Any glimpse of international news this past fortnight has brought harrowing images of devastation in Haiti and desperation in Afghanistan. Floods, fires and sandstorms have ripped through Europe, the Americas and China. Our own country remains gripped in faction fighting and siloed communities. Covid-19 continues to plunder our hope and energies. None of it is welcoming. All of it is uncomfortable. How are we going to make room for what it brings us, literally and figuratively?
Make room for everyone.
All over the world, people are literally opening their homes to make room for refugees and the complexity that may come with housing people ripped from their country and deeply traumatised. In a crisis, human beings rally to do noble things like this. In our daily life though, it’s not the majority who do. All around us, in our ‘usual’ circumstance, there are hundreds of children and families who are refugees in their individual way: forced to seek work miles from home; displaced from their homes in neighbouring countries; captured by poverty; set aside by communities who won’t embrace their gender; put out because they stood up for something they believed, perhaps in opposition to the status quo in the family; learning disabled; young; old.
Make room for a new language.
How do we make room for everyone rather than follow an all too predictable pattern where we subliminally embrace what is known and, mostly, tolerate the customs and traditions of others. If you don’t believe this applies to you, consider your mastery of different languages. To begin your journey to learn the culture of others, learn a new one.
Make room for something other than sameness.
Socially, we are soothed by sameness. We are drawn to others who think like us, live like us and do the things we do. That’s the premise of the brilliant algorithms behind our social media feeds anyway. All too quickly, machine learning knows what we want to connect to and keeps us in that loop. We are literally fed our sameness and we dismiss or even repel the different views, perspectives and pursuits of others.
Make room for a new vision for your life and your future.
Eighteen months into the pandemic, we are fatigued, disheartened and motoric in many aspects of our daily function. A hopelessness descends when the conversation turns to wishes for ‘normal’. Acceptance of what is, without resistance or anger, might be the first step in seeing a way forward, in actioning a ‘next’, in carrying on.
Make room for rolling disruption.
Pick a futurist and they will tell you that this decade will see not one or two but many, many rolling disruptions. Societal upheaval, technological explosion, rapid expansion of knowledge, global transformation of the proverbial ‘village’. to name a few. Forewarned is forearmed. It’s time to listen to their heed and brace to embrace both the challenges and advances ahead. How will you ‘roll with the punches’?
Make room for the uniqueness of your child.
Turning to more sensitive matters of the heart, your child’s uniqueness, their difference, their worldview, interests and interpretations of the world around them might challenge you, unsettle you, leave you reflecting on how to ‘sort the problem’. The thing about your child is that s/he is not broken and doesn’t need fixing. Healing maybe, restoration, recovery, but not reprogramming. Before you stands a developing mind and a gift to you to learn from and enjoy. Gaze on him or her with wonderment just as you did at those early scans or sleeping babe moments. Choose to offer safe boundaries, unconditional love and your time to foster your child’s growth.
Make room for you.
Lastly, when reflecting on making room, is there space in your life for you? Clambering over economic soothsayers is the cry of the psychotherapy world. Trauma and burnout are real and mounting in occurence. Depression and anxiety sit as bedfellows, tipping the scales more to “Who isn’t suffering from mental health issues?”, not, “Who is?” Your body, the miraculous, wonderfully formed and perfectly created house of your spirit and soul has limits and needs. Look after yourself, its rough out there. Build in rest and recreation. Look after you.