None of us has ever experienced anything quite like this COVID-19 pandemic. Who knows how long our new normal will last and if we will ever go back to life pre-March 2020. As I was standing at the pharmacy the other day and speaking to the assistant behind the clear, protective screen, my mind jumped ahead to when I’m a grandmother. I imagined myself again, in years to come, here at the chemist with a grandchild who is yet to be born. This grandchild looks up at me and says, “nanny, why do we have these plastic screens?”
“Well, darling,” I reply “Way back in 2020 there was a very contagious virus called COVID-19. Lots of people got sick and everybody was scared of it spreading so all the supermarkets, banks and other businesses built these screens, so everybody felt safer. Then, my imaginary grandchild says, “nanny, what does contagious mean and why 19?”
The New Normal
Think of all the novel experiences, terms and signs you have seen in the last couple of months: panic buying of pasta, hand sanitiser and toilet paper, people wearing masks, the new expression social distancing, coughing and sneezing into your elbow, washing your hands for at least 20 seconds, working from home and reckless advice from some powerful politic leaders. The list goes on....
Later in the year my son and his fiancee plan to get married. Can you imagine a wedding with social distancing laws in play? The aunties, uncles, cousins and other relatives you haven’t seen for months or even years and not even a hug? How strange it will be if it comes to that. For me, I’d rather have to wear a mask and have the COVID Safe app installed on my phone than miss out on a hug!
What this pandemic has spelled out loud and clear is that this body I have serves as a host to billions of bacteria. Bacteria and viruses use my body to breed and proliferate. This is not an unusual phenomenon in nature.
What the new normal also reminds us is that everything is impermanent and changing moment by moment. Again, we get attached to the idea of things being predictable and the way we like them to be, just so, but this is an illusion and can cause us suffering. Of course, we hope there will be a vaccine soon so that we can resume doing the things we enjoy in life like travelling and eating out. But what if we can’t? Those of us who can accept the way things are and don’t struggle against the reality we find ourselves in at this moment, are going to come out the other side in a better state of mind.
Everyone has a COVID-19 story: If it weren’t for COVID-19 I wouldn’t of ……. Let me share one such story. It involves my 24-year-old son and is a classic example of turning lemons into lemonade. On March 31st he was booked to fly to Vancouver to pursue his career as an actor. After the initial shock and disappointment he felt at not being able to make the journey and losing his job at a local hotel, he decided to make the most of the situation. He used the time at home to focus on his script writing, practise his American accent and resume his on-line guitar lessons. This acceptance of the situation brought him peace of mind and a sense of calm I hadn’t seen before. Not only that but with the money he was able to access through his superannuation, he had the funds to set up an on-line business selling beauty products. Getting advice from the professionals and watching countless YouTube videos on how to conduct an on-line business, meant that now, after more than a month of managing his website and selling the products, his business is booming! He’s moved out of home and into a luxury apartment! This is now his new normal.
In my book, Life’s a Mango, I have a poem called Creative Trust. Here are some verses that help to remind us that resistance brings suffering and acceptance helps us to stay in a more positive state of mind.
Drop the attachment
To the art you create.
Stay in love with your work.
It may change, it’s your fate.
Let your heart Be bright.
Hold things light as sand.
You trust in the journey;
Who knows where you’ll land.
Whatever you’re doing,
Look around and Be glad.
Always something amazing,
Be grateful, not sad. ©
Sometimes we are like the stitches being sewn on a tapestry. We can’t yet stand back and see the big picture because we are so caught up in the small stuff. Let go of projections. Let go of how you think everything should be. Let go of worrying. See the glass half full and have faith that everything really does have a silver lining. Enjoy the new normal.