Mickey Z. -- World News Trust
August 21, 2020
This moment — this very moment as you read these words — is it. It’s all we’ve got. It’s all of existence. We humans have quite a knack for forgetting this fact. The present moment, especially when it involves what we view as mundane activities, is often taken for granted. We slip into auto-pilot and, in the process, surrender the only thing we truly “own”: right here, right now.
Then… along comes 2020.
Suddenly, the “mundane” requires deep contemplation. You wanna do “the right thing” but what happens when every choice feels both right and wrong? Meeting a friend for lunch. Going to work or school. Stopping by an elderly relative’s house to check on them. Attending a protest. Walking into a supermarket to buy a few items. Interacting with a person of a different race or sex. Ordering in a meal. Paying rent. Each of these “casual” actions now carries the weight of new, profound implications. In some cases, they feel impossible.
In 2019, your brain allotted a certain amount of (limited) energy to efforts that felt routine. In 2020, it now has to allocate a ton more energy to such basic tasks. And it’s exhausting. This is what we call “moral fatigue.”
The stakes are higher. You’ve lost some personal agency. It may feel as if everything you say or do is being put under a microscope by society-at-large and yourself. But what if I told you there are two incredible silver linings to be found within this upheaval?
1. Right Here, Right Now
One of the hardest aspects of trying to practice mindfulness is getting started. How does one embrace the present in a culture that seems mired in the past and/or dreaming of the future? The same factors that can cause moral fatigue can also gift us with a 24/7 mindful reminder. Here we are, forced to focus on the “small” things. Mindfulness teaches us that: a) it’s NOT about judgments like big or small, and b) life exists only in each moment.
In the past, dwells guilt, shame, and regret. Thoughts of the future can often inspire fear, anxiety, and doubt. All of these emotions are being blended into a toxic stew in 2020. However, that blend is dragging us into the present — compelling us to become more aware of and attuned with each choice we make. Good news: Only the present can offer the respite we all so desperately crave.
2. We’re All in This Together
Yeah, it’s almost always tone-deaf to pronounce “we’re all in this together” when human culture has been relentlessly divided into hierarchies, biases, and discriminatory social structures. However, COVID-19, the lockdowns, the economic fallout, and the concurrent racial strife and civil unrest are painfully reminding us about the reality and significance of interdependence.
Take a good look around. Witness what things look like when people refuse to cooperate, refuse to honor each other’s humanity, and refuse to even hear one another. Beneath the external imposition of divisions and classes, we ARE all in this together. We always have been. In 2020, that goes triple. Interdependence is nothing to fear or fend off. On the contrary, it just may be our last best chance to create a softer place to land.
Maybe We’re the Lucky Ones
It has to start somewhere/It has to start sometime
What better place than here?/What better time than now?
(“Guerrilla Radio,” Rage Against the Machine)
Caveat: If moral fatigue is more than you can handle, please seek help
Otherwise, try shifting your perspective. If the world feels as if it’s on brink of collapse, that means there is no better time for a collective awakening — fueled by mindfulness and interdependence.
What we do (or don't do) in the next few months and years will likely tilt us all toward either the point of no return or a far more sustainable, compassionate form of society. In other words, each and every one of us can play a part — right now — in creating the most important social changes ever imagined.
What an extraordinary time to be alive. How lucky are we? We are the ones who have been trusted with and blessed with the most vital mission of all time: survival. How will we/you respond?
Mickey Z. can be found here. He is also the founder of Helping Homeless Women - NYC, offering direct relief to women on the streets of New York City. To help him grow this project, CLICK HERE and make a donation right now. And please spread the word!