We are three weeks in on the west coast and longer in other areas of the globe. Still a small percentage is resistant. Yet there is an odd feeling in the air – no matter where we are. Mixed with grief, sadness, relief, and despair. There are moments for many of disbelief and great fear. Denials among those leading and following in this human race have different dates on the calendar since the news of sickness began to trickle in. If we still read the large printed paper the headlines may have started on another page, then moved to the bottom of the first. It may have landed in international news for longer than reasonable. What connects us also spreads like fire.
Amidst the calm and the chaos of our world, I feel a collective pressure for us emerge different or better when the distancing has stopped for us. I have found myself caught up in times the past few weeks thinking “Now is the time for me to finish writing my book”, or “I need to create something with this time”. What I believe to be true is this time is not to better ourselves – leaving us with an assumption something is wrong with us or we have to be different to be better.
The pressure to emerge with answers or somehow a new and improved version of us might come from our inherent need to be busy – to be accomplishing and to be doing. While this may change, I am keenly aware I secretly relish in my calendar becoming blank with canceling reoccurring commitments and other meetings. I feel calm. I also am very aware I have the privilege right now of being okay. Of having food in my kitchen and a pillow to lay my head at night amongst those I greatly love.
Things may change but for now, there is a great divide in the privilege of many reading this has and others. There will be a greater divide in privilege and others when we emerge. When this time is over and we can mourn – feel the magnitude of lives lost and lives changed we will show up more mindful. We will emerge not filling in the blanks of our calendar but rather adding what is true and works in our lives. We will find ways to meet others we were too busy before for a walk or lunch or to hear their next great idea. We will talk about how our children and others were affected by the isolation of the pandemic. Maybe though we do not have to write the book or do the thing. We can observe and not add a to-do.
But as far as emerging better? No. We as humans no matter how kind have been below the line of understanding global society. This is not meant to state we deserve a pandemic. Similar to mothering children who are not listening the 10th time we ask for something is usually in a way where our heads spin around and a shriek unlike no other comes out. There are apologies from Mom, tears from the children and a big move on. No move on is planned, our normal needs to be different when the virus runs its course. Our reactions and moments will be documented in history most likely online for if one thing we should know is to stop cutting the trees. Stop destroying the nectar that heals Mother Earth.
In high school when it came to light the rain forest was being destroyed at a record number – I dreamt that the potions and medicine needed to cure deep ills had been cut down before they could be discovered. If we had quit racing to improve and allowed a normal pace who knows what could have been discovered.
We do not need to rush to anything other than to take care of the sweet beings affected. If we need a goal or list in this pandemic may we emerge more mindful, more outwardly loving to others, more interested in words spilling from another’s lips and we linger longer in our hugs. May we only strive to be strong enough to take care of others and not to become a different person, more in shape or hit that goal weight while staying home. If you are not staying home. Stay home. This you can count on your list of accomplishments. Stay home.
More mindful though will only better us all. For many will need us. To offer a soft play to land, a person to listen to them.
So many including myself have relished in a quieter time now. This is privilege dear friends. A privilege many do not have – even in fear we have food in our homes and a bed to sleep in. I have study yoga with a dear teacher out of San Francisco, Janet Stone. Somehow she managed to create a retreat bringing us all together over a weekend – apart and yet together – during this time of isolation. In one of our Zoom chats (how many have we all had since social distancing came to be?), another student stated that self-care had become community care now.
May we not emerge with a pressure to be different but rather a slow exhale of mindfulness so we may take care of ourselves and others the best we can. We do not need to accomplish we simply need to be right now and ready to support others when this chapter has ended. Support your local food bank and stay home for now.