Home Archive Prev Next

Life Will Never Be The Same And How That Affects Me

Couple walking in fogWe try to write from the heart by looking at our relationship and asking how we have been this past week, and out of that arises a facet of how we are that becomes a blog post, but in this past six months, the fires, floods, politics and pandemic have so changed our lives that we have to include them in how we have been.

For me, Phil, I have given myself over to it. The world has changed and will not be changing back to the way it was. Perhaps it was an Eden then, perhaps I forget many of the struggles. Whatever, I am trying to take comfort from the view that great changes are happening, and to be entertained, not horrified. I try to be aware of the moment. I will have breakfast soon, granola and yogurt; we’re out of berries, but raisins will do. Aren’t I lucky?

I have long been concerned about how our environment is being progressively impoverished. A year or so back, I read a long piece listing the many impending collapses and the author’s response of grief. Grief. She named the feeling for me, and I have been living it ever since. A drive in the country will evoke it by reminding me how fragile the landscape is.

I grew up in the shadow of grief – I don’t want to tell the story now – and have spent a lifetime avoiding its consequences. In telling this to Maude early in our relationship, she said that grief could only arise from great love, and I was illuminated. The other side was opened up for me.

Now grief is here again, and I deal with it in several ways. One is to take action, whether recycling, giving money, writing, or making a video about the state of politics. Another is to change the timescale through which I look at things. In a hundred or 10,000 or a million years, the events of today will be no more than the texture in the cloth of life.

Then there is being present, which is viewing the timescale in completely the opposite direction. You’ve all heard the mantra of Be Here Now so many times, I’m sure you can recite it back to me. Let me offer a different take. We, life, existed for billions of years without speaking. Around 100,000 years ago, the forebrain developed language, which became a powerful tool for how to understand and manage the world, and now thoughts and words are indistinguishable. But the older, preverbal way of understanding the world still exists within us, and being present allows that into our consciousness, although by definition, we cannot speak about it.

I wrote an 8-part commentary on sitting meditation that starts by describing it like an onion. The outer layers are our thoughts; below them are our emotions, and below them is simply being. Sitting is an aid to getting in touch with a different way of relating to the world, the earlier way that existed before language.

I have been telling all this from a solo perspective, but the last, and most important part of my world, is that I am surrounded by people. (Most connections are virtual these days for obvious reasons, but they still work the same way.) They affirm that I am not alone in the world, that they are not me but are like me.

We have this deep need for connection. We measure who we are by how others see us. We act to fit in as much as we act to stand out. We live in a space halfway between the individual and the group. We want to be unique and we want to belong, to subsume ourselves in the larger group, to feel connected, to lose ourselves for a greater good. We find who we are within and we find what we are in our family, our town, our career, our country, our humanity. This is how we love.

Next week, Maude will share her perspective.

Photo Credit: Maude Mayes

We would love to hear your responses and how it has affected you. Click here and leave them on the blog directly.
 Headphone iconClick here to listen to Phil reading this blog.

Successful Relationship Reading Corner


Books on shelfIn this week's blog, Phil explores the exceptional stresses of the time and how he deals with them. Here are some good articles on how to cope with changes.

Coping With Change "Change is inevitable. Sometimes it can be positive – business growth or a pay raise. At other times it can be painful – losing your job or a personal loss. Often the hardest changes to understand and adjust to are the ones that are unexpected and out of our control – a recession, a global pandemic, or a major disaster, for example. Changes of this magnitude can be difficult to come to terms with, but you'll often find that your experience of them can be made better or worse depending on your reaction and your attitude. So, in this article, we'll explore the different ways in which people tend to approach change, the reactions that you might have, and how to best cope with it."

How to Be Hopeful, Even When It’s Really, Really Hard "In times like this (not that I can name another time like this), it feels impossible to maintain any sense of hopefulness or optimism about the future. Not only is it a challenge to imagine any future in a world where things are constantly changing, but it’s especially tough to think—let alone expect—a future in which things are actually somewhat positive. But, as uncomfortable as it may feel, pushing ourselves to imagine that better future may be a crucial way for us to maintain some semblance of mental well-being—now and whenever that beautiful future does arrive."

Dealing with Uncertainty During the Coronavirus Pandemic "Uncertainty is all around us, never more so than today. The current COVID-19 pandemic has heightened uncertainty over the economy, employment, finances, relationships, and of course, physical and mental health. Yet as human beings, we crave security. We want to feel safe and have a sense of control over our lives and well-being. Fear and uncertainty can leave you feeling stressed, anxious, and powerless over the direction of your life. It can drain you emotionally and trap you in a downward spiral of endless “what-ifs” and worst-case scenarios about what tomorrow may bring."

Spreading peace one relationship at a time
Phil and Maude
Read our blogs at PhilAndMaude.
Like us on Facebook
Follow us on Twitter and Instagram
Email us at philandmaude@philandmaude.com
If you are interested in newsletters you've missed, see our archive.
Do you know anyone who would enjoy this newsletter? Tell them to sign up at http://philandmaude.com/howtwo/.