“I hate sitting still,” one of my favorite clients confessed to me recently. “My first weekend of social isolation, I made a list of all of the home projects I wanted to get done. By the middle of the first day, my kids really wanted me to go back to the office.”

Maybe you can relate. I can. We’re a culture addicted to activity. While this crisis created frenzied activity for some, it pulled the emergency brake for others. Cutting back our everyday pace can be quite disorienting.

But maybe this crisis gives us a chance to re-evaluate. Is fast and busy the best way to live? Or is it a barrier to really being with those around us? Could it be a way we anesthetize ourselves against things we’d rather not think about? Is it a crutch?

Next time you’re tempted to distract yourself with busy-ness or escapism, why not ask yourself who or what you’re running from? By being present that way, we can use this change of pace to rethink the stories we normally tell ourselves and show up for the people around us. We can take a breath, and listen to ourselves and those we care about.

Don’t do this out of grim determination to be a better person. Do it because being present – to yourself and others – gives you the best shot at a joy, which far exceeds the happiness of escapism.

A crisis really does create a whole new learning space. We just have to choose to stay present and see what strength of character comes out the other side.

Be bright