So now what?  Where from here?  Work, school, church, health, justice, equity, political divide, family structures, travel….nothing is outside the realm of these unanswerable questions.  This thing we refer to so broadly as “life” is a tipsy-turvy, up in the air, driving into oncoming traffic question mark right now. The best of the best experts are guessing and the rest of us talk in circles trying to digest fake news and real news and data and the realities we’re all facing.  

For the first time in forever, our world feels upside down in many ways that might actually be right-side-up.  In many cases, we’re not doing things we assumed we couldn’t do without.  We’re doing less and needing less.  We’re seeing people in our own homes with fresh eyes.  We’re seeing our own ability to be still and realize how little we know for sure.  The evolution of our quarantine life was been gritty, challenging and a smidge refreshing and now I’m asking these questions,

 “SO NOW WHAT?  WHERE FROM HERE?”  

Where from here, education systems?

Where from here churches and organized religion?

Where from here big business?

Where from here small business owners?

Where from here Nature Destroyers? (aka, ALL of us)

All of this life altering living can not be in vain.  It’s demanding we stand up and take notice and raise our voices to be intentional about what’s best for humanity and our earth.  For our future as a country and a community of people who want to do more than keep surviving and running on fumes.  2020 is demanding we exit our silos and zones of comfort to find meaning and collaboration and to set aside the ways we thought we had to do things.  Because it’s all different now and we’ve been handed a shiny silver platter of opportunity to reassess everything we thought was best and just.  To ask questions vs dish out answers and to invite wonder into our conversations about best practices and forward progress.  Dare I say, it’s inviting us to assess whether our ideas on “progress” need to be re-evaluated all together.  

The over-dramatic part of my nature keeps chanting, “Burn it all down and start over.”   All of it.  We’re aching as a nation and it feels too much to tackle.  So burn it all down and let’s start over.  If I were to wave a magic 2020 wand, here’s where my ever contemplating mind goes….

Politics – YES, we absolutely need to go there.  Let’s rethink political divides by eliminating the divides.  One nation, one political party called “humans,” filled with individuals who have names, stories and equal opportunities to represent their communities.  Remove the almighty dollar from the equation and see who comes out of the woodwork, ready to work hard because they desire change and equality. And, since this is my imagination at work, can we put a moratorium on oldish white guys running the country?  It’s humiliating and it needs to full press STOP.  

Education Systems – This is where I get all giddy with excitement friends.  What if HALF of all educational curriculum and classroom time was spent on social/emotional learning?  You heard me, HALF.  Because if we’re going to be stuck with oldish white guys running our country in the future, wouldn’t we rather our future leaders be socially responsible and emotionally in tune with themselves and the world around them?  Don’t we want our kids to have minds and bodies and hearts that can handle pandemics and wars and political divides in ways that offer hope and healing and growth?  I do.  They deserve the ability to navigate the mess we’ve created for them far better than we’re able to currently.    We can’t keep on educating the way we’ve been educating if we want our country to find its greatness again.  And, can we PLEASE encourage every school to incorporate curriculum on race equality and social justice starting in Pre-school and going through 12th grade?  Please and thank you.  

Organized religion – Deep breath on this one.  This pandemic has done one very interesting thing to our society.  It has removed the most segregated hour of our week as a nation.  Sunday morning.  Many people have missed church and for good reasons.  But I’m confident that God has not suffered the loss of organized religion these past few months.  God is not weeping over the loss of buildings housing his people.  Because her people are housed in her loving arms no matter.  We’re all able to be loved and love in return, pandemic or not.  What is church after all? Gathering in a building on Sunday morning?  I think not.  It’s marching with our brothers and sisters for their rights.  It’s playing Monopoly with our kid for the 5th time.  It’s checking in on our elderly neighbors during quarantine.  It’s figuring out ways to feed kids when schools are closed.  It’s finding our spiritual foundation during a time of fear and isolation and remembering that faith is, after all, a personal relationship that requires time alone with ourselves and our God.  Where from here organized religion?  It’s a question worth asking before we open our church doors again.

Big Business – What an opportunity we have to rethink everything from the physical aesthetic of our work environments, what talents are vital to the success of a business, and how social/emotional supports are vital to overarching success.  Thinking outside the boardroom box will be the only reasonable way forward.  If I were operating a profitable business right now I’d be bringing in kids and adults with special needs to act as advisors about now.  Because my board of directors might just dream up plans for robot dinosaurs to build magic germ fighting carpets that deliver fairy dust and spray calming oil from town to town.  What’s YOUR board and investor team dreaming up?   

Small businesses – Collaboration, community, connection. Our amazing small business owners have been through the RINGER these past few months and they’re going to continue navigating what a new normal can and should look like. Do it TOGETHER and join forces. Take a bird’s eye view of your business plan and vision and collaborate in finding fresh ways to serve your customers/clients that include connecting to your community in new ways. No questions are too big for these brain dump sessions. I get real jazzed just thinking about it.

Our sweet sweet earth – Who has benefited most from this pandemic? Other than our dogs of course. Our earth has. She’s living her very best life. Dolphins are swimming where they didn’t feel welcomed before. The oceans are noticing the elimination of all the gas guzzling boats carrying all the humans. Our vehicles napped, allowing our air to catch its own breath. And perhaps we all began remembering how cool trees are again. They really are SO cool. Nature has saved my sanity since March in ways no human could. She cares not about COVID19 and will continue to stand by us, no questions asked. It’s time to do the same for her. Plant a tree, carpool more, don’t go cruising, grow a flower garden for the monarchs and hummingbirds, compost, advocate for less concrete and retail and push for more parks….I’ll stop. Do you.

2020 might just be the tunnel of chaos our world was longing for.  The most difficult aspect to change is being willing to enter the tunnel. We weren’t offered the choice to step into the tunnel through this pandemic.  Collectively, we slip slided our way down and will clumsily navigate our way back out.  But if we rush our exit, the darkness will be in vain and the unwanted gift of universal darkness and chaos might never happen again.  So, let’s not gloss over the “Where do we go from here” and “What’s next” questions that are begging to be asked, dreamt about, wondered over and struggled through.  Start asking the hard questions and don’t stop.  There’s really no end to the magic of a silver platter (even when it comes in the shape of a worldwide pandemic).