“Why are you posting jokes during this virus? Do you have no compassion?!”
“You are overreacting – this is just the flu!”
“I’m reporting people who aren’t following the rules.”
We are coming across any number of different reactions to this virus.
Not one of them is wrong; whatever you’re feeling at this moment is just fine.
Depending on your particular circumstances and situations in your life, your emotions may run the gamut.
Maybe you are enraged, frustrated, exhausted, neutral, despondent, confused, energized, annoyed with your family, scared or feel profound sadness.
Maybe you will feel all of that in one day. And all of that is okay and correct.
The only incorrect thing you can do is to avoid your feelings completely – because when you can name it, you can change it.
I think one thing that many of us are feeling that goes unrecognized is grief.
I know I felt it.
At the beginning of all this, a few days into isolation, I found myself in tears and I didn’t know why.
So I started with what I knew it wasn’t.
It wasn’t because the isolation bothered me. By design, I’ve set my life up so that it is pretty quiet on a day-to-day basis.
I wasn’t feeling a sense of fear over this virus because I do believe that everything will be fine.
And it wasn’t the multitude of emotions that I would be feeling from the collective a few weeks down the road.
This was different. It was mine. It was personal. I felt it in my bones. It was an intense sadness and sense of loss.
I was feeling it because I deeply knew that life as we knew it was over.
Moving forward, things will be different similar to when 9-11 happened. It’s a turning point for humanity.
The sadness was about grieving all the wonderful things from that old life. Not that they are necessarily gone but it was the moment of uncertainty about whether or not they would exist down the road.
It’s similar to the loss of a loved one when you grieve the loss of times that will never come again. In this case, the uncertainty about what comes next is creating that grief.
The world hit a pause button overnight. So we didn’t have time to ease into it, look ahead and consider what the new reality might be. We don’t yet know what it will be. There was no white space, no in-between because it happened so fast.
And that is the loss; the sense of freedom over our own choices. Having it taken away, even if only temporary, undermines our confidence that we are safe. We get a sense of security when we control our routines and plan our day. And so we grieve that loss of control.
For me, the feeling of “death” hung in the air, both literally and figuratively.
Was the virus going to touch me and, if so, how? Would it miss me and my loved ones entirely?
What would the death toll be, in my country and in others?
How will our future civil liberties be affected due to this? Will it be a temporary or a permanent loss?
We are grieving the events and parties and celebrations we have been planning for so long.
The missed vacations, holidays with loved ones, baby showers, weddings.
We are grieving the loss of income and potential financial hardships that may, actually, never come to pass.
And yes, for some, we are grieving physical deaths of people we know and love.
And so the grief washed over me for a day.
But death is as much about a transformation of the spiritual self as it is a death of the physical self.
I don’t know about you but I sense something larger at play here. And I have supreme faith in the fact that this is working for our benefit even if right now we cannot see it.
So what released me from the stranglehold that grief had on me? Gratitude.
The pause button placed upon the world right now created a fork in the road and it was time to decide how I was going to move through the days of this virus and beyond.
This standstill gave me the space to notice what is still going right and how blessed I am with all I have compared to some others in the world.
I could go down the road of love or the road of fear. That is the choices facing all of us. It has to be one or the other; those two competing energies cannot exist simultaneously.
I chose love. Just as always do. And just like that, the grief dissipated.
Now that doesn’t mean that all of the difficult emotions have gone away. They come back, almost daily. But you learn how to manage and release them as you go. And they are easier without the grief attached to it.
Life will go on after this passes. And yes, it will be different.
This is a decision point for humanity and how we collectively move forward determines what kind of new earth we will be living in.
Choose wisely, friends.
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