This past week, I noticed a ticker-tape of to-do projects running through my head as I walked around the house during the day. Go through the bedroom closet and look for clothes to donate; empty the trunk in the basement filled with letters and photos from the past twenty years; prepare revised plans for the fall retreat; wash the kitchen floor; and the bathroom; and the hallway.
The list continued to grow as my eyes noticed every little thing that needed to be done around the house.
This morning, I woke up to the realization that while yes, there’s plenty to be done in the outer world, my inner world is the top priority right now. I need to rest more than I think I should. Blows to the emotional immune system take physical energy and we’ve all been knocked down. Not to mention the collective anxiety and fear that has infected each of us whether we realize it or not. After all, a virus that escaped a village in China has affected the world. It gives new, concrete meaning to “we are all connected.”
This realization helps to explain why some of the anxiety you feel isn’t yours. It belongs to the greater whole and it needs to be tended to with gentleness and care.
These days I’m doing my best to process the huge life changes that have and will occur. I’m sleeping more and not judging myself for it. I’ve finally developed the daily meditation practice I’ve talked about adopting for years. I’m writing down my dreams and marveling at the way the unconscious works to integrate a shifting emotional and psychic landscape. And I’m staying in conversation with those who share my views on the transformative power of this time.
Speaking of transformation. Joseph Campbell, in his PBS documentary, The Power of Myth, talked about how the evolution of humanity is caused by the transformation of consciousness – a process that involves trials and revelations – the Hero’s Journey. I choose to view this pandemic as an invitation to embark on this adventure, a journey of destruction and creation that requires us to make a relationship with uncertainty as a path to self-realization.
By entering into the mystery of the unknown with open eyes and curious hearts, we have a profound opportunity to get to know ourselves on a deeper, more spiritual level – a level of awareness that helps puts the Soul in charge of our lives (both as individuals and a collective) when we arrive at the other side of this.
To make this immersion into the Mystery worthwhile, I keep asking myself…
Who am I at this time in my life?
What do I value?
What have I lost?
What am I gaining?
What can I no longer tolerate?
What am I most afraid of? Why?
What promises have I broken to myself that need to be kept?
What do I need to heal and feel whole?
What new gifts or strengths do I have to offer the world?
The answers to these questions create greater self-awareness that forms the foundation of powerful, positive changes in our lives. Please feel free to consider them yourself while out for a walk, when writing in your journal, or while lying in bed when you wake up or prepare to sleep. As hard as this time is for so many, let’s use the suffering to our advantage.
The Soul needs your attention. The kitchen floor will wait.