Lean In To Each Other – A New Normal

As humans our brains were built to search out and develop habits which help us multitask, learn from experience and thrive. When our dynamic shifts, one of the challenges that comes up is that we have to change from operating on autopilot, in many areas, to a willingness to adopt new perspectives, new attitudes and new tactics to thrive in our new reality. This requires open-mindedness, ingenuity, and faith.

Yet, adjusting to a new normal doesn’t just mean adopting new patterns and skills. It also means leaning back on time-proven supports that have helped before. No doubt there are things we have to abandon, things we need to adjust and things we need to approach differently, but there are also skills, tools and principles that have carried us before and will carry us again.

Like our forefather Jacob, who in the midst of the greatest battle of his life took the time to go back for the Pachim Ketanim – the small vessels – that were overlooked, taken for granted and left behind, it’s critical for us to reflect and recognize what strengths and skills we left behind this past week when we were in panic and then adjustment mode. What were some of the things we did last month that made a big difference to us. What got lost in the shuffle that we can go back for now, and pick  up.

When we are open to a fresh experience, but also keep what works close to our hearts, then we truly have a new normal!

Yet, for our new normal, to be truly normal, we have to remember that we are in this together.

At this point in our journey through #Corona2020, there are two types of people; 
Those of us that engaged supports and found a new normal in this challenging time. We worked hard to follow the instructions of our governments and authorities, taking care of our physical, emotional and spiritual well being. We practiced resilience in tough times developing a plan of self care that fosters spiritual growth for the future. Many of us are starting to feel burnt-out. We are beginning to come to real terms, on an experiential level, with how long our new normal is actually going to last.

Then, there are those of us that didn’t yet develop a vibrant plan. Some of us have families with needs, and the early phase of this challenge meant focusing on their immediate safety and essentials; parents, children, spouses etc. Some of us caught the early wave of the virus and have been very ill, we simply weren’t able to develop a plan. Lastly there are those of us whose impulse was to retreat, in the hope of waiting out the difficulty, and reemerging when normal was normal again. All of us in this boat are waking up in a world that demands a lot, if we have any hope of maintaining our Yishuv Hadas – our Emotional Sobriety.

So, what do we do now?

We gotta lean in!

Feeling burnt out?
A lot of us can really benefit from your support, your guidance and your wisdom.

Feeling overwhelmed?
A lot of us can really benefit from supporting you.

Our protection mechanisms tell us that when we have abundance we need to be careful and hold on to what we have. Then when we are struggle they tell us we need to keep up a good attitude so we aren’t consumed by it. Those are useful impulses, but not right now & in this way. Right now we need to share freely what we have and let others in.

When we share spiritual strength we get stronger not weaker, and when we admit spiritual struggle we get higher not lower.

So today, let’s go back for the Pachim K’tanim by leaning in to someone who didn’t have time, ability or focus to prepare the way we did, or let’s lean on someone who did. When we lean toward each other we reveal the divinity within and take the opportunity to shine it outward.

When we all take ownership of this opportunity to shine, our New Normal is one teeming with divinity, love and kindness. A normal well worth the struggle it took to bring it about.

About the Author
Menachem Poznanski, LCSW is director of The Living Room, a clubhouse for Jewish young adults in recovery from Alcoholism and Addiction. Menachem is co-author of Stepping out of the Abyss: A Jewish guide to the 12 steps (Mosaica, 2017) and the editor of both Consciously and The Light Revealed, two social media initiatives focused on the messages of Jewish recovery and spirituality. Menachem resides in Cedarhurst, NY with his wife Naomi and their children, Zoe and Tani.
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