“… a room can be dank because you have closed the windows, you’ve closed the curtains. But the sun is shining outside, and the air is fresh outside. In order to get that fresh air, you have to get up and open the window and draw the curtains apart.” – Desmond Tutu
By Shawn McAndrew
The past many long months have brought us several things, one of which is isolation. Isolation is sometimes necessary. It helps us reconvene, think, heal, rewire. Yet too much of it may be dangerous to our health – physically and mentally. Occasionally we have to find where the air is fresh. We have to open the window.
I recently saw an image of a world leader who was sitting alone at one end of a very long table. The people he was talking to were clustered at the other end of the table. I was struck by the symbolism of this lengthy table and the people gathered at it.
I wondered, “Did they choose to have this distance between them?” “Do they understand the symbolism of this display?” Sometimes we do choose to isolate ourselves. Sometimes we inadvertently isolate and aren’t conscious of what we’re doing. Other times, it is done to us.
Opportunities to Uncover
Normally, if it is self-imposed isolation, with awareness we can more readily make the choice about how long we will stay in that space. Sometimes isolation is a way of protecting ourselves.
At times as a child, I chose to sequester myself. The chaos was too much to bear. Sometimes, isolating is an anti-social behavior. We can take the opportunity to uncover patterns that cause us to hide, to breathe dank air.
OPEN THE WINDOW
The important thing is to look at why we are isolating. What is the pain that brought us here? Are we hurting ourselves further by sinking into the abyss?
No matter the reason, coming out of the darkness into the light is a great way of healing whatever ails us. Opening the window allows us to breathe again.
Act From Compassion
Perhaps you know someone who is in a dark place. Reaching out to them and letting them know that you care is an act of compassion. Let them know you are available when they are ready to connect again. We cannot force someone from their choice to isolate, but we can make space and time for them when they emerge.
As we look at our lives, are we sitting at long tables that are devoid of anything but hardness and space? Are we distancing ourselves from our loved ones and the things about which we care? Or, do we have tables that are filled with bountiful sustenance? Are we surrounded by loved ones and having joyous and loving interactions?
If we need to isolate for a little while, we can do so knowing that, when we emerge, we can seek out our community for connection and love. When we open the window, we are again in the light. We are love, loving, and lovable.