• Maggie Wheeler

Mend Your Nets

So no post last week…the week the world lost its mind. How does one blog during a world crisis?

You step back, you pull focus, and you accept the unfolding situation as it is. I learned long ago on Star Trek that if you throw your energies into an alien force field to try to break free, it only gives that energy to the field and makes your escape more impossible. The trick, as shown by Spock, is to accept the situation, stop fighting it and eventually walk through the force field by using minimum force.

That is how we will navigate this pandemic. And steer through the greatest challenge right now for us at the personal level—the next six weeks or so. Normal won’t return to our lives much before that, and I think we are all slowly realizing that it will be a new normal to acclimatize to. That’s fine.

Our daily life outside our homes has vanished to a certain extent, but it is still there. My own isolation and retreat have brought to mind an old saying (and I love old sayings because they are old because they still have value and stay with us). This is it:

When fishermen can’t go to sea, they mend their nets.

At first glance, okay. Makes sense. But looking deeper as we need to right now, it talks about an act of faith. If fishermen can’t go to sea, it is because there is a storm. They cannot even see the sea at this point due to the weather, and because they have taken shelter from it. But still they mend their nets. They know the storm will pass and they will fish once again.

In these days of pandemic measures, anxiety, panic and uncertainty, what we do know is that we will come through it. We are just not sure how or where we will land. But we can mend our nets.

People are certainly putting their time to good use somewhat right now. Our own Home Depot was swarmed on the weekend for home reno supplies and they have now put screening and customer number restrictions in place. I am also looking at getting to some summer projects early to help use my time better.

But in this dark and disturbing time, what we cannot argue is that all of us (except front line workers who are taking on the battle) suddenly have an unprecedented life pause to use as the gift it can be.

Funny how last post I talked about making a pivot in life in our middle age. Now that word is running rampant in the news about economic change and survival. Two weeks ago, I suggested contemplating a life pivot. Now, life demands we must.

So while we cannot go to sea, mend your nets. Yes, get a head start on this year’s house projects to help deal with the life shutdown. Take time for a neglected hobby. But go further than that. We will come up for air at some point and we can do so with new clarity, new goals, new purpose. A lot of what used to work for us in life will no longer. But over time, that will be okay.

Ashley Montague, the British-American anthropologist who brought his field into pop culture awareness in the 20th century, once wrote that it was not thumbs or our bad smell to predators that decided the human race’s survival over the millennia. It was our ability to quickly adapt to any environmental change we faced.

That’s not just what we do. It’s who and what we are.

We will survive this pandemic and its fallout over the next while. We will then go on to thrive. That’s the human way.

So during this unusual time, remember that the sea is still there. When the storm clears, we will return. Mend your nets with new possibilities in mind for that moment.

Yes, the sea is vast to us little fishermen. But how we fish and what we fish for is up to us.

In fact, it always has been.

Stay safe. Stay home. Stay the course.

Talk next week,


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