Both/And, Not But

The past year or two have been an intense journey of personal growth for me. One of the many habits I'm trying to learn is both/and thinking compared to binary thinking. This is an effort to recognize more nuance and complexity and overlap in the world, compared to all or nothing, zero sum thinking. The latter tends to support internal thought patterns that are often selfish or shaming.

I'm finding myself working hard to practice this both/and thinking during the pandemic.

I am incredibly sad and anxious about the future, the loss of lives and incomes for so many people. I am angry about the inequities that this pandemic has exacerbated.

And I'm hopeful that this pandemic may force us to reevaluate our choices as a society. Perhaps we will take this disaster as an opportunity to build something better for ourselves and our children.

I am grateful for the time I have to myself. I often spend a lot of time busy, working, and out with friends. It has been beneficial to spend time alone, and focus on my own thoughts, needs, and interests.

And I'm lonely. I miss my friends and family and many of the ways I used to keep myself busy.

I am anxious about remote learning. It is a new skill for me, and I don't like feeling uncomfortable and inexperienced as a teacher. I'm worried about the kids who aren't able to access remote learning for various reasons. I'm worried about the loss of learning that will accumulate over these months and the gap education debt that is growing during this time.

And I'm feeling grateful for the space I have to breathe. Remote learning provides more freedom and requires less overall time "on" than classroom teaching.  I am getting more sleep. I am setting stricter boundaries around my work.

When I think about the positive sides of this pandemic I feel guilty. But I want to believe it's okay to hold space for all of the feelings that are arising - the panic, the pleasure, the sadness, the peacefulness, and so much more.


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