I’ve had several friends and acquaintances ask me to explain what’s going on from an energetic/spiritual/God perspective. Let me first say that I am not alone in what I am about to share. This morning I listened to an online sermon by the rector of the church I sometimes attend, and he reiterated the truth underlying the pandemic: that when this is all over, what’s Real (capital “R”) will still be true. Friendships, Joy, Hope – everything that is assured will last through crisis. This is true.
There was also a message from some tribal elders (the Council of 13 Indigenous Grandmothers) that spoke of the changing times and the shift from yang energy (outward focused) to yin energy (inward focused), and how we all have the ability and knowledge within us already – we only need call on it (full quote is at the end of this essay).
The simple truth is this: the times are changing, and we need to allow them to change. It’s time. We actually don’t have control over whether they change or not – we only control whether we choose to flow with the shift, or try to fight it. If you choose the latter, this will be a time of great fear and struggle. If you choose the former, this will be a time of reinvention and remembering – a time to return to your inner-most self and emerge from that place, standing tall in your centered being.
What does this actually mean in a practical applicable sense? It means that it’s time for you to ask yourself some important questions:
What are my priorities in this life?
How much is enough?
What do I need to feel stable and secure?
What do I need to change?
What do I want to change?
How can I create change?
Of course, Mary Oliver asked these questions more elegantly when she said, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
The answer, of course, will be different for each of us – and that doesn’t matter. What matters is the energy (or intent) behind the answer. If the energy is one of fear, panic, desperation, or lack – no answer will suffice or is sustainable. It will require a lot of effort to create. If the answer is grounded in peace, hope, knowing, and love – every answer is correct.
A couple of years ago, I answered the question “How much is enough?” – and I received great clarity in my life. Now, there is a caveat to add to this question. If you live in a country like I do (the USA), and you experience health insecurity (meaning: your healthcare is not guaranteed), this can be a difficult question to answer, because you can’t plan for the unforeseen. If you were to get sick at age 60, and find yourself facing bankruptcy and the loss of your home as a result, then “enough” is very different than if your healthcare were guaranteed and you couldn’t lose your home as a result of illness. So, in order to answer the question more clearly, I chose to answer from a place of health security – even though I live in America – because I have hope that it someday will be guaranteed.
So, how much is enough? For me, the abstract answer was: enough to meet my “needs,” and some extra to save for an unexpected occurrence and to enjoy my “wants.” At the moment, this is not a large number, and I don’t expect it to change much over the course of my life. I suspect that for most people,this is not a huge number, as well. But we don’t live like that. We live in a constant fear cycle of earn more/have more/take more. Why? Because we’ve been trained to do so.
Yes, that’s what I’ve said. We’ve all been indoctrinated into the society of “He-Who-Dies-With-The-Most-Toys-Wins.” And yet, this global pandemic is causing many of us to reevaluate that membership. Do we really want to live a life where we never have “enough?” A life where we are constantly striving for more, often to our detriment? I think we would all say, “no.”
This time of isolation and social distancing is important because it is prompting many of us (not all, that would be unrealistic) to pause, take stock, and look squarely in the mirror and ask: What matters?
At the end of the day, as the rector said this morning, what matters is what will always be true, no matter how much you have or don’t have. What matters is the connection you have with one another. What matters is the satisfaction you feel at the end of the day as you look around and feel proud of what you have built, whether that’s in a 1-bedroom apartment or a 5-bedroom house. What matters is how you choose to answer the first question, stated another way as: “What really (really) matters to me?”
So, to answer the question of what’s really going on with this virus, I can explain it this way:
There are two ways to look at the virus – and you get to choose which one you want to focus on every day you wake up. Both are true.
1. The virus is most likely the result of the actions of humans – whether it’s from eating wildlife or from a lab experiment gone wrong. It’s time to fear, obey, and hide until it passes over us. Much like the plagues of the past, you can run and hide, and then pray for life to return to “normal” – meaning, as it was before the virus took hold. You can choose to live your life asleep to the world around you, following the script that was given you, and that’s 100% ok. There’s no judgment here. If that’s where you are comfortable – that’s your choice.
2. The virus is most likely the result of the actions of humans – whether it’s from eating wildlife or from a lab experiment gone wrong. It’s time to take this opportunity of a slower pace of life to re-assess and evaluate everything around you. To answer the question: How do I want to live my life? You can socially distance and isolate, because it’s the responsible thing to do, and when this passes over, you can emerge from your home changed, for the better. With a clear understanding of your priorities, and a desire to make some changes that are in alignment with your new understanding, albeit with a less-clear understanding of how you’re going to implement those changes. You can create a new normal that is more balanced.
Do you see what I did there? Both of these scenarios are true, because the virus simply "is." The difference lies in how you choose to respond. The former is aligned with the paradigm of the past, the one we are shedding and leaving behind, and the latter is aligned with the paradigm of the future, the one we are building and ushering in. The shift will happen regardless of which way you align, as I said earlier. Your choice – as it always is – is how you choose to show up. If the 2nd way feels uncomfortable and makes you feel insecure, that’s ok. You have it deep within you (we all do) to call forth that understanding, and there are many people who will be able to help you do this.
This is a time of change. This global pandemic can be blamed on humans, but not just because of a virus that is running freely through society. It’s because we hit the critical point when the scales tipped too far and the pimple needed to pop. The pimple had been growing for centuries, long before the virus came along to pop it. Our misuse of resources, our loss of community, our enslavement of fellow human beings, our decimation of nature, our loss of faith in something greater than whatever we can hold in our hand, and, frankly, our focus on power through money and position. (As an example, no politician was ever meant to be able to make it a career choice. Think of that for a minute.)
All of these things have added up to imbalance, and now it is correcting itself. The proverbial pendulum has crested and is starting its swing back. Will it happen overnight? No. But will it happen? Yes. How fast? That depends. It depends on how many people choose to fight or flow.
So, what can you do? Well, if you choose to fight and hide, then you already know what to do: do what you’ve always done, so you can (probably) get what you’ve always gotten… including pandemics, by the way. If you choose to flow, then here are some things to help support you in this time of stress and also some things to carry you forward into the new paradigm:
1. If your limbic system is overwhelmed (aka: fight-flight-freeze), it’s incredibly important to re-engage your frontal lobe. You can do this by focusing on anything – literally anything – tangible. For example: I used to count things. Tiles, bricks, blinds – anything with a repetitive pattern was something I could count. And because I liked math, I would then start playing with numbers and counting rows and columns and multiplying. This would instantly bring my cognitive brain back online, and take me out of overwhelm. If you prefer to work with your hands, any activity can help – such as: cleaning, organizing, gardening, building Legos, or even coloring. The key is to take your body out of its heightened state, so that it can rest. Yes, it can rest, even while you’re doing something else – that’s the point.
2. If you’re feeling anxiety or fear, it’s important that you “normalize” your emotions. You can do this by reaching out to others and learning that they, too, are feeling what you’re feeling. It’s like the old saying “misery loves company,” but better, because it’s not about being miserable, it’s about being connected. We are a tribal, pack-oriented species. We need, at a very core level, to connect. Without connection, we can go awry. Feeling less alone, or less like an anomaly, is mitigated by connecting with others. It doesn’t even have to be connecting over your fear or anxiety – it can be connecting over similar interests. Connection is key to dealing with anxiety and fear.
3. To carry you forward into what may feel like the unknown, you will feel better if you know yourself. Part of the disconnect and imbalance in our world is directly related to the imbalance we have within ourselves. When we don’t know who we are – truly know who we are – we are showing up as what we think we’re supposed to be or what we think others want us to be. This is a time of inward work. The best place to start is to think of yourself at age 5. Who were you then? Write down the adjectives you would use to describe yourself at that age. Chances are, they are aligned with your truest internal self. More often than not, I’ve heard the words: free, creative, playful, curious, and happy when I’ve done this exercise with clients. This is where you start. If one of your adjectives is creative, ask yourself where in your life you engage in creativity. Creativity does not mean “art,” by the way. It means creativity. It can show up in myriad ways. An engineer can find creative solutions to a problem. A clerk can create a new filing system. Creativity means: to be aligned with the energy of creating something.
4. To know the “unknown” that is coming, you can learn and remember. Learning involves reading or listening to people who know something about this: the tribal elders I have quoted at the bottom of this essay, or vetted spiritual teachers. (I say “vetted” because, as in any industry, there are some that aren’t necessarily offering the best information. Unfortunately.) Remembering involves something different. Remembering requires you to do two things: actively invite your cognitive self to step aside, while your inner self comes forward into more balance. This is most easily done through slowing down and meditation. And meditation is not about sitting still for 30 minutes chanting, though it can be. Sipping your morning coffee can be meditation. Watching a bird at your feeder can be a meditation. Slowing down enough to allow for your ego – or cognitive – self to sit down for a bit, allowing your conscious self to rise. I often ask clients to imagine asking their ego self to sit in the passenger seat while they take the driver’s seat. You don’t kick the ego out (never do that), you ask them to share the load.
This time of global pandemic will surely bring with it a waterfall of emotions. These can range from the extreme to the mundane – and it’s all okay. There is no one way to feel when times are uncertain. What matters is that you allow yourself to feel whatever comes up as you engage with life in a new way.
You will also stumble and fall, trip over your decisions and words, and possibly feel like a failure at times. That’s okay, too. You’re human – we all are. That’s part of the process of learning. When a child learns to walk, they don’t stand up and start walking, never to fall down again. They stand, fall, stand again. Step, fall, stand, and step forward again.
That is what’s being asked of you now. You are being asked to stand, fall, and stand again. To step forward, even though it feels wobbly, and allow yourself to fall a few times before you get the hang of it. The future is not divisive (male vs. female), nor is it exclusive (you can’t come along if you don’t get it or accept it). That’s not what the Aquarian Age is about. The Aquarian Age is about ushering in a life-giving (remember Aquarius pours water – the source of life), balanced state. It’s about returning to a wisdom inherent in all of nature, that we hold within ourselves. If humans were gone tomorrow, nature would continue, in balance. It always has, and it always will. We are part of nature, and when we remember that, we will focus on restoring balance – within ourselves, within our communities, and within our world.
I hope these words have helped in some way. Of course, it’s always about choice. How you choose to show up for yourself today is the only choice you need make. Tomorrow you will get to choose again. In fact, you get to choose in every minute of every day. That’s the beautiful thing about all this – we’re never locked in to one way of being or one way of thinking. No matter how we were raised, taught, or told to be – we always get to choose. True power lies in remembering that simple fact and then acting on it.
May you stay healthy, and may you find peace in the midst of this global opportunity for change.
From the Council of 13 Indigenous Grandmothers:
“As you move through these changing times… be easy on yourself and be easy on one another. You are at the beginning of something new. You are learning a new way of being. You will find that you are working less in the yang modes that you are used to.
You will stop working so hard at getting from point A to point B the way you have in the past, but instead, will spend more time experiencing yourself in the whole, and your place in it.
Instead of traveling to a goal out there, you will voyage deeper into yourself. Your mother’s grandmother knew how to do this. Your ancestors from long ago knew how to do this. They knew the power of the feminine principle… and because you carry their DNA in your body, this wisdom and this way of being is within you.
Call on it. Call it up. Invite your ancestors in. As the yang based habits and the decaying institutions on our planet begin to crumble, look up. A breeze is stirring. Feel the sun on your wings.”