Two years of challenge, caution, managing, finding meaning. This insidious virus that keeps finding ways to replicate, mutate, survive…. Each of us humans trying our best to win against the determined insistence.
It was a time for going inside oneself, looking deeply at our humanness and redirecting what we are doing on this planet at this time. My job allowed me to help others through this process. I bore witness to so much of the living experience that we never get to consider fully when we walk less mindfully through the world. Although this was an exhausting time, it was indeed most fascinating and illuminating for myself as a healer, as well as a person finding my way.
Sitting centered and focused, the universe brought diversity of perspective as awareness broadened and compassion expanded. Delving into my past psychology training, I saw in action the concepts of denial. Not conscious denial, not pretending something did not exist, but the honest survival mechanisms our brain offers us when we just can’t face the threat. There is fear, deep and dark, a fear for a life that traumatizes the spirit and does not allow the psyche to accept the existence of that threat. Despair all around, there was no way out and in order to go through, well, our brain is our friend and our foe.
I helped people through the early infections when we did not know what to expect. A different fear, coupled with intrusive thoughts of “will I make it through another day? Will I be that next statistic?”. I walked friends and family through the loss of loved ones to this virus, some in the prime of life, learning not to judge how or where infection showed itself. Insidious -yes.
But I did judge a little and I needed to judge a little because it made me feel protected. That was a hard look inside. I was taking all the precautions and I had the means to do so. I social distanced, I wore my mask, I stayed outside and away, I vaccinated as soon as I could. Seemed easy. Yes, judging just a little helped me to feel safe and do my duty to protect others around me.
Traveling to a beautiful island, hoping to overcome another fear (oh the burden of being human!), N95 mask, negative test, vaxed and boosted, and lots of antibacterial spray and wipes, and I still was infected within days. Insidious took on a new meaning. The emotions came fast and furious. Anger, shame, self-reproach, fear, sadness, anxiety, trapped, pacing, waiting…. remembering all of those other experiences I so peacefully guided others through, wondering what would happen.
Rational brain is our friend but is not the most accessible part of our brain in a crisis. The work to keep a balanced brain was hard, draining really. I developed a practice. A daily practice – half hour a day – a ten-day journey with Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, finding peace and inner strength, building immunity and health with Pranayama.
The balance came, gently, not dramatically. It is a practice, for all that means. The focus – exhale. Release the breath we are holding, holding as if afraid to let it go and we will have no breath. The idea of Covid as an insidious lung killer made it hard to want to breathe in and harder to let go of the breath that represented life. The psychological paradox of fighting breath while wanting greatly to keep breathing in life.
Each day brought a little more peace, the chore of the meditation and exercises became a desired activity, and the mind began to clear, and options presented themselves. I added reiki to my practice each day (why do we always forget this life force energy is readily available to us?) and went deeper into my studies of magic and manifesting.
Breath is the source of life. Breath is the source of balance. Breath is our connection with the vast healing and love of the universe.
Covid has taught me many things, understanding life and death, psychology of survival, how to develop an even deeper compassion and understanding for my fellow travelers, and how to move away from judgment as a survival technique. I have grown in my spirit and am grateful for those who accompanied me on this journey through a pandemic, a world lesson, and allowed me to see new heights.
I am most grateful that Covid taught me how to truly breathe.