Updated: Apr 22, 2020
Written by Solstice Community Solar
There’s a bridge in my hometown that the locals know well. If you’re not from the area you wouldn’t be able to tell this bridge apart from any other, and nine months out of the year its sole purpose is to allow traffic to cross the river (as bridges do).
In the warmer months, though, kids and adults alike watch the tide chart closely. Around high tide every day, parents unload cars full of kids in the adjacent lot and groups of twenty-somethings dock their boats and balance barefoot on the ascending rocks to congregate across the 30-foot-tall bridge, all in bathing suits. People of all ages line the railings, drivers honk as they cruise by, tourists on a seacoast stroll stop to revel in their discovery of a local tradition, and some daring souls watch for breaks in traffic before running across the street into a backflip off the bridge. Among the jumpers, friends heckle their timid pal and strangers cheer on the 10-year-old whose parents finally let her jump the big bridge.
It sounds like a charming tradition, right? Not for eleven-year-old me when I first went with my older sister and her friends. I remember the utter fear I felt as I wrapped my leg over the railing and flung my arms around it. A forklift couldn’t move me from that spot. I made a slight lurch, but in a split second my arms were entwined tighter around the railing than before. I was afraid. With a full bridge as my audience I felt the pressure to “JUST JUMP!” as they put it. But I didn’t. I climbed back over the railing, picked up my dry towel, and sulked back to the car.
Leaving the bridge didn’t feel good. I wasn’t happy with how I had reacted. Soon after I went back and made sure to JUST JUMP within seconds of climbing over the railing. Once I made the leap, the feeling that overcame me was so exhilarating and energizing that I jumped again, and again, and again.
I couldn’t change how tall the bridge was, but I could change how I thought about it. I started focusing on the feeling that precedes the scary thing. It’s not about the jump, but the triumph over it! Once you come face to face with fear and choose to keep going, you’re able to live a life where fear doesn’t call the shots.
I go back to that bridge every summer, and it’s never the jump I’m excited about -- it’s the reminder that I am bigger and more powerful than that which scares me.
Think for a minute of the COVID-19 as the jump. We’ve already climbed over the railing, locked our arms, and are facing something that scares us. Remember, it’s not the situation (the jump) that defines us. We can’t make the bridge shorter to ease our fears, but we can control how we react to empower us to overcome it.
Grounded grappling is something I use to help me when I’m feeling scared or anxious. It’s a simple shift in how I view my relationship with fear -- fear is not working against me, it’s working for me. Fear is on my team. Fear is a signal that growth is near and necessary. There’s somewhere I need to be, and I can’t get there without learning from whatever it is I’m about to go through.
At the moment, it’s hard to see where we’re being led, but there are lessons to be learned that can only come from seasons of darkness. Resilience is continuing to progress, regardless of the circumstances.
Chances are, you’re spending more time than usual at home. This can feel isolating, but it certainly has its advantages. In the age of constant stimulation, take this time to truly slow down.
Here are some ways you can invest this time back into yourself:
Read a book
Maintain a journal
Paint, draw, or get going on some crafts
That topic you’ve always wanted to learn about, but always put off? Become an expert at it!
Get that home improvement project done
Mental health is just as important as physical health while we combat this pandemic. If you haven’t explored any mindfulness practices that work for you yet, Ten Percent Happier is offering a free guide to help us get through this with mental toughness.
A good place to start is to practice gratitude and seek out inspiration. This can lift your spirits and put things into perspective by focusing on what you do have. You can’t single-handedly cure COVID-19, but you can control your mindset -- practice to make it a positive one!
An event of this magnitude is uncharted territory in this lifetime. We’re accustomed to a certain level of social interaction daily and we’ve grown used to the security provided by the longest-ever bull market. Fear is a normal reaction to the status quo being pulled out from under us like a rug. Remember, though, while we can’t change that which we fear, we can change how we react to it.
Lean on your community (a healthy 6 feet apart), because we truly are all in this together. It may feel backward that, at a time when uncertainty is especially high, we’re being told to stay away from our support networks.
Luckily, physical separation doesn’t mean we’re totally apart. Something as simple as sending a text to check-in with your loved ones, particularly those most at risk, can make all the difference.
It’s exceedingly rare that we all battle a common enemy. Rallying as a community against COVID-19 could help to change the trajectory of social, political, and economic issues for generations to come. Moments of crisis are also the moments that draw us together.
Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, but they will be among the hardest hit by the effects of quarantine. You can support local businesses now more than ever by buying gift cards and ordering takeout from your favorite neighborhood spots. We have to help them survive so they’re there to host the celebration when it’s safe!
As much as we like to think we’re removed from nature, we’re not. We evolved outdoors, and the brain benefits from getting back to its roots. At a time where feelings of isolation are high, nourish your mental state by visiting the great outdoors. There’s a good chance you won’t have to worry about coming within 6 feet of others, so local parks and trails are safe and aren’t going anywhere.
Fueling The Future
The community that emerges from this is not going to look the same as it did prior. We are going to have to recover. Thankfully, there has already been an outpouring of teachable moments. We’ve witnessed first-hand how collective actions make for swift and great impacts, and how people can come together to help each other pivot. Arguably the biggest takeaway, though, is how to be resilient.
While COVID-19 won’t touch everyone physically, it is already affecting us all socially and economically. That makes finding places to save extra important. Moving forward, here are a couple of ways to save on your bills:
Finding a local community solar project will provide energy bill savings and build resilience for your finances. These are totally free to join, so there’s no need to worry about costs.
Comcast is connecting people in need with free internet services for two months, as well as increasing speeds for all customers.
If there ever was a time to live through a pandemic, I’m glad I’m living through it in this day and age. Not only are medical staff more prepared than ever, but we’re also connected in ways unimaginable even twenty years ago. We still have the ability to talk and laugh with each other, even if it’s through a screen for the time being.
In summary, I’ll share a word of advice my friend recently gave me: “You could really benefit from a few deep breaths.”
Personally, I can breathe easier knowing we’re all in this together, as a community, a country, and as an entire planet.