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Dreaming Up a New Reality: Becoming in a COVID-19 World

By Vicki McLeod

In late March 2020, I scribbled the following about the global pandemic in my journal: “I feel this circumstance as an awakening, albeit an uncomfortable one. We have been stopped by forces outside our control, and on a worldwide scale.

The pandemic demands that we not only stop our daily activities, curtail existing plans, and cease engaging with the world in all the normal ways, but it has also stopped whatever was “becoming” in us at that time.” I asked myself, as I pondered the scribble: What was I becoming?

This is a question that can scale. Worldwide, systems, businesses and whole industries shut down at least temporarily. What was ‘becoming’ not only in you, but in your business, organization or industry? What about government, the environment, culture? My personal enquiry brought me to another question. Who am I without goals? Without striving?

The late Lou Tice, in his book Personal Coaching for Results opens with this: “Deeply rooted within our heart of hearts is the longing to grow and bloom, to express our creative, life-affirming innermost nature...” Later in his book, Tice goes on to describe human beings as teleological. He says, “We think in terms of purpose and we’re naturally goal oriented. Having a teleological nature means that in order for us to change and grow, we need something tugging at us from the future, something to - quite literally - look forward to." In a COVID-19 world, what may be tugging at us from the future is almost completely unknown. This leaves us “living in an infinite present,” as Helen Rosner, The New Yorker’s roving food correspondent, called it in a May 2020 tweet.

The Organizational and Relationship Systems Coaching (ORSC) model developed by CRR Global proposes three levels of reality: essence, dreaming, and consensus reality. ORSC utilizes a key question for individuals and systems: what is trying to happen? Our consensus reality, what we called normal life pre-COVID-19, is completely disrupted by the pandemic. Beyond the vital imperatives of immunity and vaccines, what else is trying to happen here, in the infinite present?

Whatever we were dreaming up for ourselves and our enterprises before the crisis was radically interrupted. We left the shore of what we knew as normal and do not know the shape of the next landfall. In this awareness-- this recognition-- I begin my investigation. Here, adrift in the knowing-not knowing, I ask: "what am I becoming now?” There is no doubt COVID-19 poses enormous challenges on all fronts. But it also offers us an invitation. We are awake in the dreaming. What will we become now?

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Vicki McLeod
Vicki McLeod

Thanks so much for your thoughtful response to this post @caymanchef - I love the naming of being "on the verge of becoming an adventurer again" as your state of becoming, as well as the observations of multiple levels of reality. My perspective on your final question is yes, we are being given the opportunity to shape our future mindfully. I think you said it: "This philosophy puts the point of power in the infinite present". A question I would ask you is: Is there a way to bring the energy, or the spirit of the adventurer into this present reality? Can that aspect continue to "become" in these new circumstances, or is something else beckoning now? Be well.

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