What I've Learned So Far In The Quarantine (Part 1/2)
...A Monthly Practice Invitation
for Your Empowered, Heart-based Life...
(Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, simplypsychology.org)
It feels to me that one period of the COVID-19 epoch has passed, and we are moving into another, as states push to reopen their economies, and citizens are beginning to push back against the stay-at-home mandates (I don't agree with those choices, but that could be a whole other blog post and that's not what this post is about.)
The first part of my quarantine seemingly was about finding a sense of stability in a constantly shifting world. Looking now at what I chose in this first period, I'm seeing that my priorities were self-soothing, self-care, home-life, family and community. Really, I was focused nearly entirely on the bottom half of Maslow's hierarchy.
Now that I've had some time to process, I'm finding that I'm able to access the upper half of the hierarchy, and also get some perspective on what I've learned so far...
WHAT I'VE LEARNED SO FAR
IN THE QUARANTINE (PART 1/2)
(V for Vendetta)
1. Nothing Is Stable or Certain, Ever,
And That's Okay
I didn't realize how invested I was in the illusion of solidity and certainty until this all happened.
It's clear to me now that truly everything is in motion, changing all the time, and that there's no real way of knowing what will happen, ever. (I'd been told this so many times, but never had it been so fully demonstrated until now.)
Initially this deep realization felt very destabilizing-- all the things that I thought I could count on because of their seeming permanence all revealed their fragility and mortality simultaneously-- my friends and family might die, our democracy might be overcome by authoritarianism, our economy can stop, there might not be food, and on and on and on...
In the back of my mind, I always knew that these were possibilities, but these possibilities seem much more real now.
And yet, I'm not panicked. I actually am feeling more and more liberated and empowered rather than debilitated.
The liberation comes from the breaking of attachment and dependence on the unstable outside world.
The empowerment comes from finding the stability within, and knowing that that stability is always available, no matter now bat-shit-crazy the world or other people might become.
2. The Quarantine Is a Mirror
This time has very much revealed me (my ego) to Me (my eternal self.)
I think that in moments of adversity and fear, it's natural to revert to our training, both useful and not. The pre-programmed self-soothing behaviors that had always been running under the surface of my consciousness suddenly became much more animated to me in this initial stages of the lockdown.
From how I eat, to how I use social media, to my relationship to my body and exercise, how much I sleep, how I learn and how I work, all of my patterns were laid bare before me, amplified by the inner tension I was experiencing.
Seeing them in this macro scale has actually been really helpful. I can make out a lot more of the details of these little beasts/helpers now that they are huge. When they were small, appearing in subtle, sometimes hidden moments, they were much harder to understand.
Now I'm beginning to see them for what they are, which helps me to have more compassion for them.
3. The Machine Has Stopped,
And a Portal Has Opened
The machine was massive, noisy and complicated, and for my entire life, it had been ceaselessly churning toward its cyclical goals of production and consumption day and night, without end.
But now, for the first time in a long time....it stopped....
I never thought in my lifetime I'd see the machine stop. It's one of the things that I thought was permanent. I even remember people arguing, "Surely, we can't shut down the machine!!! It's too big to fail! Everything would collapse without the machine."
And to some extent, they were right. Most things will collapse.
And in the clearing, in the newfound space that will be revealed, a portal will open to a potential new reality, open only for a moment.
The question is, "will we bravely step through it?"
We have two choices. We can stay in this reality and reactivate the machine again, this time making the machine stronger, more durable, impervious even, and the portal will close, perhaps never to open again.
Or, we can step through the portal into something different.
Certainly, there are parts of the machine that could be useful to bring with us. But mainly, I think what we have to bring is our full selves, with our creativity, courage and ingenuity, eager to rebuild a different world than the one we left behind.
What a thrilling time to be alive...