For days I’ve been noticing my slowing down.
Letting things fall through, letting them spill as they may, and prioritizing my wellbeing. Honoring the impermanence of life. Reckoning with the possibility of people close to me dying due to this virus. And many more getting sick in the coming year.
If you’ve been reading about climate change then in one form or another you’ve been exposed to the approaching collapse of our system as we know it; whether due to our bravery or due to our denial remains to be seen. But a huge unraveling must occur because our planet simply can’t sustain the human life we have designed so far.
As covid-19 spreads and everything comes to a halt I hear the words “this is just a drill,” whispering in the background.
We have known a radical turning must occur if we are to ensure future life on earth. Enter a tiny virus which “coincidentally” shows us that stopping, slowing down, and changing is necessary to preserve human life. And yet, we resist this change.
Last week my inbox became an email avalanche of VIRTUAL EVERYTHING (with some notable exceptions). I noticed my first reaction was to maintain some sort of normal. For plans to keep going. But then I let go.
After each passing day these questions blossomed;
What are we keeping at bay in the business and busyness of life?
Why are we scrambling to move everything online, remote, or virtual as fast as possible?
Also, is it me or did it get noisier? And why must we keep the noise anyway… staying busy, moving?
Are we running away from something?
Are we afraid of embracing the pause? The stillness?
The company of our own selves?
What if we have created a busy life and busy world because we’re all just running away from something, just fast enough to stay barely ahead?
And if so, what if we pause?
What if we stop?
What if we turn around and look at the thing chasing after us?
I remember the first time I stopped running.
Like a champ I had been achieving. Winning. Building. Getting sh*t done. SUCCEEDING.
And one day my therapist asked me: “what are you running away from?”
Her question stumped me. I stopped.
I could suddenly feel the monster breathing down my neck, and could almost see it, mouth open wide, fangs and nails...
I turned around.
The monster was there.
And for the first time I had a choice - I could choose to surrender.
And I did.
I surrendered to the crushing truth my fears were revealing to me about myself, my ambition, my drive to keep moving.
The monster I had been running away from through my entire life actually was trying to tell me something.
And on the other side was beauty, was possibility, was love.
So now I wonder, what if this forced pause is an opportunity for all of us?
What if we surrender and look at the monster in the eye?
Ask ‘what do you have to teach me now?’
Or better yet, what if we surrender further and lay our heads in the monster’s mouth and say ‘go ahead, eat me’? (Just like the cave story of Milarepa, the Tibetan saint.)
Maybe, just maybe, those monsters have a lot to teach us.
And the Earth is maybe, just maybe, preparing us for a reason.
Asking us to stop so we may notice that which we have built an entire life, an entire world and reality, desperate to avoid; that big hairy monster called Fear.
We can choose to surrender to it.
We can go beyond it.
I’m still here.
I’m still doing it.
Learning new ways of surrendering to the unknown that scares me so much. Letting it awaken in me compassion, forgiveness, kindness, love. Trusting the light beyond the deep darkness.
May we let this time bring forth our greatest light to balance our shadow.
May these times of great suffering for many not need to return to teach us the lesson again.
Sending you love, peace and fortitude to face (y)our monsters.