The SEMPL Lessons of a Global Pandemic: Part 1-S(piritual)
Right around the beginning of March 2020 people from all over the world were watching the news via television and internet to see the number of cases of individuals contracting a disease considered to be a version of the coronavirus named COVID-19. Most of us thought it would rise and fall like a new strain of influenza. We soon learned that this was not the case. For the first time in almost 100 years, we are living through a world pandemic. There are many conspiracy theories surrounding this highly contagious germ that attacks the respiratory system. For all we know some of it could be true? But whatever is the case, we are at a point in history that none of us will soon forget. Let us begin to chronicle what we are learning as we are over a year into this world health crisis and must gather our knowledge to shore up resilience for our present and the future.
The ‘S’ or spiritual impact of the pandemic must be noted. Some people speculate that this is signifying the end of times and ushering in Armageddon or at least preparing us for the Mark of the Beast! But we should look deeper and extract more meaning from the isolation, change in our daily operations, our socialization and what we believe matters now. The simplest way for me to describe spirit is as an energy. Ever present and transforming. Spiritually speaking how we exchange that energy or spirit from one person to another has changed. The world seems less inspiring.
We are at home and yet many of us are suffering from lack of motivation when our free time has tripled (at least for some) and we seem plagued by fear and uncertainty. Much of this is completely understandable but some of this disruption is as a result of the low exchange rate of spiritual energy. Many of the churches and restaurants are closed or practicing social distancing. We are all wearing “actual” instead of proverbial masks and we are afraid of talking face to face with anyone that does not live in our own households. The saddest part is that many of us are sick and tired of the people who do live in our households and at times the energy being exchanged is not healthy, loving, inspiring or uplifting.
Happiness seems elusive and we miss freely moving through our communities and the delightful distraction of unexpected conversations and interactions with complete strangers that we have regrettably taken for granted.
I remember coming home late one evening in February 2020. I stopped at a major chain to search for a gift for a client. I was in the accessories section and a young woman was commenting about something a young person had done to her daughter. This comment led to a full fledged 30 minute conversation about today’s youth, values, growing up, and the differences in the generations and relationships.
“We are going to have to find a way to get back to those (SEMPL) exchanges.”
I remember that conversation because I believe it impacted both of us and it was a genuine sharing of energy and convictions. I will likely never see this woman again in life. And if I do I am sure I won’t remember her. But I remember that conversation and thinking that it took me 30 minutes off my schedule and I didn’t mind one bit. The spirit of what was exchanged was most important. In that moment we were both authentic and finding common ground in our similarities in age, beliefs, and ideas about upbringing. These types of exchanges are going to be difficult when all you can see is a person’s eyes and up while they are standing purposefully six feet or more away from you. We are going to have to figure out a way to get back those simple (SEMPL) exchanges.
This very vital form of spiritual currency must be replaced. But with what?
The organic conversations that quietly and without fanfare gave us more life. We never realized having that extended conversation with the stock boy at Walmart about car scents and tires was so important. Or that silly exchange you had with the bartender at the one spot you love to travel to was so inspiring. We didn’t realize how spiritually addicted we were to going to the live football, basketball, baseball, soccer game or staying four hours in church on first Sundays was feeding our soul beyond the pastor’s interpretation of the Word. We just took for granted that spending 2 hours meandering around the home decor store and exchanging decorating ideas with the stranger asking our opinion about a pair of candlesticks, a rug, or a picture infused us with something more fulfilling than conversation. We are attempting to replace these things with online meetings and phone face applications but the spiritual and energetic exchange is not the same. I miss purposely doing the ‘smile’ experiment when I wasn’t feeling that great to see who I could get to smile back at me. I miss random babies in grocery buggies blowing kisses, pointing or waving at me just because the kid liked my face. I miss and need your energy strangers!!! This very vital form of spiritual currency must be replaced. But with what? And how? Suggest if you dare.
TBC (To Be Continued) – Up Next: The SEMPL Lessons of a 21st Century Global Pandemic: E(motional)
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