I am No One.
I have no Facebook. No Instagram. I have no Followers. I think three people read my writing, and that doesn’t include my mother. But I want to take a moment to acknowledge the crusaders out there who are leading the way during these uncertain times.
It’s easy to see the world with eyes wide shut. Being oblivious to those around us, putting a stigmatizing label on a virus, boycotting restaurants because they are run by the “face” of the enemy, waiting in line for the bars to open because “I can,” and hoarding toilet paper because (OK, I’m honestly not sure about this one). Turning a blind eye and putting distance where distance can be put.
Yet, as I wrote this weekend, there are no real boundaries or labels to what we’re facing. We are in it together. So as much as we need to avoid close physical proximity to each other right now, we also need to keep from putting up boundaries or labels. My friend and colleague Michelle Maldonado emphasized–during a free meditation session she generously hosted to support people–social distancing should really be renamed, ‘physical distancing.’ After all, even if we are not physically connected, we can still be social, we can still be connected in very deep and very real ways.
For so long, we have turned a blind eye. To the environment. To each other. To ourselves.
The most amazing thing in a world that seems collectively blind are the millions who are awake. The millions of people doing their part to close these distances and to dismantle barriers and defy labels because it’s the right thing to do. The millions who don’t have the time for Netflix binging because they are working around the clock to care for others. The millions who are offering whatever they know how to do to help someone else. The millions who know we are but a piece of a larger puzzle, and that each action has an impact on a million other unpredicted ones.
When we talk about emotional intelligence, we’re not speaking simply of skills that will help us get the corner office (though evidence suggests, they do). We are talking about having empathy for ourselves when we need to ask for help. We are talking about having a positive outlook, to believe that our actions have benefit for ourselves, our families, and our communities. We are talking about having emotional balance, to manage our own fears, such that we move about with wisdom and discretion.
So here is a nod to the millions who refuse to keep their eyes wide shut. To Sean, who delivers my mail every day (and whom Bandit barks at EVERY time). To Chime, who is sequestering herself from her 100-year old father while she risks her life everyday as a nurse in New York City. To Marisa, who is finding creative ways to ensure all of her students are supported and engaged and educated while out of the classroom. To Andrés, who is making tough, heartbreaking decisions on who gets to use the available ventilators. To Jim, who is ensuring neighbors unable to run errands know they have a support system. To Danielle, who is reaching out to her fellow small business owners to proactively support each other. To Jester, who keeps our streets and neighborhoods clean because he loves his city. To Colleen, who is juggling a full-time job and caring for her family while all are in full disruption.
I am No One. And I stand on your shoulders.
May your names be written in the stars.