Like many of you, I have recently received the news that many of the places I look to for support are temporarily closed due to quickly spreading illness. My kids are home from school, extracurricular activities are shut down, church has moved online, small groups are wondering if it’s wise to meet, and my weekly recovery group may fall victim to closure because of the number of people who attend.
I am an extrovert (I get my energy from other people). An ENFP (assertive campaigner – ha!). A 7 (enthusiast) on the enneagram scale. Basically, I live for people and the healing effect they have on my life. Basically, trying to create an appropriate social distance is going to be a challenge for me.
But, all of these annoying, have-to-be-near-the-people traits are beneficial in these times because I have a natural inclination to reach out and connect. I feel like I should take this opportunity to warn everyone about how much I may be reaching out without all of my usual distractions. Someone should check on my family in a couple of days – they’re gonna need a break from all of my newly focused energy.
Okay okay, all jokes aside, there is something serious I would like to talk about.
I think we can learn an important lesson in all of this. It may not be about being around people that counts, but reaching out to people that is the most important thing we can to do for eah other. There was something I read by Sue Johnson, the creator of emotionally focused therapy that painted an amazing picture: she compared relationships to a dance.
When you look at dancers, they are always reaching for each other or looking for each other. During the moments in the dance when they are separated, they are looking for their partner to make sure they are working together. When the time comes, they reach for each other as they join together and complete that piece of the dance. Even in a large group, the dancers are working together, looking for and reaching for each other when they need to.
Right now, we are in the section of that dance where we are apart but still dancing. It is so important for us to be looking for our people – those people in our lives that need to know we are there, dancing alongside; waiting to reach out when it’s time to come back together. Just have a look at this video – each dancer is an integral piece of the whole group:
So, what can we do? This may be social media’s time to shine. It allows us to be social – instead of focusing on the bad right now, use it for good. Reach out to those on our friends lists to say ‘hey how’s it going’. Use technology to come face-to-face without having to get out of your jammies. Many smartphones have a video chatting platform. Texting, snapping, messenger, or – dare I say it – email and phone calls are all ways we can reach for our people.
There is never a moment during a dance that an individual dancer is not aware of their fellow dancers and how important they are to the beautiful story they are creating. Let’s all take this next period of social distancing to start reaching for our fellow dancers.