I’ve spent nearly all day meandering through the thoughts and feelings that welled up in me during my grocery store visit. I probably should have immediately ripped off my shoes, found a patch of grass to stand in, and take some deep, cleansing breaths. But I did not. Today I decided to let this cook a little, and now I am releasing it through these words.
I don’t think any of us should feel alone in what we are sensing during this time of outbreak.
Being respectful of ourselves and others in how we may be experiencing this challenge is so important. Sharing a “knowing” (and quite possibly “anxious”) smile, checking in on people, and leaving some TP on the shelves, are all small but powerful indicators that we care about each other. I’m reminded of a pretty great saying: “how we do anything is how we do everything”. It takes a moment, but it's a hard-hitter!
I am so sad for all who have lost someone due to this virus, anyone who is suffering themselves, or anyone who finds themselves in a difficult situation mentally, emotionally or financially, because of all that is going on. I have hope in Richard Rohr’s teaching that great love and great suffering are the universal paths to transformation...simple, but not easy.
We should spend as much time as we need measuring our risk levels and our anxiety, and contemplate our response. But, when we have momentary pause, there is the option to look at this from other angles.
Can we see this as an opportunity to change and evolve? And can we be grateful for this?
If we choose to allow it, this time is strongly nudging us to practice presence and growth in some of the most beautiful areas of being human...to rely on others for help, to allow others to rely on us, to support local companies and farmers, to resist gluttony, and to seriously confront the “us” vs. “them” attitude which can flourish in times like this.
It’s the perfect time to step more fully into our humanity - to share, to ask for help, to practice radical acceptance. These things challenge me so much, but the opportunity is calling.
The Velcro-Teflon Theory for the brain is fascinating, and practicing gratitude seems to be the most widely agreed-upon way to not allow this theory to dominate us. We can practice this always, even amidst Covid19.
Personally, I am grateful for:
- The reminder that we are fragile
- The extra time to practice presence with my family
- My temporary unemployment, to work on meaningful projects that I struggle to have time for ordinarily
- Seeing myself and other folks take extra time in the grocery store to examine where our food is from
- Listening to music
- Making more homemade dishes
- Friends, family and other parents who have offered a helping hand with child care
- An opportunity to wake up!
Richard Rohr and many other folks (who have spent a lot of time in meditation), say “When you wake up, you overcome the illusion of separateness”.
Maybe this is a time to knock on the door of an non-quarantined neighbour, ask for a roll of toilet paper, and stay to get to know them on a meaningful level. All the while practicing proper hand hygiene, of course!