When you realize that every stressful moment you experience is a gift that points you to your own freedom, life becomes very kind. – Byron Katie
The Coronavirus, or Covid-19, is having the most unprecedented domino effect on every aspect of our daily and interconnected lives. We are uniting in varying ideas and actions around global care. We all find ourselves in this unfolding ‘reality’ — in this unfolding immediacy, in this spontaneous NOW.
Whether we engage in the waves of hysteria or simply surrender to the reality before us is really our choice. Naturally, we do not have a choice about everything. I did not have a choice about my flights being cancelled this morning or the federal government travel restrictions or the money I have most probably lost. But I do have a choice about how I respond to it all. Whether I reside in complaint or graceful acceptance.
Byron Katie speaks the stern truth for those of us who want to live in the freedom of the Now; to recognise the mechanics of ‘voluntary’ suffering and drama and put a peaceful spanner in those works. I deliberately chose the contentious word ‘voluntary’, as arguably, most of our suffering is just that. Even with ‘imposed’ suffering, the truism that most of our suffering is actually voluntary, can still serve us enormously. We might just have to dig deeper and work harder for our flight to Freedom.
A lover of what is looks forward to everything: life, death, disease, loss, earthquakes, bombs, anything the mind might be tempted to call ‘bad.’ Life will bring us everything we need, to show us what we haven’t undone yet. Nothing outside ourselves can make us suffer. Except for our unquestioned thoughts, every place is paradise. – Byron Katie
Like many of you, I find myself challenged by all sorts of notions and perceptions of my freedom. It’s something that I have never had to think about with regards to travel and borders. I have both Australian and U.K. passports, so for the most part I am one of the lucky ones, I go where I please. But not now. I am curtailed with imposed restrictions. I have to experience the annoyance of being denied the rights I have taken for granted for so long. I notice how this sheds light on otherwise unseen rooms within myself. I enjoy this challenge. I love to explore all my false identities in the pursuit of liberating the truth of who I am: it’s not always easy but it’s always worth it.
Lemons to Lemonade
I have to accept what is — to count my losses and then my blessings.
And that’s what I am using this time to do; to take the lemons and make lemonade. I’m curious how the current paradigm or operating system is being asked to re-calibrate, re-strategize and respond with solution-focused dexterity. World governments are working on the fly, working for national and global wellbeing. There seems an aliveness, a waking up, a call to action, and a lot of it motivated by Love. The internet is abuzz with the best of humanity, the rise of unified dignity and care. Humans excel in crisis – when a single purpose is collectively embraced, humans are spectacular, creative and resourceful.
I am using my imposed/cancelled travel plans as a time for self-reflection and recalibration. I am meditating on and contemplating all sorts of assumptions and ‘givens’ in my life. I am sharing them with you below; some are light and playful and some have genuinely made me rethink who I truly am and what truly matters.
Fear has only two causes: the thought of losing what you have or the thought of not getting what you want. – Byron Katie
The pandemic is really shaking my brain from left to right and asking me to think about what is truly important. My value systems are being upgraded. I am asked to think about all that I take for granted. This can truly amplify my gratitude. I just assume there will always be food, toilet rolls, and medicine for me, thanks to all the invisible systems and worker bees. I am taking a moment now to thank the whole supply chain for giving me everything I need. And of course, I land right back to Mother Earth – Thank You.
I’m experiencing this strange paradox where I feel the Earth quieten. Even in all the seemingly accelerated uncertainty. Time to let the Earth breathe and just take some space – we can all join in. I am practising breathing into all the space created by less travel, less rushing, less action. It feels good to flow with acceptance and surrender. Some people have doomsday-shopped and have hoarded a lot of food, medicines and toilet paper. So, my usual choices and options aren’t available. Maybe it’s time to fast or cut down on overeating (that should cut down on the need for toilet rolls too!) Seriously, this is a great time to look at my consumption and the noise I contribute.
I am writing creative lists of what I can do if I am home a lot more in the coming weeks or months. I am looking around my home, my garden, my little world: I might plant some food in my garden; connect with a neighbour via letters or notes under their doors; take the time to think about how much more neighbourly I could be without overriding my boundaries and personal needs. I’m surprised at the resources that are surfacing for me to share.
I am actually looking forward to spending more time with my family, the children around me and my pets. I imagine at some stage we will all be in pockets of isolation. It’s a perfect opportunity to reach for quality connections. I’m already having interesting and refreshing conversations about what’s happening right now and sharing what helps soothe my anxiety and learning what my loved ones need too. I pulled out the deck of playing cards and the dusty board games … I’ve wanted to do this for so long. It felt like some nostalgic connection circuit was fired up. I thought of my late Nana and Grandad. So much laughter and connection before the screen time domination snuck up on us.
Meditation and stillness are still soothing and necessary practices for my daily life. But now I am focusing more on infusing the unified field with Love, Trust, and Tranquility. I am just being quiet and asking nothing from Existence, but rather asking what I can contribute. This feels so satisfying and participatory. I feel like there is an expansion in my whole perception of my life and purpose. And at the same time, I am reacquainting myself with dusty old parts of me while exploring the difference between feeling alone and the contented state of aloneness. I am making friends with my aloneness and remembering who I am beneath the noise of habit and responsibility. I feel echoes of myself resurfacing, carrying forgotten or lost dreams and passions, hopes and aspirations.
Even with social distancing I can still get outdoors and into nature. So far, there are no quarantine restrictions where I live. So I am making sure I am in nature at least once a day. It’s a great panacea for stress and futile worry. I have a favourite tree and I have learned so much about myself from her silence and unwavering presence. I know that nature also boosts my immune system – I’m drinking in the nourishing pulse of her life-force. I have taken the time to explore new walks in the forest, different beach tracks and really paying attention to the array of flora and fauna. Slowing down, resting and taking it all in at a gentler speed feels natural and healing.
I had no idea that in choosing Love and Contemplation during this pandemic that I’d feel so much more authentic connection — deep exhale of gratitude.
These are just a few of my contemplations. Do you have any to share? What could you do to make this unprecedented situation a time for community sharing and spiritual growth? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.
Let’s shine together while caring for one another.