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OPINION: Gather your own COVID-19 social circle

One of the blog posts that I follow recommends, "If you are feeling lonesome, start your own group.
Talking and sharing is an easy way to connect with others, says columnist. Photo: Metro Creative Connection

One of the blog posts I follow recommends, "If you are feeling lonesome, start your own group. That way, you will be sure to be included!"

Talking to others, asking questions, listening to divergent points of view in a safe environment, is an amazing opportunity to discover how your opinions align or diverge with the opinions of others - people who may or may not be close friends. Sometimes, stating your worries or hassles out loud is the perfect cure for realizing you have nothing to worry about.

Reaching out to people you may not know well takes some courage, especially when the people are not part of your usual circle. It is an even better 'anti-loneliness' exercise to talk and learn about others. Spending time in conversation with people who are caring, committed, resilient and interesting is a sure way to learn something new – about yourself and others.

Ground rules can be set around listening and giving everyone the chance to speak. You may hear an opinion that sounds a bit 'off', but a good conversation also allows silence to do some heavy lifting.

I recently met with a conversational social circle.

The recurring theme in each of our lives is: uncertainty. As a group of eight women, we don't know each other well, but we show up with a genuine wish to listen, to learn and to be supportive.

For every group around the world, COVID-19 is a common challenge and each of us is looking for some solid ground with a signpost that says, "This way." It is impossible to be clear, concise and confident, knowing we have to be ready to pivot at a moment's notice.

In our conversation, I was reminded of a book that I read about 25 years ago – he Wisdom of Insecurity – a Message for an Age of Anxiety published in 1951. The author, Alan Watts, comments in the preface, that it is a topsy turvy time, ''when human life seems to be peculiarly insecure and uncertain."

Say what? Seventy years later and the same message of uncertainty is on repeat and looping. Watts talks about "reverse effort" and the idea that we become more insecure, the harder we try. He writes “insecurity is the result of trying to be secure, and that, contrariwise, salvation and sanity consist in the recognition that we have no way of saving ourselves.”

Another book that our recent conversation called to mind is Soul of Money – Reclaiming the Wealth of our Inner Resources. Author Lynn Twist defines the word "soul" as: our most deeply held values, commitments and ideals.

She discusses the disconnect between our personal systems of valuation and society's accepted valuation of money, challenging the reader to think about “your most universal soulful commitments and core values.” 

Twist purports that humans are universally concerned about "well-being" – both personal and collective. The disconnect between money and soul happens when we are forced to choose between values, beliefs and actions. 

COVID-19 is a chameleon that keeps revising the lessons related to policies, protocols, procedures, and rules for socializing. It is a challenge to stay positive.

Setting up a conversation with someone else is a simple and profound way to generate some positive energy. If you spend all your time listening to the advice of like-minded pundits or insecure and poorly informed skeptics on social media, you will undoubtably still feel lonesome and have squandered some of life's most precious resources – your time and energy.

Lorraine Widmer-Carson recently launched her newest venture – LWC Banff – after working in a variety of Bow Valley community sectors for forty years. As a writer, facilitator, small business owner, nature-enthusiast, mother, wife, and active grandmother, she launched the Gratitude Project in January. The Vision: Gratitude - Know it. Show it. Grow it. Learn more at The Gratitude Project.