus. Especially those parts about not taking things for granted and being grateful.
Two things are at work in our lives everyday that are critically important: attention and intention. Let’s start with attention – what, exactly, are you focused on these days? Are you looking at what truly matters most? Are you treasuring the time spent with your children and your spouse, or are you impatient and cranky about having too much time on your hands? Are you counting your blessings or your irritations? You get to choose what to give your attention to and it influences everything else you do.
Intention is equally important, and is also determined by your choices. Before you get out of bed in the morning, do you set your intention for the day? Before you have a conversation with your kids, do you set your intention for what you want to say and how you want to say it? When you decide what to fix for supper, do you set an intention that it will not only be nourishing, but also demonstrate your love for your family in how the meal is prepared and served? And when the day ends, do you consider your actions and review how well you served others during the day?
Life is full of challenges; this virus is life-threatening and silent. It does not discriminate by age, gender, geography, ethnicity, or occupation. It is an equal opportunity provider of illness and death. How we each contribute our attention and intentions during this scary time will help shape our future, and our shared destiny.
Will there be blue skies ahead? If we each act with conscious attention to focus on those things that matter most to us, such as love, compassion and kindness, and if we each set mindful intentions to contribute to helping others and to doing good then I believe we can manifest that for our future world. It’s up to us, all of us, to think about what is best for the common good, not just for our individual lives. As veteran John Holmes, who served in Iraq, has written, “There is no better exercise for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up.”