The last 9 months have been a whirlwind to say the very least. Everything has changed. So much has been revealed and so much we still don't know. We have all felt disappointment, discouragement, and pain, as well as appreciation, hope, and faith on massive scales. I personally feel like I have condensed 10 years of life experience into less than one. I miss my people. We all do. I want to hug them, kiss them, sit and sip coffee on the couch and connect without anxiety and worry. Especially as the holidays role around, we are all reminded of the longing we have to gather. The pandemic and the yo-yo of quarantine has left me with plenty of time to think, reflect, contract, and expand. I wanted to share a few of those musings with you as a way to connect our hearts through the vast cyber inter-webs.
The word pandemic breaks down into two parts; "pan" means all, and dem(os) means people. The ending, "ic" refers to an action of some kind. This COVID 19 pandemic has affected all of the earth's people in various ways; be it physical, emotional, financial, relational, spiritual, and intellectual. This pandemic has and will continue to reach us all in because its very nature includes "all the people." Now, more than ever, we need to seek relationships that support and nourish. Now, more than ever, we need to seek courage over fear. Now, more than ever, we need to seek patience over frustration. Now, more than ever, we need to seek compassion over judgement. In a time where it would be easy to numb, to ignore, to hide away, we need to turn toward the deeper parts of us that carry strength, empathy, humility, and love.
As we have turned everyday connections with others into an electronic conversation or a calculated personal interaction, we are constantly reminded of the changes occurring in our lives. On an emotional level, being deprived of person-to-person interaction leads to loneliness and feelings of being disconnected. You may feel a sense of depression set in as you don't get the same oxytocin and dopamine hits you get when you shake someone's hand, get a hug, or even just being in close proximity to another human that brings joy tour life. On the other hand, you may be feeling totally touched out as you are in service to the demands and needs of your children all day and evening when you previously had childcare.
The zoom meetings, while a fortunate substitute, are no match for the eye-to-eye, heart-to-heart, soul-to-soul exchange you get in person. I have seen my friends and their children, as well as my family, from afar and it takes all of me to restrain myself from embracing them the way I normally do. The invisible wall this invisible virus is putting between people is excruciatingly hard.
Right now we are in a state of unbalanced connection. Too much, too little, too artificial, too thought out. I am grateful for the ways my children want to snuggle in close to me and feel safe in the crook of my arm, or buried next to my heart. I love that they still want to hold my hand and they look to me for reassurance. Yes, I am their safe person. But who is my safe person? Many times through this crisis I have wanted to be hugged, look into a reassuring face, or hold someone's hand as I cry my tears of overwhelm. The people I would lean into for this kind of thing are either deep in their own sorrow and stress of the current times or are inaccessible because of quarantine.
We are in a primal state of fear. Fear for our own safety, the safety of those nearest and dearest to us, and the sustainability of our country and globe. This is scarier on a whole new level than most of us have ever experienced. Our brains have been hijacked to believe that everything is an emergency, or at least a catastrophy. This means that whatever small stress comes our way, it feels bigger and that much overwhelming. Since we are in a state of overwhelm and fear, we laser focus in on what next bad thing will happen to prepare ourselves. We forget that there is still beauty around us, and that we get to pay attention to that as well.
Even though this fearful state is captivating of my attention, I have also found it to be the birth place of love, hope, and change. Fear has gripped me before, but I had the luxury of running away from it or distracting myself. Now? Now I have to sit in it. I have to confront it everyday. And you know what it has taught me? That I am strong, resilient, creative, and adaptable. Even in moments of dark despair, I see light. I have committed myself to keep going, even if I am crawling because eventually I will stand up again. We have to just keep going. We need to put one foot in front of the other. If what are stepping in sticky or muddy, we just have to keep going. We are only stuck if we let ourselves be stuck.
Moving from a state of fear to courage, or frustration to patience, or judgement to compassion is a CHOICE you get to make! You have not chosen this reality, but you do get to decide with how you perceive it, what you learn from it, and what you make of it.