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December 8, 2020

How to Create Connection & Meaning during Times of Uncertainty & Isolation.


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I remember the day I looked down at my mom’s hands and saw something I had never noticed before.

Instead of the soft, smooth skin I loved running my fingers along, I noticed tiny lines—wrinkles—reminding me of the inevitable passage of time.

Despite my attempts to live fully in the present and successfully slow down time in a day, years are still passing by.

My mom’s hands and the increasing wrinkles around my own once-youthful face reflect back this one constant in life: despite how young we may feel, our time on this Earth is limited. The opportunity to truly make a difference is relatively short but easier than we may realize.

Living in this fast-paced, high-pressure society is not always easy, especially during these times of increasing uncertainty and isolation. Feeling the weight of the world on our shoulders and the pressure to produce more and impact others can leave us feeling drained.

Social media constantly reminds us of the pain and suffering in the world. Algorithms can trigger feelings of defeat when we dare to share our creations and bare our soul. It’s no wonder we feel the urge to pull away—shrink, hide, numb, or distract ourselves.

Who are we to make a difference?

But clarity and connection come when we choose to stay present and move through our feelings. 

The ego, in its effort to protect us, will try to convince us of lies that we are invisible, not good enough, and that we don’t matter. Often, these stories took root at an early age.

But I have learned countless times that the moments of greatest pain or disappointment are ripe with opportunities to connect with our wounded inner child and free her from these myths. Rejection, failure, confusion, and loss lead us to healing and a deeper awareness of what truly matters.

Whenever I wrestle with my ego’s insistence of my insignificance, my soul brings me back to the truth. We don’t have to do it all. Legacy is not about quantity but about quality, and showing up isn’t always about baring our soul and sharing our creations with the world. Lives can be touched in a multitude of ways.

We can’t stop the hands of time, but we can stop the inner wars. We can choose to honour each season of our life with gentleness and gratitude and a determination to leave a lasting mark on the people we are blessed to cross paths with.

I don’t always feel the inspiration to write, but there’s always someone whose words I can celebrate and share. I don’t always feel the courage to share my most vulnerable moments, but I can always celebrate the courage in another’s vulnerability.

When all the brokenness of the world feels too overwhelming, I can pour love into my children so that they may feel deeply valued and fight for the value of others to be recognized. When I feel insignificant in the world of social media influencers, I can celebrate the power of touching even just one person’s life and remember where I can have the most influence—in my home and local community. When I don’t know the next steps to take, I can let go of the pressure and shame, and choose surrender. Time and time again, the right teachers or opportunities have appeared in this sacred space. 

Layal Saad’s, “Me and White Supremacy” 2018 Instagram challenge, now a best-selling book, was exactly what I needed when I was beginning to face my unconscious bias and privilege. Thanks to organizers, I was able to turn my outrage at police brutality against Black people into phone calls and emails.

As my heart was breaking for the growing number of children exploited and trafficked, my friend started a fundraiser for her birthday, introducing me to Our Rescue—an organization that rescues and helps to heal these young survivors.

When I felt devastated by the legacy of the generational trauma of colonization and residential schools, I found a way to give back through the Ballantyne Project and am excited to participate in their latest campaign, “We See You.”

There are organizations that provide action steps for people to stand up against sexual violence, and currently you can take part in the United Nation’s 16 Days of Activism to help end Violence Against Women.

As Glennon Doyle says, “When we run towards what breaks our heart, we find our community.”

So let’s spend less time worrying about a narrow definition of success, and instead choose to spend more time creating ripples of love, kindness, and revolution, starting with ourselves.

Let’s take the pressure off. Let’s choose to create when we feel inspired and let the joy of the craft be enough. Let’s stop measuring our worth by how we look, how much we produce or accomplish, or how many likes or shares we get.

Let’s choose to make the most of the time we are given by moving through our feelings rather than being a prisoner to our ego.

Let’s choose to see value in how deeply we can touch another’s heart and how much we can accomplish when we join together.

Let’s lift each other up and give one another the gift of our beautiful presence: “I see you; I hear you; you matter—I believe in you, and I will fight for you and with you.”

These are the timeless treasures we all seek. This is how we foster true connection and create meaning during these uncertain and isolating times. 


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Nicole Schiener  |  Contribution: 1,010

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