The global pandemic of COVID-19 has caused many to live a life isolated in fear and anxiety this past year.
Many people have experienced grief over loved ones who have died. We have gone through so many feelings and circumstances without the usual support and connections. In some ways, this has caused our isolation to be like a cocoon where we just curl up and wait for it to be over.
Now that many people are getting vaccinated and restrictions are lifting in some parts of the world, more people are venturing out. But some may have anxiety about their world re-entry. Maybe they already had anxiety and this year has made it worse. Maybe the fear of COVID-19 has become something they cannot let go of. Maybe it felt so safe to cocoon, and now they are wondering why they should even want to venture out into a world where politics and systems and violence and viruses seem uncontrollable and so frightening.
Connections are so important for our heart, spirit, and well-being. Virtual connections alone are not enough. Humans need touch. There are many studies proving touch reduces anxiety, depression, and boosts the immune system. It is ironic that when we all need a big dose of immunity, our contacts have been limited.
At the beginning of the COVID-19 shutdown, I was living alone for the first time in my life. My last child had just moved out and I began working from home. Through this past year, I have gone weeks without seeing anyone except online. In the past, I have been used to being busy and constantly running around and traveling for work. My story is not unusual. Yet now, I have to admit I have been surprised at myself for not rushing back into the world as soon as possible. I have had to examine and confront the reluctance I have felt. There is no doubt some of this isolation has been actually healing in itself and has brought great insights and positive change. Yet, I admit loneliness and want to be more connected. It is our human need and nature.
How can you begin to re-enter this world when the cocoon has begun to feel too normal and too comfortable?
There are two questions to be answered: “How?” and “Why?” I have reflected on this and have found some comfort and guidance from the rich, natural world around us.
The “how” begins with our Earth.
The earth didn’t go anywhere. She is still here for us despite all the global challenges. Root yourself into her again. She is not virtual; she is touchable. You can connect with her. She is safe and has provided our sustenance always. Walk on her with bare feet. Sit under the moon. Breathe the air after the rain. No matter where you live, she is your foundation.
Recently, I revisited the creation story of Sky Woman. This tale comes from the Algonquin and Iroquoian Indians in North-Eastern America.
The basic story goes like this:
At this point in time, there were two worlds; the Upper World and a great sea below which was home to sea and air creatures and called the lower world. The Great Spirit in the upper world had a pregnant daughter, full of light. He asked her to look in a hole under a great tree. She saw the water and creatures below. Then suddenly, she began to fall. She floated down slowly and wondered who would catch her? Then a lovely flock of swans spread their wings and gently floated her down onto the back of a great sea turtle. She felt so safe and appreciative for their assistance, her love and light grew and grew until land was created with the strong back of the turtle. Her life and birth on this new land was the beginning of humankind.
Take heart with this story!
Sky woman took a fall. It was scary and she didn’t know what would happen. Her world as she knew it was over. But the animals supported her, and their loving connection formed a solid and safe place for humans to live. Slow, steadily, Turtle provided his strong back. Turtle did not hide inside his shell. He was courageous and created a whole new world.
Here is the “why” to leave the cocoon.
The earth is still supporting us and invites us to participate in creating a safe and wondrous world. You are needed in this post-Covid world to bring your own unique perspective into creating new structures, new “normals,” and new relationships. Through the chaos is opportunity. Take small steps toward opportunity until you can fully embrace it. This is a unique time on Earth and you are part of it because you are here. Your full presence is needed.
Here are some additional tips to begin your re-entry and connection to the world:
1. Begin with short journeys. You can still follow local infection control guidelines and just go somewhere—anywhere. Revisit a favorite spot. Meet a friend. Make plans and put them on your calendar.
2. If you feel anxious when you are out in the world, visualize yourself surrounded by a protective bubble. This bubble allows you to interact and see clearly, yet no unwanted energies or negativity can enter. You can make this a crystal, armor, or whatever helps you feel safe. The power of the mind and intention really works!
3. Go for a walk close by. Walk where there is some nature, if possible. Find even one tree and just observe it. How does the wind sound through its leaves? Touch it. Are there animals along your path? If so, greet them. You can always greet nature and animals silently. We are still heard.
4. When you are with someone you trust, make an effort to touch them more often. A hug or pat goes a long way in feeling connected.
One thing about this period in our lives is that we have all been in this together. It is a global phenomenon. Not one we wanted, but one we have shared. Mother Earth is still supporting us. We can assist ourselves and each other in the next phase: transforming from our cocoons into the butterflies who fly and create a new existence.