Living in the time of covid feels like sadness; deep, heavy sadness for the people around the globe who have surrendered to the struggle to draw breath, confused and scared amidst chaos, waiting for a ventilator that isn’t available or won’t be enough.
Living in the time of covid also feels like hope and wonder. Learning of the many places where the planet has benefitted from the virus and its demand that we all slow the fuck down, this feels like hope. Where the air is cleaner and all natural beings can thrive, there is promise that perhaps this giant organism, the Earth, of which we are merely a tiny little part, stands to heal and flourish as a result of this virus. There is a question here, and I wonder; is this the actual purpose of our recent invasion?
Living in the time of covid is also riding terrifying waves of fear; fear that the faceless masses overwhelming distant hospitals desperate for successful treatment will soon become faces I know, humans I love, and beings I can’t live without. There is fear that my own precious, privileged moments of easily drawing breath after breath may be numbered more severely than ever before.
Living in the time of covid is also pride in and gratitude for the way people all over the world are showing up for each other. Creatively, with love, kindness, thoughtfulness, and generosity. Bringing supplies to people who need them. Staying home to protect people they don’t know. The courage and bravery of healthcare workers risking their lives to take care of others. There is evidence of so much love amongst us.
There also exists disappointment in unskillfulness. There are tales of greed and judgement, most likely born out of very understandable fear. And there is frustration towards stories of corruption and wrong-doing, attempts to profit, gain, and capitalize at the expense of others. Selfish actions which can only come from ignorance to the true nature of our interconnectedness, the depth of our interdependence with each other as a human family and with our planet as a whole.
“Sheltering in place” in this time of covid brings undeniable shades of relief. Relief from obligations and busyness. Relief from an unsustainable pace which seemed impossible to modulate until we all decided to do it together. It is a relief to just be here now, because there’s not really anywhere to go and because now more than ever my awareness of mortality looms ever present in my mind, an awareness that lends to gratitude for all the moments, not as “normal” as they were a few weeks ago, but still more “normal” than they may be in weeks to come.
Which brings me to the “unknowingness” of living in the time of covid. There is a sharp unknowingness of what will unfold, how long “this” will last, who will we become when we adapt, overcome, and integrate the experiences we are collectively having. Recession and economic hardship. What will that look like? How will that feel? The people stockpiling guns and ammo, I shudder to think what those are for. Is violent civil unrest in our future? There is so much to be revealed. There is raw, intimate connection with the element of the unknown, to which I can only breathe deeply, gratefully, and intentionally through the discomfort that lies therein.
And living in the time of covid there is grief. Grief at the loss of the physical closeness with others which I hope to never take for granted again. The ability to squat down to face level and listen closely, intently to a child that isn’t mine. The freedom to tightly hug my friends. The luxury of driving three hours to spend a long weekend visiting, reconnecting with, enjoying the company of all our loves that don’t happen to live near enough to drop off flowers and painted rocks, sneaking a long (physically separated but still in person) hello and communicating love with eyes and smiles and words. There is grief in what feels currently lost.
In this time of covid I’m aware of insecurity as well. Insecurity around doing “this” right. Am I being loving enough, present enough, flexible enough? Safe enough? Wise enough? Am I strong enough? What is considered essential, anyways? Am I making the “right” decisions as we navigate this seemingly subjective directive? We’ve lived with our two young kids sans kitchen for three months; is a kitchen remodel essential? Can our contractor, mindful of social distancing, continue to work on our project? Will we be criticized for this? Are we being unsafe? Can I continue to sit, six feet away from my clients, one at a time, whom deem their mental health support essential enough to justify a break from the physical isolation? Will we be judged, either by others or by the virus itself, its rampant but preventable contagiousness putting all our perceived needs on blast?
But there is plenty of humbled surprise, too. Surprise appreciation for the gifts of technology, previously resented by me as distractions and toxic laden challenges to overcome, now suddenly a useful tool with which to stay connected to loved ones, information, resources, income. I take back everything bad I ever said about my smartphone, about social media. May we continue to grow in our ability to use these tools wisely.
I suppose living in the time of covid is just like living before the time of covid. Its everything. Its new landscape on which to practice being.
Sincere, wholehearted love to all, air hugs and elbow taps. May we all be healthy and safe.