A Letter from Louisa Wiebe Stringer
Updated: Nov 1, 2020
Back to normal doesn't work. We don't have a time machine to take us back there. But how many times in the last several weeks have you found yourself saying "I just want to get back to normal"? Probably more than a few. If we really uncover the word "normal" we can see how particularly it plays tricks on our souls.
First, normal is relative. Charles Adams states "...what is normal for the spider is chaos for the fly." It is safe to say that we all look at the world differently and we all experience our lives differently. What we would hope to define as normal in our lives is not the same for the other person.
Normality speaks deeply to how we would like to define our personhood but truly only ours is what we can define. We cannot be the decision makers on how everyone else defines their version of normal. Secondly, normal is just an illusion. We all stand alone in how we define normal and we are all striving to feel that we live in that state. But because things are always changing, we never quite exist in a state of normalcy. We are tricked into thinking our normal we want is a comfort we desire and that perhaps if we achieve it we will be ok. But the normal we seek is like the mirage in the desert. We never quite get there. So interestingly enough, during this time it is with relief we can reflect on psychologist Stephen Mitchell's thoughts that "creativity, not normality has become the paradigm of our mental health." Mitchell, having done a lot of work with hope and dread in psychoanalysis, has his thoughts on the importance of creativity as the mainstay. Instead of trying to find a normal, we have turned to innovation, artistry, and expressiveness to be a consistency. In a recent New York Times article David Brooks writes "the absence of social connection is making everybody more ardent for it. People are geniuses at finding ways to touch each other even when they can’t." Way to go humans! Creativity for the now and present WIN! My hope is that we realize we are not sitting in a period of wasted time, nor that we define this as our "new normal." I would aspire to think that we are all a little more in tune with living our present. Echkart Tolle states "unease, anxiety, tension, stress, worry-all forms of fear- are caused by too much future, and not enough presence...guilt, sadness, bitterness...are caused by too much past, and not enough presence." Even though this is such a different time from what we were used to (dare I say normal) we are now able to sit with the creative present that we are given each day. And what a time this is! So do yourself a favor, don't try to get back to something that once was, because you can't. We aren't going that way. Stop thinking about that time machine and be present in the hope of today, now, forward and onward to the exceptional. You will be better because of this.
Louisa Wiebe Stringer www.louisawiebestringer.com "To your core, you are loved"