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  • Writer's pictureDavid McVety

Into the Abyss: It's Like the Whole World is Holding Its Breath!

The image that comes to mind when I think of this moment in history is one that I remember seeing in the movie “The Abyss.” The scene is where Ed Harris is putting on a wet suite that uses “oxygenated water” to breathe so that he can go into the depths without compression being a problem. When you watch it, you can feel the panic that he feels as the water fills his lungs, as the fear of what will happen, and he finally lets go of trying to resist and breathes the water into his lungs.

I feel like that’s where I am right now… where our entire world is right now. We’ve been holding our breath resisting and waiting for the pressure to reduce, but it’s not reducing. In fact, it appears as if this may be the new normal on many levels. We’re on the verge of needing to let go of trying to breathe air as we have known it and take the leap to try embracing something new.

Also similar to the movie, we’re heading into a world that none of us have encountered before. Ed Harris dives deep, into a world that no one has seen before. We are going into the unknown – it’s scary, dark and constricting. We’re wearing a suite that feels restrictive and breathing is harder so adjusting is hard and we’re resisting with all our strength.

As you can imagine, when we are in survival mode – desperate to get air – we will react to everything around us in extreme ways. If you imagine that someone is holding your head underwater, you lash out and do whatever it takes to get them off of you, unfortunately right now, too many of us are thrashing around and reacting to our children, spouses and others in ways that are going to cause them harm. It makes sense, but it’s a deeply sad reality too.

I’m not saying that we shouldn’t question what’s going on in our world, but maybe settling into the new normal will give us clarity and a richer voice into things when and if we need to ask questions or voice concerns.

So, what does embracing the new reality look like?

Acknowledge – that discomfort is our new normal. Start talking about how you’re feeling with those close to you because we need to realize its normal and expected and NONE of us is on our own feeling this way.

Accept – unfortunately we’re going to start becoming comfortable with our discomfort or at the very least familiar with it.

Share – with each other what is working for you as you adjust. The deepest parts of the unknown are dark, sharing what you find will help others, hearing what others find will help you.

Invite – your children and spouse (and those closest to you) to share how they are feeling.

Notice – that your reactions and the reactions of other’s won’t make sense, because we’re all thrashing around running out of air.

Be Gracious – try not to be too hard on them, or yourself, when mistakes are made. Acknowledge, apologize and make it a learning moment.

Most importantly remember “We are in this together” and if we hold on to each other we’ll make it through.

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