A lifetime or practicing powerlessness has prepared me, as much as anything could, for this moment.
My work will begin bringing people back into the building beginning July 8. Our situation will be similar to a nursing home or preschool. There may be some people we can’t bring safely back while the virus is in play. We’ll have to see. I feel more frightened of the virus now, like I did when we were shutting down. I doubt my ability to go show up Monday through Friday, 8-330, even though I did it for 22 years and up until 3 months ago. A line in the literature about being alarmed at the prospect of actual work comes to my mind.
I’ve attended the meeting in the parking lot a few times. We hear of meetings in person inside but haven’t been to any. We hear people do not wear masks or social distance. This was my experience as things were shutting down. We continue to keep the zoom meeting going and I love that. I hope some stay permanently for many reasons.
I’m grateful for the concepts of powerlessness and unmanageability. I just read Jack London’s book John Barleycorn, written in the 1920s about how he is not an alcoholic. Alcohol wrecked his life and his body and killed him at 40. The book is one long denial.
That’s an extreme example, and I learned early on that all that objecting too much pointed to one thing. People who are not alcoholic don’t go around saying they are not alcoholic.
As I move forward in this unique and fraught time I keep those concepts in mind and it really helps me distinguish where to spend my mental energy.
At our meeting the other night we were talking about some negative topic. Everyone talked about how we are frightened and angry and worried and sad. Someone commented “we are not coping well, are we?” And someone else pointed out “we’re not drinking.” Admitting I have no power over that gives me the ultimate power to abstain. I’m not fighting alcohol or anything else. Except my own character defects.