"I knew she would meet meet her connection." –Jagger and Richards, "Can't Always Get What You Want" performed by the Rolling Stones
I woke up this morning thinking....hang on, before I tell you what I was thinking, let me ask you: How many blues songs contain the lyrics, "I woke up this morning..."? I asked that question years ago, rhetorically of course. Today, though, I googled the question and--surprise! – up came an answer: 330,870. Nearly 1/2 a million songs! That, Dear Readers, is how an ENFP gets distracted. But I'm on track now. Watch:
I woke up this morning thinking about what causes our dreams. Because I had just awakened from a dream of graphs, curves spiking and flattening. No one knows exactly what dreams do, how they function, but we do know that our days effect our nights, and the last thing I remember looking at last night were two terrible graphs, one of "cases" and one of "unemployment claims." Today, I will not be looking at those graphs, or any others. Graph blackout!
Why? Because I figure, there is nothing any graph I check today will help me decide what to do today. On the other hand, a friend wrote a set of new titles for old songs he suggested I put lyrics to, including "My Corona," to the tune of "My Sharona," one of my favorite Bauhaus hits. Now that might be something worth doing.
If ever there was a song for our times, "Can't Always Get What You Want," released in 1968 (!) may be it. A haunting boys choir sings the opening verse, followed by soft-singing Mick with an acoustic guitar (tuned in Keith's iconic DADGAD "open G"), leading up to Mick's furious fluries at each chorus, "but you just might find, you just might find...you get what you need!"
And what I need is, above all, is connection. I heard a mindfulness expert the other day share the following formula: For an individual, Fear + Uncertainty = Anxiety. And for a group, Anxiety shared and spread leads to panic. This is what we're seeing around the world. Heightened sense of anxiety, and it's spreading fast. Let's flatten that curve. One of the best ways to reduce fear and uncertainty is connection. Not the dealer in the Stones' song, but three others:
1) Connect to Self: I check in twice a day with regular TM (Transcendental Meditation) and mini Qigong practice. I have been cultivating these pathways to inner peace over a few years, and I am definitely reaping their rewards. Just like planing a tree, the best time to start meditation practice is 20 years ago, and the second best time to start is today. I've also just downloaded Sam Harris's "Waking Up" app, as it's received so many accolades from real friends that I will add it to "Calm" and "10% Happier" that I already use.
2) Connect to Important Others: I check in with distant family and friends more than any time I can recall, making sure to intentionally connect with at least two or three a day, often multiple times each day.
3) DISconnect from Negativity: A few Facebook "friends" (I'm starting to reconsider even being on that platform) have shared such negativity that I have now vowed to practice "Facebook Distancing" as an anti-anxiety practice. I mean, when someone writes, "Expect to see more of these worst cases" and won't acknowledge that the reason we can "expect to see them" is that "worst cases" is what makes money for news organizations, what's the point of engaging with them?
I want to share an example of why this DISconnection is curcial: Some FB friends were posting images of Indian police using batons and threatening citizens with guns if they break the new lock-down rules. I sent a quick message to my real friend Paul Dupuis, President of Randstad India (60,000 employees). I asked what's the situation where he is. He replied, "It's quiet, peaceful, people staying at home....I've never seen this kind of stuff...." We jumped into a video chat and he elaborated and showed me images of a normally-bustling Bangalore with only birds chirping. And he added: "While we have been told to be apart during this crisis, it's actually helped us to come closer together. When this crisis ends (and it will end), we have an opportunity to craft a new world of work."
So let me ask you: Which connections and disconnections can you make today that will make a real difference in your and others' lives? Remember, you can spread anxiety, which leads to panic, or you can inspire desire for what we want. And even if we can't always get what we want, if we try sometimes, we just might find, we get what we need. And a day filled with positive connections will more likely lead to better dreams tonight.