Much Ado About Everything

Navigating tumultuous times with courage, kindness and compassion
Anita Austvika

By Donna D’Cruz

Is it just me who’s already weary of hearing about the New Normal? The New Normal can quickly become Ye Old Cliché. It annoys because like most clichés, it has an element of truth running through it. I don’t want what we’re going through to be the template for what’s still to come. Neither do I want to emulate an ostrich and hide my head in the ground fearing, like Chicken Little, that the sky may drop on us.

Many of us are staying vigilant in our practices and continue to do what’s advised, what’s needed: Eating well, exercising to cattle-prod the endorphins into action, keeping in touch with family and friends, meditating, practicing mindfulness, remembering to live in gratitude for the good things we do have.

And still, we are left with nagging feelings of enervation and ennui. As much as I enjoy the fun and quirkiness of witnessing legions of people taking to baking sourdough bread and working their way through Julia Child and Jacques Pépin’s recipes, I also sense a maddening—at times very complex—undertow of emotions ranging from anger, to fear, to frustration, to boredom, to envy and back again. Are we doing enough real self-evaluation so we can best navigate these tumultuous waters? With many of the groups I work with, especially Female Founders, I spend a great deal of time devoted to cultivating teamwork rather than competition. The concept terrifies and electrifies at the same time. Believing in might and fight, one could miss opportunities to expand awareness and more fully embrace the power of collaboration.

How do we best navigate? Small actions just may be the ticket. Write a list of steps you best resonate with. Get quiet and allow your flow to come into written form.

There’s much necessary and long-overdue talk about gender parity, civil unrest, protesters and protests, systemic racism and how to root it out. I often feel that it’s more challenging to deal with and discuss these issues with family and close friends.

Painful as it is to take a stand in public, we must call out a cousin or a beloved aunt who makes a racist remark. Be courageous, speak up with kindness and compassion, yes—but give that boat a good-ol’ necessary rock in the hope that those we love, even the closest of kin, will seethe injustice and ugliness of whatever they said.

And of course, before you go crusading and pointing out the incipient racism of others, take a really candid look at your own biases and prejudices—and whatever you do, try not to fall into the smarmy self-righteousness of those who say they are without bias. We all know insufferable quasi-saints who proclaim they “don’t see color” when it comes to friends and associates who are people of color. Call out and object to the racist dig, homophobic or bigoted comment spoken in your presence. Even if it’s made by someone in your circle of family and friends. Especially then. Be prepared for uncomfortable moments, and hopefully better understanding. Create a safe and sacred environment to talk and share with kindness, forgiveness, compassion and grace.

Continue to do what you’re able to do for yourself and others. Get up, stand up, don’t give up. I have created special meditations inviting us to choose to see with love, and to include those who feel unheard and forgotten.

Anxiety Meditation