If Covid Is A God, What Is It Teaching Us?
Here we are at the year anniversary with the Coronavirus. What have we learned in this year of rapid paradigm shifting? If this virus were a god (or alien), what would this god be teaching us? What would we be learning about ourselves from this being?
Here are some answers I came up with.
1. We Are All In The Same Storm
And weathering it in different vessels. As we are all swimming in the pandemic storm we come to it differently, some with underlying “pre existing conditions” and some are entering the storm healthy & resilient. What are some of the pre existing conditions?
- Lack of resources
- Lack of support – emotionally, psychologically, financially
- Physical ailments
- Loneliness, loss of hope, and a general lack of safety.
These conditions can be traced back to our current culture. A culture that supports the health of some and does not support the health of others.
How do we remedy the pre existing conditions?
- Since some of us are sheltered a little more in our boats during the storm, we are naturally called to help our fellow human family being pelted by the rain by sharing what we have, so they can weather the storm. I absolutely believe it is our natural state to offer help.
- Listen. Yep, simply listen. Listen for understanding. Listen to hear where the other person is coming from. Listen like you want to be heard. Listening is a form of sharing. The ability to listen is a skill. Practice it. How can we know what others need if we don’t listen?
And now for the big one
Change the taproot that created the “preexisting conditions” in the first place. Simple enough sentence. Not so simple to put into practice.
To change anything. We first need to know something is a problem & needs changing.
Members of our human family are telling us there are things that need changing (Hate directed at some of the family, resource inequities, lack of basic needs being met such as shelter, food, the ability to make a life affirming livelihood, care when we are sick).
What we are talking about is basic cradle to the grave security.
The next step
This is a hard one. We need to examine the situation without blame. Can we understand our role in it and do our work so the conditions don’t continue harming ourselves and our greater family? Can we not blame others for where they are? I truly believe underneath our fear & undealt with shame, we want all of our family to thrive.
Every major belief system/religion has this premise at its core.
Our job is to start “unpacking” our fear & shame.
So we can listen to one another.
2. We Are Capable Of So Much More Kindness Than We Know
Even in the midst of all our present time uncertainty, our neighbors show up with soup, offer kind words, create birthday parade drive-bys. Kindness has sprung up all over the world; mutual aid facebook pages, food-sharing lockers, donations, ride shares, increased support of small businesses, free educational webinars, singing to health care workers on the front lines and much more.
We are being given a unique opportunity to practice tenderness, compassion & understanding. We all are weathering the same storm at the same time! Never in our life has the WHOLE WORLD been living through the same difficulty, together.
What a time to practice compassion.
I can honestly say to myself when I’m impatient trying to get some mundane task accomplished, “just like me, this person is juggling a pandemic”. “Just like me they can’t remember what day it is.” “Just like me they are on a rollercoaster of emotions.” And, I have no idea what they are going through on a moment to moment basis.
For example, last week while on the phone with a random insurance person, her young daughter came into the room, interrupted our call, and asked her a question. Of course mom needed to step away from our call and be with her daughter. Up until that point I had been managing my impatience at needing to be on the phone dealing with my car situation. She apologized for the interruption and in that moment, she was another person managing the pandemic. She was my kin just trying to make it through the day. Immediately my perspective shifted. Tender. Kind. Understanding. I laughed and said, “yes, this is our new normal.”
3. Treasure Everything
We can’t do this every moment (or maybe you can, I can’t☺️ ) , but it can be a goal to increase our daily tolerance for treasuring. Can we use this Covid time as a tenderizer that helps us appreciate the connections we share with each other, the natural world, the small gifts of kindness from our family, friends & strangers we meet? The scary and equalizing factor of the coronavirus is it can take a life or health indiscriminately. We just don’t know. Can we use the very fact of our limited physical existence to remind us to treasure health & life when we have it?
This isn’t pressure or a calling out, but a gentle reminder to remember.
I’ve noticed my days go much better when they begin in one of the heart centered/coherent emotions; gratitude, compassion or appreciation. I cultivate these emotions by reading inspiring books, praying, offering thanksgiving or simply sitting and admiring the beauty of the birds while I drink my morning tea.
Another tool I use is cultivating and remembering a centering question.
I’ve just spent two weeks on retreat to find a new “true north”, a centering question for myself. Here’s the question that emerged after two weeks on retreat:
How can I encourage tenderness?
What I’d like to leave here for you dear reader to ponder is:
How is the world different if we are motivated to have all of our human family thrive?
With no exceptions.
Want to read/learn more?
- Rising Strong: How the ability to reset transforms the way we live, love, parent and lead. Brene Brown
- Unlocking Us: Brene Brown podcast
- Ted Talk on Vulnerability; Brene Brown. https://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_the_power_of_vulnerability?language=en
- White Fragility. Robin DiAngelo
- Barking to the Choir: the power of radical kinship. Father Gregory Boyle