Every time I check the news, this COVID-19/coronavirus scare gets a little worse. It has already impacted so many lives, in China and beyond. Even if you don’t know someone who has immediate family infected by the virus, you’re likely affected somehow. Grounded travel, panic buying, mask hoarding, closed borders, stock market crashes… even if you’re not directly affected, you’re somehow directly affected.
I read yesterday that the supply chain disruption and panic will likely kill more people through limited access to medication, clean food, and sanitation than will die from infection by coronavirus.
Even if that isn’t true and this virus is as dire as they say, do we really want to go out of this world in fear?
As I contemplated this, I sat outside listening to the quail and mourning doves and the wind in the trees. The ice cream truck was coming by and children were hollering in the streets on scooters and bikes. Despite all of the fear, nature continues on and our children are able to stay clear on being joyful. They seem to have their values aligned.
I wondered… can we still keep our humanity in the midst of all of this?
No matter who you are, you are feeling it
Right now, we’re immersed in some big changes. To be clear, we’re always going through some level of change. All we are is change, the only constant is change. We don’t live in a static world.
But right now, it’s a little amped up. A little raw.
We’re picking fights with each other over semantics. We’re calling each other names. We’re so darn RIGHT and they’re so WRONG. We’re less forgiving and much more angry.
We’re freaking out. We’re causing disruptions because someone is coughing or sneezing on a plane. We’re freaking out that people are on planes at all.
Who is the enemy here?
They say when we’re feeling stress, our ability to comprehend information goes down. Moreover, our ability to PERCEIVE data that we normally would, goes down as well. For example, we’re in an accident and someone asks, “How fast were you going, or what was the make of the car that cut you off,” and more often than not, we just cannot remember important factual details. Our brain just cannot go there.
Under stress, our patience is lessened. We’re less likely to put up with things that were just fine a month ago. Our boundaries and borders go up higher and we find ourselves in more conflict.
And we start feeling even more stress and we spiral into a dark place.
Our fears get the best of us.
Who are YOU?
We are at a crossroads of a great change, and with all change comes great opportunity. In that opportunity, however, we have to decide who we really are. Are you going to live at the whim of fear?
Or are you going to anchor into the larger part of who you really are and ride this wave in a place of truth? Because when you get right down to it, you are more than you think you are. And when you expand into that, you’re even more than that.
We’re all on this path of greater self discovery and self actualization. And yes, even this virus is another stepping stone on that path. But you have to take those steps.
What do you value?
As our emotions and fears become very raw, we have opportunities to look at whatever it is that we truly value. Do we value being RIGHT? Do we value being seen in a certain way? Do we value kindness? Do we value love? Do we value getting things done efficiently?
And in that, we get to decide where our security really lies.
There are certain things that can never be taken from you. Our stuff, our money, our crap, even some friendships and relationships can disappear. But there are some things that can never be taken.
If you place your value in the right place, no one can take your more precious possessions from you.
I believe in humanity’s ability to overcome whatever gets thrown at us. Someone recently called me naive. Sure, I’ll own that, but I also don’t think it’s naïveté to have faith in humanity. I think that a belief in the basic common good is, at times, all we’ve got. So, despite the fear, I still see through you. I see who you really are. And I know you are more than this.
I believe in you, maybe more than you believe in yourself. I might not want to discuss your beliefs in the fact that the world is on the precipice of calamity, but I still believe in you.
My hope is that we start to find that inner peace and security and that will loosen up the stress reins for a while. We’ll start to smile at each other more instead of fighting over the last roll of toilet paper. We’ll start to say “after you” in line at Costco instead of going to war over it.
In the end, only kindness matters. Kindness to yourself, kindness to others. And staying calm in the eye of the storm and being centered in the knowledge of who we really are is going bring that kindness forth to make this a lot easier.
This challenge is not going to last forever. It will end, the fear will dissipate. And life will return to a new normal. Who will you be then? And who will you be during the journey of getting there?
Let there be space in the midst of your response to this stimulus, and find your security where it always has been.