“Coping During Coronavirus” Series, Part 5 of 10.
This topic keeps coming up in NYC after 9/11, after all the school shootings, and hurricanes, literal and metaphorical. Now, during a pandemic, feeling safe is a big conversation again.
How do you construct a building so that it doesn’t fall if an airplane hits it?
This safety question is prominently on the map now, much more so after 9/11.
What should a school security protocol be so that the children are safe even if a gunman breaks into the school?
Sandy Hook Elementary had excellent security, and yet, a deadly accident happened. Since then, all schools have re-evaluated their security protocols.
How do you flood-proof your house even if it is not in the flood zone?
There was a significant number of houses destroyed in NYC during Hurricane Sandy, even though they were not in the official flood evacuation zone. This fact will affect the way the houses are built and purchased.
What is a safe place to hide in case of an emergency?
During hurricane Sandy, two little boys were staying indoors with their families, away from windows, when a tree fell on the house and crushed both of the boys as they were playing in the family room. Whatever your take-away may be from this story, the two families have done everything they could to keep their children safe, and my heart goes out to them.
Hearing this story may get you to think differently about your family’s emergency plan.
Bulletproofing our lives is not possible because it entails asking questions that we can’t fathom yet.
We just don’t know everything we don’t know until something happens.
Once we know what the possibilities are, and once we fix what needs to be fixed, another situation comes up that we could not have imagined before. And once again, our realm of possibilities expands with new, unanswered questions.
So, how do we feel safe in the world where anything can happen, any time, any place? How do we teach our children to feel safe? We can try this:
1. Whatever you do, do it really well. “Now” is all you really have, so make it count. Let your work make this world a better place. If you are building a house, build it well. If you are cooking, make it delicious. If you are programming, make it flawless. Do everything you do to the best of your knowledge. May all the teachers, first responders, doctors, chefs, garbage collectors, drivers be excellent at what they do, because it makes the world a safer, better place. We count on each other all the time, and especially at the time of crisis, so let’s be excellent.
2. Respond with flexibility. We tend to see only what we want to see, or what we are mentally prepared to see. If you are set on the way something “should” be, you don’t see what already “is”. If we can’t let go of our ideas of how things “should be”, we may waste time on being in denial, and miss an opportunity to escape in an emergency situation. Be aware of your surroundings: don’t say to yourself that “things like this never happen, so this must be something else.” Instead, respond with flexibility.
3. Do what really matters to you. You may be surprised to hear this, and may even find this demotivating, but whether or not you do what you do doesn’t matter as much to others as it does to you. Hurricane victims will get relief, whether or not you personally help out; families that go through hardship will find strength, whether or not you personally offer them comfort; NPR will continue broadcasting, whether or not you personally contribute. The world will likely not fall apart if you don’t do your part. This doesn’t mean, though, that you can do Nothing. Support the world in the way that matters to you, and if everyone does this, the process will resemble free market economy: things that matter most to most people will flourish. If you work for a big bank, the financial industry will not fall apart if you take a day off and attend your son’s soccer game. Still, your son is resilient enough to recover if you miss a game because you are working on a project that really matters to you. Do what matters, because that’s where your heart and mind is anyway.
4. Give up a sense of permanence. Exactly one week before 9/11, I was sitting right outside of the Twin Towers on a warm, sunny day. I had a lunch date with a friend who worked in one of the towers, and I was waiting for her to come out. I contemplated taking a picture of the towers, and clearly remember telling myself that there is no need for a picture – these buildings will be here for years to come. Under the illusion of permanence, we may believe that things are constant and unchanging, and we get attached to the way things are. Then, when things change. Our world comes crashing down, because things are not the way they used to be. Once we understand that life is better described by change than by permanence, we can start the journey of learning to love deeply and yet without attachment.
5. Be where love is. Spend time with people you love, with people who love you, with people who make you laugh from your gut, people who give you hugs and hot tea. Reach out, connect. Go to places that fill you with wonder, make you smile from ear to ear, make you breathe deeply and easily, and make you want to raise your hands up in the air. If you fill your life with moments like this, what more can you wish for when life comes to an end? Only for more moments like this.
I’d love to hear your stories of getting through this seemingly impossible challenge of working, learning, parenting and creating under quarantine. How are you making things work? Please, share your story with me, Alina@AlinaBas.com . Also, please, sign up for my newsletter if you’d like to see new posts like this in your inbox.
FIGURING IT OUT TOGETHER:
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Much of my executive coaching work is done remotely via video conferencing/phone, as my clients are all over the map. While it may not be wise now to stick your hand into the Boca della Verita in Rome, we can still search for your deep truth through coaching, via Skype, Hangouts, or Zoom, http://AlinaBas.com/get-started . We can talk about your priorities, managing virtual teams, co-working with your spouse from a home office, and strategies for moving through uncertainty.
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I did a workshop called “Emergency Coaching Response” for leaders during the People’s Recovery Summit in NYC after hurricane Sandy. I offer a similar program now (remotely) for corporate leaders, lay leaders, and managers. Please email me at Alina@AlinaBas.com if your company or group may be interested. Learn to: Help a person in distress regain focus and calm on the spot, Ask questions without intimidating or frustrating a person in crisis, Shift the person in crisis away from spinning stories and focus on the present, and Guide a person in crisis to allow for new possibilities in a post-crisis life.
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One of my favorite workshops to teach is “Intuition: Myths, Science, and Practice”. I’ve taught it to software engineers, financial analysts, entrepreneurs, lawyers – analytical thinkers interested in developing their sensory capacities to understand and use their intuition more effectively. One-on-one skill development, private groups, corporate workshops. Understand what scientists and practitioners know about intuition, and learn to use the body as a sensor for information that is not accessible through step-by-step reasoning. Please pm me or email at Alina@AlinaBas.com for more info.
Coping During Coronavirus Series: