Quarantine Day 984. Or is it? No one knows.
A friend sent a video this morning to our group text. “My sister sent this of my nephew. I feel this way only opposite,” she said.
It’s a video of a toddler outside, donned in a coat and hat, cry-screaming, “I want to go insiiiiiide!” My friend’s sister says, “Then go inside.” Boy child responds, “I want you to go inside WITH me!”
So this is how it is: sure, we can go outside (and stand in our front yards, to walk from the car to the grocery store and back again, since that’s pretty much the extent of most of our lives these days), but we don’t want to do it alone. Generally, I am very happily introverted by nature, yet I have never wanted more to be surrounded by other humans. As close as possible, please.
I already have a list of things I can’t wait to do when quarantine is over in 12 years: outdoor seating at a restaurant, asking for more bread that the waiter brings with bare hands (no gloves in sight), a stranger bumping into my chair because he got too close when trying to squeeze into his own crowded table (probably a birthday party, everyone sitting way fewer than 6 feet apart).
Paying $5.00 for a latte several times a week. Shopping for socks for no reason, or for a new lipstick to wear on the weekend to see live music — oh my god, LIVE MUSIC.
I can’t wait to stand body-to-body with strangers in an overheated room to hear the reverberation of guitar strings and drums, with a whiskey in my hand and someone to dance with.
Now is a wordless place, it seems.
We’re all feeling things we’ve never felt before, and feeling them in spades. How do we talk about something while we’re still in it? How do we even begin to re-stabilize while the stability we need (a reliable source of income, predictability of some kind, connection to other humans) feels like a luxury for so many people?
Human connection has never felt like a more necessary currency. The need to find a home within ourselves, and safety within an ever-changing present moment, has never revealed itself to be the deep work of literally the whole world.
As a healer / practitioner, part of me is thrilled that we now can’t help but face the pandemic of over-stimulation and chronic avoidance our society seems to be predicated upon. I’ve donned my white hat and am ready to get to work.
Also? This has always been the work, and that’s only been made more clear to me by the fact that we’re a month into global lock-down, and my work with clients has not changed at all.
People are still people. Life presents ever-changing phenomenon that arises and challenges, arises and challenges, arises and challenges — and we are the bodies, the hearts, the minds that interact with that phenomenon, create with it, and face an ever-present choice: Will I stay or will I go?
Who was it that said, “Wherever you go, there you are”? If this quarantine has a theme, that’s it.
Not surprisingly, Life’s theme seems to be the same: Either we expand by engaging and choosing to be in right relationship with the present moment — by staying present, interested, curious and compassionate — or we put it off for another time.
Nothing difficult (literally nothing) is ever resolved by avoiding it. It’s true we’re within our right to say, “I don’t choose to face this difficult thing in this way, or with this person,” but it’s futile to assume that if we change the scenery or shut down, the difficult thing will resolve itself.
The themes and patterns that are arising are ours. They belong to us. These are the gifts of our most Essential Selves, and the lives our souls bring us here to live through. Our bodies house this Essence, and the experiences and people that love us into being, one way or another (whether love was truly present or not) become part of this never ending call-to-action: Will I stay or will I go?
I trust this because I’ve seen and experienced that when we open further, deeper, wider than we think we can or should — open into the pain, get all the way into our bodies and discover the holy tools we need to worship these bodies and trust ourselves with absolute abandon — we brush up against our divinity.
It envelopes us. We are held. Not by some cheap product of the Woo-Woo Factory — but by the real, trustable Essence that animates every instinct we have to love or create.
So how do we cope with a global pandemic at the personal level? The same way we cope with an average fucked-up Tuesday: by paying attention, by listening, by learning new ways to come home to ourselves, our bodies, and the people we love. By being kind stewards of these bodies and the feelings they house. By allowing what shows up to show up, by trusting that if it’s here, it needs you, and it’s time to feel it.
Someday, this will be over. Something new will emerge, as it always does. Tiny devastations, or big ones. Joys, celebrations, tears dense with grief or ecstasy. And inside each new thing, there is an opening. Our journey, when we’re ready, is to find that opening, and merge with it, so that we, too, can open.