You may be familiar with the concept of “FOMO”, “Fear of Missing Out”—an external pull towards doing everything—or as much as we possibly can—out of a fear of missing an event or activity in which others are partaking. It’s the ultimate “Keeping up with the Joneses” drive.
Pre-pandemic, FOMO kept us busy and disengaged from our wise, quiet centers; and from being connected more presently with others. We were compelled to do, do, do. Do for our kids and their overbooked schedules. Do for work just a little more every day. Do on the weekends so we don’t miss out on the “time off”. Do whatever else, just so we can cross it off a list of some sort.
Then came the pandemic that reintroduced staying home and re-learning how to occupy ourselves. The pandemic did, of course, have its own FOMO issues, such as the (made-up) social pressure to become the best gardener/baker/crafter/closet organizer/home remodeler/ and so forth. Not that there is anything wrong with being active, crafty, or handy! However, activity—going out all the time to restaurants and more restaurants, concerts, and other various activities, kept us from remembering what is important: Real connection.
FOMO is when we use those activities to forget our inner life, believing that what’s on the outside is more important than what’s on the inside—while at the same time trying to feel fulfilled. It isn’t fulfilling, but, darn it, we sure do keep on trying with gusto!
As our country and world begin to reopen (some places sooner than others), let’s remember a few important lessons we learned from our time of sheltering in place:
1. Quiet is the way we listen to and strengthen our intuition. When we are too busy, that still, small voice within is drowned by noises, worry, rushing, and over-scheduling. Plan your daily quiet time. There is nothing more important than that.
2. Remember JOMO, the Joy Of Missing Out. Did you really miss all that activity? Or, was it refreshing not to have to be on the go all the time? What are you glad you were able to stop doing during our shelter-in-place time? Don’t feel obligated to recommence everything. Pick the ones that fit the lifestyle you want, and leave the rest for the FOMOists!
3. Remember the importance of connection. When we couldn’t gather with our loved ones, remember how important that became. Remember how we longed for human touch and togetherness. A crowded concert is not the same as a quiet gathering with family or close friends.
4. Remember the nature that flourished while the humans were quiet. Remember how a walk outside was a unique experience filled with wonder and deeply refreshing to our concerned minds and hearts. Appreciate those moments of breathing in the quiet stirrings of nature.
Let’s not go back to busyness at all costs! Remember what is important: connection with our loved ones, connection with nature, connection within.