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Quarantine at Home ... Now What??

"Isaac Newton discovered calculus while in quarantine. William Shakespeare wrote ‘King Lear’ while in quarantine. Lesson: Unleash your greatness while in quarantine." - Seemingly Historically True Instagram Post

Millions (possibly billions) of us here and around the world now have one new common experience – quarantine.

Stuck at home. Stuck in small apartments. Kept from our typical work, school, church or social life. We have with more time alone than most are used to!

And….. you may have heard that solitary confinement has been called “cruel and unusual”

Many prisoners go mad when subjected to it. The largest prison riot in California’s history happened when nearly 300,000 inmates went on hunger strike to protest such “torture.”

Alone can seem hard. Really hard.

Clearly, we’re not left in the dark for months and years on end with no social stimuli, but many of us are experiencing dramatic change nonetheless.

We, too, can wonder if this is a form of punishment. Is the outcome worth the price?

Here’s where a tool coaches and counselors use has something powerful to offer… and I promise you I’ve tried each of these and they work.

Basically, the tool is called “reframing” and it’s actually shifting our mindsets from “Whoa is me!” to something helpful, healing and even productive.

There’s actually antidotes for lonely, fearful and uncertain

Here are three shifts those of us quarantine or “stuck at home” can apply. See them as three movements of the mind.

1. Moving from feeling stuck to embracing SOLITUDE.

You know it’s true. In our busy and often relentless stuff to do world, solitude and stopping can feel more like a curse. However- what if this season of solitude is actually a huge blessing? What if NOW is your opportunity for the most tangible spiritual growth you’ve ever experienced?

To use the late priest and author Henri Nouwen’s words.

“To live the spiritual life, we must first find the courage to enter into the desert of our loneliness and to change it by gentle and persistent efforts into the garden of solitude.”

Right? Read that again if and let it sink in.

For most, boredom is seen as bad. Stuck at home is a waste. But, what if we were to reframe that… to see an awesome opportunity for solitude? Of such an embrace of solitude, Nouwen writes,

“It the place where our aloneness can be fruitful.”

How might you see quarantine as a time to engage intentional solitude?

2. Moving from resentment to GRATITUDE

Of course, we can find plenty to grumble about, to fear or to fight in this season. The gym is closed. I like hugging. People are getting sick. Graduation is cancelled. My job may go away. Mom is quarantine in a nursing home.

We also might ask, “But what of the plans I had before this curveball called coronavirus?”

We all get that.

But, another great coaching practice involves helping those we coach move from a stance of resentment to that of gratitude.

Like water flowing into air, gratitude forces resentment to flee. Gratitude and resentment can’t coexist. It’s like smiling and being sad.

What if we start each and every day in these coming days and weeks with the practice of gratitude.?

List things as seemingly self-evident as air to breathe, lungs that function, food to eat, a toilet that can take toilet paper, family, friends, grace, life…

3. Moving from seeing danger to seeing REDISCOVERY

Finally, few people will argue that this corona-experience will change our lives in profound ways. Yes, we can easily feel like we’re now pawns as jobs disappear, churches go online or go away. People can’t do things the same way.

But, as Andy Crouch has said in his blog post “Leading Beyond the Blizzard,” “Every organization is now a startup.”

And we can either try to do the same old – same old and wither away – OR we can see ourselves as “see-ers.” We can ask questions like

What do my people really need now?

What resources do I have right now to offer new opportunties and options?

How might this time at home be my best opportunity to...

  • write my book?

  • get an online degree?

  • get certified as a coach?

  • start my side biz?

  • start sharing your voice online?

  • start my blog?

  • serve my neighbors in ways I’ve never done before?

  • etc..

Spend some time reflecting. Ask, “What can I do to serve?” “To solve problems?” What if you’re calling really, really matters to the rest of us right now?

As Queen Esther was reminded by Mordechai in the Biblical book of Esther

“For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this.” (Esther 4:14)

Have a great week!

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