BY KRISTEN JONGEN
As a kid growing up in northern Michigan, the community-run boaters’ safety class was imperative for teen social climbing. After all, we could get a boaters’ permit at age 14 (two full years before we were allowed to drive).
We learned things like boating etiquette, weather basics, and first aid. We also learned that, yes, you could throw the throttle of a speeding Master Craft into neutral to avoid a calamity, but abruptly stopping didn’t mean the wake behind you couldn’t still sink the boat.
I didn’t think that was fair.
When I first got sober, I was reminded of that boating metaphor. I thought my life would fix itself because I stopped drinking. However, the tsunami of wreckage from my past hastily demanded to reckon.
Call me crazy, but does it seem like the world is going through the same kind of detox? COVID-19 appears to have stopped us in our tracks and forced us to take a lucid look around. Our earnest appraisal has us falling short.
From the terror of a global pandemic to financial despair and the stark reality of George Floyd’s murder, a tidal wave of unfinished business has threatened to capsize us.
Yet we are still here.
I have a conservative, white friend who has biracial children in their twenties. She believed that, growing up, they would be safe if they “behaved right.” She is facing the stark truth of their hidden reality for the very first time. She is asking humbling questions and listening to the tough answers.
I have a different friend whose art career has been on a spinning hamster wheel for decades. She told me that, although it was difficult at first, she now likes the peace that quarantine has afforded her. She doesn’t want to bring any of her eight employees back. She wants to focus on one-of-a-kind originals.
Another friend was afraid to be alone. She had a pathological case of FOMO. She is immune compromised, so quarantine is no joke. Two months ago, sans distraction, she started collecting beach rocks. The long, solitary walks have changed her. She is noticeably more grounded and less afraid of herself.
Like everyone else, I hate sitting in discomfort. I’d rather take action. Slowing down to listen to the proverbial “still, quiet voice” may have worked for Quakers, but this bitch has a world to save. If a spiritual awakening doesn’t announce itself during the scheduled meditation time slot, then it will have to wait.
Yet here I am
The voice is getting louder, and important things need serious attention … personally, nationally, and globally.
As we re-emerge, who will we be? A revolution is here. Are we grounded? We will need to be if we are going to plant our feet firmly in love and not be moved.
I called my sponsor in hysterics about the unpredictable future. She reminded me that my powerboating license was revoked years ago. I am not the right candidate for speed.
I was furious and then relieved.
She told me to take a walk, get some air, and if I must be in the water, I am only licensed for a canoe.
An internationally recognized author, artist, and motivational speaker, Kristen has written and published two books. She is the voice of Soul Soup Inc, inspirational books, prints, and greetings cards. Follow her on Instagram. If you’re having difficulty with drugs and/or alcohol, find support meetings at nyintergroup.org.
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