Elements of our celebration were much the same as how we’ve spent previous birthdays, but really nothing is the same for any of us anymore.
The Coronavirus crisis has sent shock waves through every aspect of our families, our communities, and our economics. Our very democracy and the democratic freedoms that we hold dear may be in peril. These are very shaky times that are sure to reveal both the brilliance and ineptitude of humanity. I have taken to social media to voice my thinking and regularly hold interviews to raise my concerns.
We will come out of this, but we must be wiser.
There hasn’t been much change in my daily routines due to the stay-at-home advisory. I’ve always considered myself a bit of a hermit. I spend most mornings in my 'writing cabin' meditating with periodic bursts of wild creativity. I’m in the middle of four books of photography and poetry that capture the seasons around my home, while continuing to work on the themes of Life Planning and A Golden Civilization.
Shifts have, of course, occurred in my life. The Kinder Institute team are working remotely, and I miss their presence and the energy of our afternoon conversations. We have transitioned all our in-person programming this spring to a virtual format and will continue to do so until the crisis settles.
We had been working to develop a virtual line of our programmes, including both the 2-Day Seven Stages of Money Maturity® Workshop and our longer EVOKE® Life Planning Training, and I am thrilled that we have been able to pivot quickly to meet the interest of our customers. In fact, I expect the virtual format to make our programming more accessible to our global audience. https://www.kinderinstitute.com/events/
If ever there was a community ready to take on the challenge of meeting client needs, keeping spirits high, and being emotionally grounded, it is the Life Planning community. Through their training in great listening, they have learned to meet times of crisis with authenticity, empathy, and compassion.
I urge everyone to take the time to connect with the present moment: whether it is taking a few deep breaths before a client call, a minute of silence with eyes closed before responding to a panicked email, or starting the day with 20 minutes of meditation. The practice of "letting thoughts go and feelings be" transforms suffering into wisdom as I share in my book, Transforming Suffering Into Wisdom: Mindfulness and The Art of Inner Listening.
Wisdom must be our guide as we emerge from this crisis. We must ask ourselves how we want to be as a culture, as a species, and as a civilization. These are really important questions that get to the essence of who we are/must be on this planet.
We have behaved poorly, ineptly. Not only in our financial institutions and our responsiveness to public health but also in regard to inequality and corruption and war and the sustainability of the planet. I have argued that it is time for us through a participative, democratic process to envision “A Golden Civilization” and to execute it completely within a generation, to put fiduciary at the heart of every institutional decision in our culture.
It is a fallow time. Now is the time for us to do great work inside ourselves and to envision together so that we emerge with the greatest aspects of humanity ascendant, no longer merely great brains but great hearts evident in all of our institutions and great wisdom at the top of all hierarchies of power.
It is important not to get lost in the fears and despairs of the moment but to recognise the vast majority of us will survive Covid-19 and the economic collapse is unlikely to be as long-lasting as the Great Depression but more likely to follow the arc of the disease.
All over the world, we are all in this together. It’s time for us to come together and insist that the best of humanity on a sustainable planet be our outcome.
George Kinder, CFP®, RLP®, is the founder of the Kinder Institute of Life Planning and designer of trainings for client-adviser relationship skills. His new book, A Golden Civilization and the Map of Mindfulness is available now.