"The trouble is, you think you have time."- Buddha
It was exactly one year ago today that our family went into quarantine because of the pandemic. Friday the 13th, of all days. How appropriate. The way toilet paper and paper towels were flying off the shelves at grocery stores, was to my paper product hoarding self, what horror stories were made of. Kinda and I were set to host our Spring retreat the following day. We had already secured the location, purchased the food and gifts, and had sold tickets to excited guests. Out of an abundance of caution, however, and being highly uneducated about the virus at the time, we were forced to cancel the event because of possible exposure, losing revenue as well as the much anticipated opportunity to provide and receive what is always a nourishing day for mind, body, and spirit. We really could have used that time knowing now what was to come as far as the world's new normal. Just like that, all our plans we had made for ourselves stopped. There would be no more in-person school. Many jobs were transitioned to home or eliminated altogether. No more going to restaurants, movie theaters, malls, vacations. No more getting our hair or nails done. No more massages or going to the gym. All the things we take for granted, gone in a moment's notice.
I was also nine moths pregnant when the pandemic hit. I was lucky to have already taken maternity photos, have a blessing ceremony, and a baby shower. I was also already planning on giving birth at home, so thankfully my birth plans did not change. In fact, since we weren't even able to go anywhere, it made for the most amazing postpartum period. But there were still parts that we missed out on. There were no visitors. We appreciated that people brought gifts and meals that were left at the door, but even family members had to be kept away, still so unsure and fearful of how the virus could possibly be spread, especially where the risk to newborn babies was concerned. Every day we watched the news, and our fear grew in conjunction with the ever-rising loss of life. That year we would experience many losses, large and small, but losses nonetheless. We lost plans we had made. We lost end of year celebrations, birthday parties, and graduations. We lost relationships with friends and family members. We lost the ability to connect like we once had with the relationships who remained. We lost our family dog. Worse yet, we lost a beloved father and grandfather, with hardly any time to prepare. At times, we lost the ability to have hope that the world will ever go back to a place in which we can move freely, unmasked, not crippled by the fear of what more losses will come. I think the whole world is still struggling to find that hope.
"Mostly it is loss which teaches us about the worth of things."- HPLYRIKZ.com
Our family almost made it an entire year without getting COVID-19, but on February 19 of this year, we also lost that battle. Thankfully, we all survived, experiencing symptoms ranging from mild congestion and low-grade fevers to high fevers with cough and extreme flu-like symptoms and fatigue. It still boggles the mind how everyone seems to experience this virus so differently. Except for the loss of smell thing. That tends to be a pretty common symptom, and it was not eluded by me. I remember the night I knew I was starting to lose my smell. I was nursing the baby to put her down for the night and was having a meditation of sorts on how strange it was to not be able to smell my essential oils. That "meditation" turned into a near anxiety attack. In that moment, thoughts came rushing in about how much in our lives we take for granted everyday. It's appalling, really. Unfortunately, the only way we are stopped in our tracks long enough to realize the sheer miracles that are dancing through our lives on a regular basis tends to be when we no longer have them to disregard.
I know without a doubt that if it wasn't for consistent practice of meditation, my anxious feelings that night would have quickly spiraled into panic. But once again, The Four Seeds of Self-Care saved me from thoughts and feelings quickly escalating to my detriment. Instead, I was able to breathe into that space between my thoughts and feelings, to call in the firm belief that I am the Co-Creator of my reality, and to redirect those thoughts and feelings to those of pure gratitude for what I DO have. I was able to silently acknowledge what a gift it is to have the power of smell in the first place, which opened up an even greater awareness of every single thing in my life that I am so very lucky to enjoy. I was able to connect to the shared humanity of this pandemic, and to quietly send love to every human who has been affected by the tiniest to the greatest of losses throughout the year. For who am I to judge the magnitude of a loss? Who am I to decide which loss is worthy of acknowledging? All loss matters because it represents something that was important in the life of another. That deserves attention. That deserves honor. If you are alive, you have made it through one of the most difficult years of your life. You are a survivor. We are survivors. Let us use the gift of our lives to care for ourselves. When we do that, we WILL be the creators of the hope we are struggling so desperately to see.
With love and gratitude,
Kinda and Rachel