This moment contains the Agony of not knowing what tomorrow will bring, And the certainty that it will be the same. It contains the fear of the dangers of the virus And the knowledge that some have privilege to protect themselves It has within it the gift of slowing down, for some, for myself, And reverence for the teachers It contains the struggle of being an ineffective substitute. This moment contains my rage at those who say abandon your elders, my disgust for CEOs who sacrifice their frontlines for profits. It contains tender gratitude for our never-heroes: Garbage and sanitation, postal workers, grocery store employees. This moment contains my breath and heart beat, It contains my compulsive eating and elusive sleep This moment contains healing for Mother Earth, Cleansing her air and waterways. It contains grief for the comforts we are leaving behind, And terror that we will design the same tomorrow. It is a birth, as well as a death. It is the flowering of seeds planted long ago. The flower is opening, Infinite beauty contained In one unfurling petal. It contains thorns, too, and a sweet, sweet scent. It is a birth, and a death. i will not design the same tomorrow. i will hold the scent and the thorns.
Like most people, the activities of daily life have been completely altered by the arrival of #COVID-19. At times, it feels turbulent, as if I’m inside of a bowling ball, hurtling towards an unknown destination. My mindfulness practice has helped me recognize the moments when I am feeling out of control, overwhelmed, anxious, and also those moments of connection, joy, and stillness.
Through my reflection and meditation, I am discovering an awareness of certain dualities in my daily life. While I cannot claim to have done extensive learning on this concept, what I understand is that there are opposite or contrary ideas that actually coexist in nature. This concept is often represented by the #Yin-Yang symbol from ancient Chinese culture, with Yin representing the receptive, female, dark and Yang representing the active, male, light. These opposing forces not only co-exist, but live in complement and can transform into each other. Over the past few weeks, I have felt a strong recognition that certain prevailing beliefs are now being met with an opposite belief, and somehow coexisting in this moment. I’m curious to hear if anyone else has noticed anything like this?
The first set of opposites relates to the cultural belief about #self-care. Prioritizing one’s self-care is usually thought of as indulgent, selfish, weakness and a detraction from being productive. Now, sequestered in our homes, self-care – which includes illness prevention, personal care, rest, mental health and stress management – is turning out to be a selfless act. I find it surprising and energizing to see an alignment between actions that benefits others while also benefiting ourselves. (I do acknowledge this is not true for our friends and neighbors who are serving in essential roles to keep our society healthy and functioning. But by staying home, we are doing what we can to keep them safer.)
Another set of opposites relates to our #physicallydistancing. It surprises me that in this time, I have felt as close as ever to some of my friends. Friends who live across town or across the country, friends I haven’t connected with in months or years, are connecting through texts, phone calls, #zoomconferencecalls, Instagram or Facebook, gift deliveries… When I think of someone, instead of saying, “oh i should call them sometime…”, I reach out. And in so doing, the relationship seems more palpable. The content of the connections also feels rich – we’re saying to each other the things we may sometimes hold back – deep appreciation and gratitude for each other, and the offer of patience, compassion, a listening ear or practical help… it feels vibrant and has been a gift.
A third opposite is one that challenges my own limiting belief about my capabilities to set boundaries. I was worried that setting boundaries would be impossible given the proximity of the family being together all the time, My kids would say, it’s a regular occurrence for me to resort to yelling (often when I haven’t set up an expectation in advance). Somehow, in these unusual circumstances, I am making it a priority to ask for what I will be needing throughout the day – quiet space for my meetings, time to attend my virtual dance class or meditation. I wouldn’t say it has become a habit yet, but what is surprising is that I feel less guilty about asking for what I need. I know I need to sustain myself and that this is an investment in my health. #boundaries
Have you noticed any opposing beliefs that coexist in your life at this moment?