It is with love and compassion that my heart goes out to all those who are suffering from the COVID-19 virus; people who have lost loved ones to the pandemic; courageous souls offering essential services to care for the sick, keep food coming, and keep our world in motion; and the many volunteers and Earth Angels who are offering free services and acts of kindness all over the world.
My heart also goes out to those sheltering at home. The challenges of social distancing, facing uncertainty around work and income, and feeling lonely or unsettled in the midst of the pandemic are generating significant psychological, emotional, and financial burdens.
Many are asking: “When will this all be over? What can I learn? Where is the silver lining?”
I see a series of small waves that keep cascading in one by one, gently breaking along the shore. Offering freshness to the world and new possibilities for our entire society.
Waves of unity, kindness, slowness, and stillness.
Countries, states, towns, and families are uniting to help the greater good. Whether people are donating their time and energy to assist others or staying at home to keep themselves and their communities safe, there is evidence of a unity that keeps growing. Couples and families are spending more time helping and supporting each other. Mealtime is becoming sacred again. People are making attempts to connect across barriers of physical touch and distance. Families and friends are having Zoom calls together for the first time. I just celebrated my niece’s son’s fourth birthday with 18 family members on the call singing “Happy Birthday,” making jokes, and wearing funny Avenger masks and costumes.
Acts of kindness are abundant in both virtual and in-person communities, and I’m seeing them right in my own backyard. In San Diego, where I live, a group of young people decided to shop and deliver free food to seniors so they can stay home and not put themselves at risk. In Berkeley, where I’m currently located, a local farmer’s market soup company is delivering organic homemade soup to those in need. Teachers and speakers throughout the nation are offering free yoga and meditation classes, as well as business and personal development webinars and conferences. Companies, leaders, and employees are strategizing on creative ideas and solutions to stay afloat and help each other in this difficult time.
Doors that remained closed amid the busy-ness of life are opening now that we have time to breathe, be still, and come back to what’s important. We are experiencing an unprecedented new normal, in which people are picking up the phone, neighbors are helping neighbors, and we are making time for what actually matters: connection, generosity, and love.
Life has slowed down dramatically. Calendars, travel, social events, and business obligations have been cleared. There is a pause. More space. More time. This essential pause is disconcerting for many, but it’s a powerful and much-needed time for reflection.
I believe we are being given a valuable chance to consider exactly how well “normal” worked. Instead of being caught in the fast-paced rat race, we can now collect ourselves and think intentionally about the lives we want to live and the world we wish to create.
I invite you to sit down with a pen and piece of paper and make two columns. On the right side, write down things that are drawing your attention, making you feel excited. On the other side, write down things you don’t want to do, that don’t feel right to you, that maybe no longer feel necessary, essential, or important. If you could only do a few things each day in this confined space, what would they be?
I also urge you to answer the following questions: What wants to be born in me right now? What does God or the light want to call into being? What do I notice when I sit in stillness?
I know that for myself, it feels like a new life is being born: one of simplicity, community, compassion, love, and joy. I’m being invited to expand my reach within myself and to others. To remember the importance of reverence, humility, and interconnection.
This doesn’t mean I don’t get sad, down, hurt, resistant, frustrated, or angry. But when I do, I stop and feel my feelings instead of pushing them away. At the same time, my resting place is joy and gratitude. That is where my heart returns naturally after my discontent wanes.
We all have that space of joy to return to, so that we can find peace. With this perspective, we can move from the dark, uncomfortable place of hunkering down and coping and wanting this all to be over, to a place of light, joy, and possibility—right in the present.