Now and again, I reflect on something I wrote as the pandemic had just been declared. Around that time, I remember looking at the Johns Hopkins map and seeing a blank United States as some of the first red dots were landing in the state of Washington near my sister's home. It was an eerie feeling to know the map would soon expand into a full-on spread to red. I also remember, not long before, being at dance and wondering who, like me, knew that life as we knew it would soon change— dramatically.
Below is what I wrote and posted on social media in early March of 2020:
Observations in looking at this descending pandemic...
Compelling. The scientific piece of me is in a heightened state of observation. The humanitarian in me is feeling empathetic compassion. The sociologist in me is watching.
My Ashland community is beginning to batten down. Many of my beloved friends are skipping dance and questioning community contact. Social media is in a heightened state of collaboration to troubleshoot ongoing connection. The Ashland school district is shutting down for now. The Oregon Shakespeare Festival has canceled coming events.
My sister’s world, in ground zero of the U.S. outbreak, is in the thick of it. Her school and surrounding schools are closing for six weeks. Her students, impacted by something I never saw as a child.
And yet, as I look around my home I am surrounded by peace and quiet. A sanctuary. With a kitty who brings me paper balls to play fetch. And my home; a play land of solitary activities... And the beauty of nature which vibrates ever-present outside of my windows. The birds do not know. My kitty looks to me with trusting eyes just the same.
In a familiar essence of going off to war. Or setting out to sea. We are each embarking on unknown journeys. Our loved ones ever-fixed on our heart. Will this be smooth sailing? Will this be tumultuous seas? Will there be fallen comrades? Will the battlefields be empty, leaving time for campfires, conversation, and playing cards?
Fascinating and compelling.
And the glue to it all, I see, is the invisible connection that ties us all together. Our humanity. Under the varying philosophies of how this will play out. We will learn from one another as conversation is ignited. And paradigms will be observed. And reality will inevitably become history.
And nature still stands in glorious dominion. Our pets still look to us with the same adoring innocence.
Vulnerably, I share that much of the world does not know that I have asthma. Until now, I’ve not been brave enough to share that I had a dream before this pandemic news began to spread. I was in a building where all of the walls were crumbling to my certain death. As I plummeted, I thought of my kitty Louie who would greet me. And I thought of my kitty, Sunshine, and her welfare. Perhaps the only conclusion to this dream is that society is facing a structural predicament.
And yet, how to approach today in what may be a tiny blip in history‘s big picture? For me: -With gratitude for what is good -With appreciation for what I love -With reverence in the beauty that surrounds -With compassion and empathy to each on their journey and in their perspectives -With joy in any small opportunity -With awareness and sensitivity to all of our childrens’ needs -With living fully in the presence of each moment -With dance, even if in my own living room... with Sunshine on my shoulder
I suppose I write this now in a reflective spirit of being witness to the journey up to today. In retrospect to my words written at the very start of the pandemic, the following were certainly true:
Compelling, indeed— from a humanitarian-like, scientific-like, and sociologist-like perspective.
Yes, I never saw anything like this as a child— I certainly feel for today's children, families, our teachers, and the wellness of our educational system.
In a sense, for me, it was a bit like proverbially going off to war— we did, indeed, set sail on personal and profound journeys. And experience great change. Inclusive of significant losses.
There were, for sure, some lovely campfires, conversations, and "playing cards."
Varying philosophies and paradigms...? Ya think...? (OMG)
To me, the statement I'd writen at the time that most gives me chill's was, "Perhaps the only conclusion to this dream is that society is facing a structural predicament." Yes...?
And though my "certain death" was not literal to date, I can attest to almost everything in my life crumbling as I knew it— job, community, friendships, relationships, more, and layers upon layers. I faced a number of unfathomable safety situations too (inclusive of running for my life to name one). Multiple intimate deaths, as well.
And then, at some point, I seemed to hit ground zero. My structural world as I knew it had indeed crumbled. When all became quiet. When resistance, literally, felt futile. And I finally seemed to stop asking, "What's left?"
Which brings me back to what I wrote at the end of my somewhat predictive commentary at the start of the pandemic— the birds continued to sing, nature still stood in beautiful dominion outside my door, my kitty still loved me with adoring eyes.
Though layers of processing change and loss sometimes eclipsed my sight— ever eternal the following is still true as written above:
"And yet, how to approach today in what may be a tiny blip in history‘s big picture? For me: -With gratitude for what is good -With appreciation for what I love -With reverence in the beauty that surrounds -With compassion and empathy to each on their journey and in their perspectives -With joy in any small opportunity -With awareness and sensitivity to all of our childrens’ needs -With living fully in the presence of each moment -With dance, even if in my own living room... with Sunshine on my shoulder."
These days I often tell myself, "Though structural walls did indeed crumble, I trust that I am stronger and more resilient now— with the capacity to rebuild from the ground up." If even in the limbo of the unknown. To trust, submit, and lean into the life-giving breath of each moment.
I validate each of your paths, journeys, and experiences— with compassion, empathy, and humble appreciation.
More on intuition, self-care, healing, grief and loss here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08ZB9MSWX/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i0
Much love all. Live well, love life!