These are early days, still. This fact, if nothing else, seems clear.
We are “social distancing” and this is wise. We are trying to shop generously by leaving something on the shelves for our neighbor. Netflix hasn’t crashed (yet), which would undoubtedly send the quarantined over the edge.
We are witnessing the changing trajectory of our world in real time.
This is an extraordinary happening. There are comparisons being made, at least as far as the financial markets are concerned. I hear people sidling COVID-19 up next to the September 11th attacks and Y2K, or the housing market crash a dozen years back. But this little bug cannot be compared to any of these events because this little bug has never happened to earth before.
Whether you live in China, the US or Iceland, you are at the epicenter of a wholly new global event. Today. Right now.
So, what to do with this current state of affairs? What can we learn here? And what have we been missing?
Answers to these questions will hopefully pour in over the coming months, years. I have a feeling that humanity is about to get a good dose of something like a series of revelations. Though this is shaking our world to its core, I can also feel that it brings with it so much light. Revelations have a way of doing that, even if that light starts out a touch blinding.
Okay, so what do we do right now?
We have been given the gift of time, whether we want it or not. Time with our nearest and dearest. Time with ourselves. I posted a photo on social media the other day with the caption introverts, this is our time, but of course I didn’t really mean it as exclusionary. This time is given to all of us. Every last soul—sick, healthy, young, old, rich, poor. All of us are given this time to see.
I am doing what I can to stay healthy, but more than that I am doing what I can to stay connected. Connected to myself. The earth. I am connecting to my practice of being alive. And what a stupendous thing it is to be alive! Not in response to the fear in our current global climate, but because I can sense the changes that are here.
I am here. You are here. We are alive during this tremendous gift of change.
What policies will be stripped and reimagined from this? What hidden power structures will be revealed for their despotic methods? And, on a finer point, how will we change? How will we connect with one another and value one another anew? How will we reimagine the social soup that nourishes us all?
There is a writing tip I use often for life, and it goes a little like this: Allow yourself some distance before putting your life on the page.
It’s solid writing advice. A raw, diary-like memoir only works if it is done consciously, artfully. A direct diary entry is typically missing the kind of reflection and gravitas time can lend. I don’t know about you, but I rarely write things I mean in the moment. They need time to season before they burst forth to full flavor.
But in these early days of the COVID-19 story, I can say I already sense one true, new flavor. It wafted in last night as I sank into bed, cat in the crook of my arm:
I don’t really want to focus on pursuits that aren’t my core desires anymore.
I’ve seen a lot of jobs, interest, passions, distractions, thoughts, meandering paths, and sandwiches move through in my lifetime. I’m rich, like so many of us, in experience. And I wouldn’t change this history of mine for anything.
But I have also been using these experiences to turn away from something I still only suspect about myself. Lately I’ve been sensing it, here and there, like a tracer at the corner of my eye. It has felt largely obscured until recent events, but it is here, now. And its voice is getting clearer. Somehow the quiet this virus hubbub has induced is bringing this new ancient voice out like Braille.
I keep catching words from it, mixed sensory impressions…
inspire coach connect
These float through like a new perfume, layered over the old and tired, tasteless script…
Survive cope hold on
As these new flavors come in, I get the inkling to inhale them. To listen when they become words. This is my work right now, to listen. To become a new sensory being. Then to open my eyes and see.