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  • Cory McGowan

What are we learning?

As I sit writing this, news of the Omicron (extra points to the virus namers for coming up with such an Avenger-like villain name!) variant is coming through on every channel. Including all sorts of speculation about how much worse it may be than the dreaded Delta (C- for effort, virus namers) variant, what this means for the economy, supply chain, etc.


So on the one hand there are the doomsayers who are sure it’s just going to keep getting worse. And then there is a local friend who assures me that all of this is just some sort of Asian bug, which is why Japan has barely been affected but it’s hitting the rest of the world so hard. Once they get over it, all will be fine, and what’s the fuss about?! I’m assuming his expert assessment comes from Joe Rogan or some other reliable resource.


Personally, I don’t know what to think, and can’t be bothered spending any time finding out what the ‘experts’ are saying. I do my best to keep myself and my family safe, and not put anyone in our community at any risk, but none of that takes much effort in the rural area where we are - not nearly as much as keeping the woodshed (and my coaching calendar) full.


What I wonder the most about is what all of this has to teach us. I’m not in the ‘everything happens for a reason’ camp, but I certainly think that there is something reasonable and valuable to learn from whatever situation we are in, especially the hard ones.


I can’t help but look to nature to see what the lessons are. We are in the transition now between the fall and winter seasons, and there is something very compelling in noticing that and pondering what allegories may be available.


Mornings of deep frost and half frozen puddles that kids will go out of their way to step on, yet at noon it’s warm enough to be outside in a t-shirt. Perhaps this great variation in one day is similar to how much our moods can swing back in forth in the endless exhaustion of the virus news that gets thrown at us every day. But is the exhaustion not created by the fact that we think our moods should be different than they are, rather than just lovingly being with the way we are, in the same way we can enjoy those variations on a pre-winter solstice day?


A first snow of the season that has bamboo bowed and broken over back roads and yet there is an oak tree that is still fully dressed in her orange and yellows, standing out in glory among all of her naked neighbors. Who is behind and who is ahead? Something we can spend so much time on and create so much anxiety a


bout in our lives when considering what stage in careers, partnerships, parenting we are at - surely we can/should/must be doing more to get where we are supposed to be! And yet all it takes is a walk in the outdoors to see that everything has its timing, regardless of the presence of Delta, Omicron, or Gargantuflex (that’s a free gift to any virus namers that may be reading this for naming whatever is coming next).


Brown and shriveled husks of Cosmos flowers that just weeks ago stood nearly two meters tall and had seemed to produce an infinite number of new flowers in the few months since first sprouting. Yet at the end of each of those husks are hearty seeds that will ensure that by late summer next year, there will be double the amount of flowers, impossibly sprouting in great circumference around the current brittle, broken mess. Nature is ever generous in her death offerings to us. And this is in no way to make light of the tragic losses caused by this pandemic (not to mention all of the other tragic ways we are losing our sisters, brothers, and so many of our flora/fauna around the globe). But as our plans for travel and gathering and the joy of freedom of movement die yet again with the recent news, there is a hopeful renewal in that dying, if we can just have a bit more patience.


A bright white, majestic snow covered peak, stark against a blue winter sky and in the foreground a dilapidated Japanese shack surrounded by the tilled earth, fallow for a winter’s rest. Which place is more desirable to be in - standing atop the peak as a testament to our achievements, or in the humble shack, being grateful for any shelter and the land to grow food on? If we are willing to pay attention, perhaps one of the greatest lessons of this pandemic is that the sights we had set on conquering figurative peaks, dictated by societal norms, which seemed so important before could be traded in for being grateful for the simple things that give us the abundance we already have.


What are the lessons that are occurring to you as we come into another phase of the pandemic? What happens when you spend some time outside and consider what nature has to offer in terms of lessons?


If my underdeveloped sense of humor or my perspective on the lessons nature has to offer piques your interest in what it would be like to enter a coaching partnership with me, or even just to check out Minakami, let’s have a chat! Feel free to DM me or book a complimentary Adventurous Coaching Conversation.

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