Apparently I cannot quite let go of this blog, despite my intention to do so. It has provided a valuable outlet for me that apparently satisfies something in me that a “professional blog” may never do. So I will occasional post when I feel I must, because I find it so therapeutic. It’s also faster than my handwritten journal, which has taken a slight backseat to a practice daily voice memos to myself.
Daily voice memos are like a personal “podcast” that I can go back to hear in my own voices how my thoughts, beliefs and feelings evolve over time. And I’ve also felt almost obsessively drawn to re-listen to a podcast series called “The Way We Live Now.” Hosted by Dani Shapiro, it ran from April 14th to July 3rd this year. I listened to all 59 episodes (short form mostly 10-20 minutes) when they were first released, but I felt compelled to go there again.
As I re-listened, I found the listener stories, a feature posted on Fridays to be particularly compelling and beautiful. They feature glimpses into the worlds of people working through grief, coping with previously unimagined scenarios, and finding joy during the pandemic.
I keep asking myself: why does this draw me in so deeply? And I think I now know: because so many stories illustrate the deep resilience of humans coming together during a crisis to support each other. And the voices we hear in this podcast that are not often heard feel so relevant to me. We tell each other our stories to connect, and reassure each other that we are not alone. The shared humanity feels profound.
It helps to be aware of my “input channels” and not to take in too much every day. I also recognize a need to counterbalance measured doses of news coverage with healthy doses of stories that fill me up spiritually. I am grateful to Dani Shapiro for this, and for her memoirs and other podcast, Family Secrets, now in its 4th season and also produced with such tenderness and care.
Is there any doubt that “The Way We Live Now” requires revision and radical re-imagining as we keep moving forward?
Now that I have seen new possibilities and have had time to imagine and test a few new possibilities, I am less willing to go back to past situations and behaviors which did not work well. Self-criticism gives way to self-compassion. My “old self” felt confined and contained, and it now yields to a new self being re-born.
While that feels tender and scary at times, it is not possible to “unsee” what we have seen. What undiscovered new joys and surprises will appear as we craft together our New Normals?