As the days turn into weeks in our national solitary confinement, the Lessons of Corona are beginning to emerge.
Without out busy, distracted schedules, we are experiencing a deep hunger for authentic connection that was always present beneath the surface of things. We are realizing how interdependent we are. We are encountering the inequities that are inherent in our social and economic systems, confronting the reality that our hyper-competitive, winner-take-all paradigms are flawed, as our “Winners and Losers” race is handicapped.
More than anything, we are learning that we are not in control.
These are tough lessons for everyone, but they are especially troubling for men. They call into question the beliefs around which we organize our daily lives. We are taught from a very early age that if we are strong, independent, emotionally detached, aggressive, and energetic, we will ultimately prevail. Because we achieve some success with these behaviors, we are afraid to break their overwhelming influence over us.
It isn’t until the world throws us a major curveball that we are forced to acknowledge the flaws in our own assumptions, our weakness, our vulnerability, our inherent need to be in healthy relationships, our deep-seated desire to heal our own pain and that of others. Our secret wish to rediscover the joy and beauty of simply being alive.
We are afraid — for our own lives, and for the well-being and financial security of our loved ones. Men are not emotionally equipped to deal with personal failure, and the loss of personal agency. There is no assurance that things will ever return to normal. And perhaps, they should not.
I am increasingly convinced that our current suffering will continue until men learn how to reframe our MO, our definitions of happiness and success at work and at home, and the methods by which we pursue them, becoming more invested in lifting people up, instead of putting them down, in order to thrive. Until we learn how to engage in mutually supportive personal and professional relationships, instead of the current social contracts of mutual exploitation. Until we learn to listen, instead of speaking forcefully until we are heard.
I think that during these High Holy Days, Spirit is moving through us deeply, asking us to be still, to open up our hearts, to expand our minds and receive a cosmic program update, one designed to enable us to unify and grow stronger, instead of divide and conquer.
I hope that as men we take this invitation seriously.