September 1, 2020

Pandemic Reflections #5

To Our Clients,

It's been . . . what . . . five plus months since our lives began to change drastically? Many have remained somewhat sheltered in our homes or, at the very least, are limiting how much getting out and about we choose to do. Many of us truly thought the worse would be over by now. Yet, sadly, the number of infections and deaths from the coronavirus continues to grow, and the concern is that the worse is yet to come as our schools and colleges open or semi-open for the Fall term.

Our daily dose of "news" is almost entirely linked to the virus. The political and social unrest that plagues our country today is beginning to wear heavily on many of us. It is difficult to find a safe place to run away to should we have that luxury. Several states do not want visitors from the hot spot state of Texas. Airlines have changed their travel rules in an attempt to help curb the spread of the virus.

Negative . . . Negative . . . Negative!

So, where is the Positive in all of this? Although early on we heard some express gratitude that the limited access to typical ways of living provided them an opportunity to spend more time with their immediate families, it appears that some are now expressing "How much togetherness can we handle?" How many board games can we play? How many past episodes of The Amazing Race can one watch? How many new card tricks can be learned before it ceases to thrill?

Looking for the positive in all of the negative may be likened to trying to find the buried gold coin among all the buried pull tabs or bottle tops while metal detecting. In an effort to avoid wasting time digging up a bunch of "trash," detectorists (as they call themselves) can fine tune their equipment to avoid the "trash" signals. However, making such adjustments almost always comes with the warning that strong settings of discrimination can cause one to miss a valuable target mixed in among some "trash." As one detectorist put it, "I'd rather end the day with twenty pull tabs and one gold coin than one pull tab and ten nickels."

How do we find our "gold coin" among all of the "trash" that surrounds us today? Perhaps the answer is in choosing what we focus on. Maybe the focus should be on how we choose to respond to a situation, not on the situation itself. Choice is a powerful tool. But the power of choice does not necessarily lie in the ability to change a situation; instead, the power of choice can also lie in the way we choose to respond to that situation, especially one that we do not have the power to change.

What if, by choosing to focus on the "non-trashy" elements around us we find our gold coins EVERYWHERE? What if our gold coin is found while choosing to simply sit on our back porch during a quiet summer evening? Is there a gold coin to be found in the belly-laugh of an infant who is so innocently oblivious to all the "trash" around him or her? How many gold coins might be found upon choosing to spend more time appreciating the gift of our loved ones just being our loved ones? Is there a gold coin to be found among the "trash" in the fact that the sun still comes up each morning, the birds still sing, and the squirrels still dig those annoying holes in our yard?

There are indeed gold coins to be found everywhere, even among the "trash." Which will we choose our focus to be? The coins, or the "trash?" And how will we choose to respond? With anger? With despair? With frustration? Or will we choose, instead, to respond with appreciation for all of the hidden, and not so hidden, gold coins all around us? May we all learn to become better "gold coin" detectorists. Happy detecting! Be safe.

 

Dana K. Taylor, Ph.D., LMFT                                      Kary S. Reid, Ph.D., LMFT

Intentional Living

1920-31st Street

Lubbock, Texas 79411

Office:  806-794-1336

Fax:  806-747-4593