Two old ladies stood on the street corner outside my window this morning. They were dressed elegantly for their shopping and errands as they gossiped enthusiastically. It was just as before, except for one thing: they talked to each other through their surgical masks. When they finished their chat, there was no two-cheek kiss but a cautious little wave before they went their separate ways.
Society here is starting to open, step by cautious step. People are emerging from their inner sanctuaries to the outside, each assessing their risk. Some wear masks, gloves, or a plastic face shield. Others throw caution to the wind and swagger through the streets with no protective gear.
We have all taken a journey inward, some more deeply than others. Some took the opportunity to investigate their inner lives. They risked discovering some uncomfortable truths by allowing silence and solitude to envelope them. Others reached out through screens to fill their time and space, mirroring the perpetual motion and ‘noise’ of their lives before lockdown.
Life is the continuous möbius loop between the inner and outer world, between our deepest sense of who we are and what we project to others. Wherever we are, we can catch a glimpse of ‘the other side.’
The möbius strip also represents ongoing transition. It’s never over, this continuous evolution of our selves. Our personal journeys are not linear, with some far-off destination.
Adulthood unfolds its promise in an alternating rhythm of expansion and contraction, change and stability.William Bridges, Transitions: Making Sense of Life’s Changes
The rhythm and hum of society will return, the same but different. In some ways better, others worse, than before. How we move through the outer world depends on how much of our inner selves we care to bring forth. There is a lot of talk and writing about taking this opportunity to change society. However, before we can shift the collective, we need to acknowledge and shift the individual.
The outer world is a continuation of our inner selves.