"I knew she would meet her connection." –Jagger and Richards, "Can't Always Get What You Want" performed by the Rolling Stones
If ever there was a song for our times, "Can't Always Get What You Want," released in 1968 could be it. A haunting boys choir sings the opening verse, followed by soft-singing Mick and an acoustic guitar (with Keith's "open E" tuning), leading up to Mick's fluries at each chorus, concluding with a final, "You can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you just might find, you just might find...you get what you need!"
And what we all need is connection. I heard a mindfulness expert the other day share the following formula: "Fear + Uncertainty = Anxiety. 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 still spreading. Let's flatten that curve. One of the best ways to reduce fear and uncertainty is connection. Here are three good connections:
1) Connect to Self: I check in twice a day with TM (Transcendental Meditation) and quick Qigong practice. I have been cultivating these pathways to inner peace over several years, and I am reaping their rewards. Just like planting a tree, the best time to start meditating 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 the "Calm" and "10% Happier" apps already on my smartphone.
2) Connect to Important Others: I check in with geographically close and distant family and friends more than any time I can recall, making sure to intentionally connect with two or three a 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, how helpful is it to share a horrible news item and add, "Expect to see more of these worst cases" without acknowledging the reason we can "expect to see them": That's what news is!
Another FB friend posted images of Indian police using batons, threatening citizens for breaking lock-down rules. I sent a message to my real friend Paul Dupuis, President of Randstad India. I asked what's going on where he is. He replied, "It's quiet, peaceful, people staying at home....I've never seen that kind of stuff." We jumped into a video chat and he elaborated, showing me images of a normally-bustling Bangalore with only birds chirping. He added: "While we've been told to keep 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 it, if we try sometimes, we just might find, we'll get what we need.