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July 25, 2021

COVID Chronicles: What 10 days of Isolation Is Showing Me

Photo by Jennifer Murray on Pexels.

Six days ago, I tested positive for COVID-19. I’m not going to lie; it was a shock. I took the test to simply rule it out. My mind had convinced me it was just a head cold. I stared back at the screen before me that read “positive” and my whole world came to a screeching halt.

A life of canceled plans, forced isolation, and emotional turmoil ensued. I felt like my world flipped upside down and turned inside out. The weight of other people’s judgments and opinions of me was the hardest. I share a living space with others and felt like a leper in my own home.

I guess I figured the fear wouldn’t be as strong coming at me in this day and age when many are now feeling safe enough to exist in this world again. Boy, was I wrong.

Being diagnosed with an illness like COVID separates you instantaneously from the clan. You are the undesirable one, now forced to deal with the external stresses on top of an already stressed out immune system.

I’m not saying I’m a victim. We live and exist in a world where people get sick, and I just happened to be one of them, in the middle of summertime, post a 30th birthday celebration. This article is not to dive into the political topics that surround these issues or to defend any of my choices, but only to say, that I am a living, breathing human being navigating the strange circumstances I find myself in.

And, I am one of the lucky ones. This, I know. I know unpaid time off from work, mild symptoms resembling a head cold with more fatigue and a canceled trip are minor in comparison to other’s experience. I know this wasn’t the case for everyone.

I’d like to think of myself as a diplomat, someone who has her beliefs but is these days trying to find the middle ground, more neutrality about these issues. Things can get heated and heated fast when it comes to countering opinions of right/wrong. We can become so divided, so hateful, so nasty to one another. Fear breeds hostility, after all.

Fear is such a contagious thing. Once it starts, it’s hard to slow the momentum down. It’s a frequency I haven’t yet fully mastered out of. I’ve scratched the surface of my fears and now, been catapulted into them these last few days, not fear for the sake of my own physical well-being but for the repercussions and judgments from others.

I’ve felt viscerally where I house my fear in my own body. I see where I’ve allowed this fear to take up residence in my body. This sickness has brought me face to face with my own emotional processes around death, in the metaphorical sense, gratefully, but still intense nonetheless.

I, of course, can’t compare my journey of self-isolation to that of losing a loved one, but these last few days have shown me the internal landscape of fear. Of total loss of control. Of acceptance. Of letting go of all the “should’s” of how life was supposed to go.

A wake up call. A tower moment. Seeing pockets of the shadow self I would otherwise not want to look at. Of a deep call for rest. For replenishment on a much deeper level than I would have otherwise allowed, driven more by my Ego, and less by my soul.

I suppose this is what happens in our day and age, when life asks something more of us. To slow down. To listen deeper. To tune in. To quiet the noise. By first perhaps ramping the noise up.

I wish I had the answers as to what grand lesson will come out of this. I wish I had the zest and inspiration to let others know that “everything happens for a reason.”

I wish I had the positive mind strong enough yet to tell others that there is always another way to look at a dismal situation. I’m getting there, but I haven’t gotten there yet. Some days, I feel the darkness caving in right upon waking. Other days, it creeps in a bit later.

Forced isolation does weird things to the brain. It amps up the depressive thoughts. It forces you to sit with the slower pace of life, or rather the all out “stop.” So, I am sitting with it, as best I can, trying to not judge myself for wanting to numb out with Netflix, instead of write something of hope and inspiration.

To anyone else out there who has endured this already, I commend you. To anyone out there enduring this now or in the days to come, my heart goes out to you. No matter your choices or political standing, you deserve compassion. You deserve empathy for the pain and suffering. It takes great courage to keep our hearts open to ourselves in these darker moments, let alone for others of differing opinion to keep their own hearts open to us.

We live in a vast world of shifting and changing opinions, biases, judgments and projections of our own fears and beliefs. And, maybe, there is still room for kindness. Maybe, we can make more space for allowance of others. By noticing the judgment in self of other’s deemed moral or immoral ways of living.

If we are going to co-exist in a world that is shifting as drastically and quickly as it has been, we need to foster more respect for the other. This doesn’t mean we have to like them or their choices, but it does mean we don’t get to bully them for listening and honoring their truth, even if it differs from your own.

Your truth is your truth. My truth is my truth. This doesn’t mean we get to be reckless and not think of others. We, too, have responsibility to be aware of the lives of others.

Testing positive for COVID has taught me many things already. It’s taught me the power of slowing down, of listening to my body, of honoring my need for more rest, of quieting the external voices around me. Of noticing for how much of my life I have given away my power to others to condemn or applaud me for my choices.

It’s reaffirmed to me that I am indeed an introvert and don’t mind the time alone as much as others might. It’s also shown me that I crave connection still. I crave touch. I crave a hug. I crave a warm smile from a friend or loved one via FaceTime. We all have needs, and sometimes these needs go unmet or feel like a giant, growing chasm in our hearts.

We are all worthy at all times of having these needs met. Sick or not, of course, within the parameters of safety. We all deserve love and connection. Maybe, I am learning this for myself, that no matter the feels of this very uncomfortable, vulnerable time, I still am worthy of love and compassion.

This, I am learning, how to give to myself. How to stay with myself in this process of learning, letting go, deep, transformation and sometimes, darkening clouds.

I won’t lie and say I’m embracing this opportunity fully. But, I will tell you I’m accepting it a little more. I’m digging deep for the gold. I’m excavating the darkness to find golden nuggets of light.

That no matter how dark it gets, no matter what we are going through, to know that the light is always present. No matter how dim it feels to shine on present circumstance. To notice and then to accept however we feel and wherever we may be a little more is always the first step. Back to our hearts. Back to the light of awareness emanating through all.

Ten days of isolation is showing me how to keep showing up. So, if you are navigating sickness, illness, uncertainty, instability or vulnerability, I hope that you keep showing up with me and know that it is always enough. You are always enough.

And, in that reminder of hope, may we all choose more kindness for self and other in this world that we are living in, one kind thought at a time. A prayer for peace and acceptance of ourselves and others in the hearts of all. May this be a marker of the journey home more and more each day. And, may we keep reminding each other of this infinite capacity for love holding us all, no matter what we go and grow through. And, so it is.

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