The Unbearable Awakening Of Covid-19
In the wake of Covid-19 and everything that entails, we have been brought to our knees.
No one prepared us for a pandemic. The moments vary from highly uncomfortable to downright panic and fear. For many, it has become a daily struggle that we endure on so many levels; we no longer know where one discomfort begins and another ends. Survival on one hand; mental health on the other.
The things that would have previously sent us in a full-blown tirade (effective immediately: all schools in America are closed indefinitely) are now just a blip in what has become the first modern pandemic. (For the record, who ever thought we’d participate in an actual pandemic?!) And if you happen to be a healthcare professional, your place of work has now become a war zone that lacks basic protection, support and adequate supplies – and yet the sick people will come in droves, and you must serve them.
Over the course of a very short time, we are learning how to adjust to a world that no longer includes the basic services of daily life – including daycare, restaurants, places of worship and recreation of any kind.
Life under these new rules, specifically “shelter in place”, which sounds like a WWII reference, has become our new reality. And since most of our professional offices are closed as well, entire families are now “sheltering” together, while simultaneously eLearning and remote working. Even as I type this, I laugh because it sounds like the most outrageous movie script ever written.
In my city, we are asked to stay home and only interact with immediate family members that live in the same home. We leave the house only for neighborhood walks and essential errands – groceries, medicine, etc. We wave to friends from the window and take Zoom calls for work and social meet-ups. Our entire social network has evolved to support social distancing. This new adjustment is a sad replacement for personal contact.
Over the course of the day, our minds alternate from the things we have to get done (eLearning, our jobs, never ending kitchen clean-up), the things we wish we could do (a spa day, a workout class) and oh yeah, the things we hope won’t actually happen (medical complications for our loved ones, fears around money and the recession and, most importantly, Will I ever leave this house again?!) Make no mistake – what you are experiencing is HEAVY STUFF.
We are tired and scared and overwhelmed.
If you live alone, you may be lonely. If you don’t live alone, you may be the opposite of lonely. We sit at home waiting for the next wave of bad news to hit us. Will it be as bad as the last round? Worse? Better? Waiting around, literally, for the virus to hit can make you crazy if you let it.
But remember that fear is not our teacher.
Fear is a survival skill that, taken out of context, may keep you safe but also creates anxiety and ultimately prevents healing. As a spiritual seeker for the past decade, I have inadvertently invited some challenging experiences into my life. A child’s health scare, uncertain economies, and fears of the past resurfacing have become some of my greatest teachers. “Walk through the fear and there is much beauty to be found on the other side,” has become my motto. I certainly did not invite the Covid-19 pandemic into my experience intentionally, but I know it will be a great teacher if I allow it to be.
You must feel a new energy . . . to become something greater than your body, your environment, and time.
We are heading into week three of shelter in place. My husband and I are both at home working, while simultaneously managing eLearning and basic care and management of our four children. My personal space is extremely compromised. These tight quarters have left me feeling vulnerable in moments when I need a break and that’s just not possible. At the end of a long day recently, I broke down and cried.
My youngest sons, 8 and 12, not fully understanding why but seeing I needed support, walked over and hugged me and told me they loved me. Had I not allowed that vulnerability, I would not have experienced the miracle of the rare reversal of my children’s caring for me. That kindness reminded me that it’s okay to falter, we are not robots. Our vulnerability allows us to evolve to support this new system that is entirely foreign to us but necessary for the indefinite future. As Glennon Doyle often reminds us, we can do hard things.
What you resist, persists.
For me, this experience has become an epic reminder than we’re not in charge. When you find the courage to surrender, even in small ways, you begin to see the light just outside the shadows. Allow these moments, especially the uncomfortable ones, to guide you through this. There is no “Pandemic 101” rule book you should follow. Let your heart guide you. Smile at a stranger on a walk, shed a tear when needed, text words of support to your healthcare friends, hug your people tight; remember that in today’s socially distant world, human touch is a privilege we will appreciate so much more in the future.
If you feel like you need additional support during these uncertain times, remember you are not alone! Check in with your healthcare provider, your friends and family or click here for more information.
Be well, friends. xoxo
Colleen Cooney is an independent marketing consultant and owner of Sanctuary Brands. She lives in Chicago with her husband and 4 sons.