My biggest hope is that when all emerge, changed, and we see each other not by our differences but by the shared experience of surviving. Bonds forged by the fire that is currently consuming us. Settled inside of ourselves in ways that would never have been possible before because we would never have taken
the initiative to evolve beyond our circumstances.
COVID-19 forced our hands. COVID-19 has forced this change upon us,
and we will collectively rise to the challenge.
If someone had asked me six months ago, if I believed humanity would ever come together, crossing racial lines, societal lines, political lines, all for the greater good, I would have said no, at least not in my lifetime. I never believed anything would be powerful enough to unite the world.
But now, as I sit safely inside of my home, I am witnessing a powerful, life-altering event as it unfolds, bringing humans together in awe-inspiring ways. Every corner of the globe is involved. Every nation. Every ethnicity. Every religion. Every single human being.
It is overwhelming. It is breathtaking. It is incredibly powerful.
A collective life lesson for every one of us.
As with any life lesson we’ve all had at one time or another, it’s damn hard to face. While the result, hopefully, of social distancing and quarantining in our homes will ultimately be what saves thousands of lives and stops the spread of this virus. It’s forcing all of us to look deeply into our own lives. It is forcing us to stop and not only think of how we live but also to consider how our choices affect others. This virus has forced all of us to look at our actions, our priorities, and our entire existence. It is never easy to face the darkness on our own and unprepared. It’s like being thrown into the raging ocean when you don’t know how to swim. You either figure it out, or you drown. There is no other option available. This is what all of us are facing.
We have to care about what other people are doing. We have to care about what we are doing. We have to become a cohesive blend of humans, regardless of what makes us different, and we have to do it quickly because the alternative is someone, maybe us, will die if we don’t.
This is literally a life or death situation.
My actions today could very well determine someone else’s fate tomorrow if I do not do everything in my power to stay home. Your actions not only dictate your chance of survival but those of your neighbors, friends, and strangers whom you’ve never even interacted with.
In this battle, every single person has a role to play, and this role is multifaceted. This role is profound, penetrating, and the absolutely most significant chance we have ever had to not only get right with ourselves but to help all of humanity get right with each other.
The personal sacrifices we are making, the internal battle of our thoughts and emotions, the loss of jobs and income is staggering. The fear is palpable. How will we survive? What is the world going to look like tomorrow, next week, in six months? The speed in which we are all being forced to acclimate is terrifying. The fear of losing everything we have is genuine, the emotions that are raging inside of us is all-consuming. All while being forced to isolate either alone or with only those in our immediate family. It is becoming the single most life-altering event for many people all over the world.
While we know staying home is the right thing to do, it doesn’t make it any easier to do. It doesn’t make the fear go away. It doesn’t make the unknowns any easier to face. It doesn’t help control the anxiety when we do have to venture outside of our little bubbles to get food or essentials. Knowing the right thing to do won’t pay our bills or keep a roof over our heads.
For right now, we are all faced with an impossible situation.
I’ve been in impossible situations before. I’ve wandered through periods of my life when everything around me was burning to the ground, and I was powerless to stop it. I have made it through to the other side of soul-crushing experiences I was certain were going to kill me. And, while all of this has given me experience to draw from as I face the COVID-19 crisis, I am woefully unprepared, as well. Just like you, your neighbors, and people across the globe.
We are all figuring it out as we go, and it is exhausting.
Seriously. I’ve been through some shit. Hard shit. Really hard shit. But never before have all of my defenses to life been rendered absolutely useless. I can always come up with a plan. Always. I can always see my way through, even when I knew it was going to hurt like hell. Even when I knew it would take me a while to acclimate to a new normal, make peace with a loss, or figure out who I would become in the aftermath. I am no stranger to survival mode. I’ve lived most of my life in it. But this time, right now, is different. It’s not just about me. It’s bigger than me. It’s bigger than all of us. So, while the tools and skills I’ve created for myself to live this long have served me well, they’re not doing much for me now, and this knowledge is scary.
It is scary for all of us. Because this virus is not something, we could have prepared ourselves for. It’s not something we can just wing our way through. Because what we do inside this moment will have consequences for not only ourselves and our loved ones, but humanity as a whole.
We are all being forced to not only confront and deal with the very real ramifications in our personal worlds, but we also to see thousands of lives lost with the potential for many, many more. We are seeing families torn apart by grief, and while our heart breaks for them, we are silently praying to our gods that a similar fate does not fall upon us or those we love. It is an ultimate paradox. It is an ugly truth, but a truth, nonetheless.
I’ve been dancing with my shadow self for weeks now. Allowing everything to permeate my mind and soul, and then trying to distance my ego to allow my mind the freedom to work through everything that is swirling around inside of me. I am not one to fill my world with noise to drown out my thoughts, however unpleasant or scary they may be, though lately if I am honest, I’ve been tempted. It is a lot to take in. It is a lot to process. I am trying to take this utterly illogical event and apply some semblance of logic on how to deal with it.
I am discovering this just may be an impossible task while this crisis is still unfolding.
There will be a time in the future to put everything into perspective. But for now, I think it is essential to stay in the moment. Allow ourselves to grieve what is happening. Allow ourselves to find something to laugh about. Hold space for all the emotions we are feeling, even when they seem to change moment to moment. Create little rituals that soothe your racing mind. Look for ways to help others if you can. Listen more. Breathe more. Embrace the sound of silence. For within that silence, you will discover parts of yourself you never knew existed.
I wrote once, a few years back, that I wished for a way to put the world on pause. It had felt at the time that we were all spinning out of control. The constant barrage of humans hurting other humans for a myriad of reasons, many of which ended in bloodshed and lives lost. Denials of freedoms for other human beings because they looked different, lived differently, worshiped differently, loved differently, or whatever it was, they made them less than in the eyes of someone else.
We are all the same now, though. We are all standing at the precipice of a new world after this virus has been contained, and the lessons and hard truths we are all seeing now will never go away. We are learning personal lessons in our little worlds while learning lessons along with every facet of humanity across the entire planet. We are united with others whether we want to be or not because no one right now can fight this alone. We need each other. We need to be there for each other. We need to stand in the silently paused world and figure out who we want to become when life begins anew.
Life will resume its normal tempo. We will eventually emerge from this hushed silence with a renewed appreciation for life, other human beings, and those who are on the front lines of this battle, fighting for all of us.
My biggest hope is that when all emerge, changed, and we see each other not by our differences but by the shared experience of surviving. Bonds forged by the fire that is currently consuming us. Settled inside of ourselves in ways that would never have been possible before because we would never have taken the initiative to evolve beyond our circumstances. COVID-19 forced our hands. COVID-19 has forced this change upon us, and we will collectively rise to the challenge.
Because we have to bring some meaning to all of this, we shall move forward in honor of the lives lost, and make their deaths bring forth an awareness of how precious life is and we need to do this together. We all need to find the meaning within the chaos.
There really is no other option.
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