All of us have seen movies and/or read books that have impacted us in profound ways. These movies or books usually narrate journeys of transformation. At least one of our protagonists shows admirable attributes like resilience even in the face of rejection and hostility from others. He/She pursues a course of action, often at great personal cost to themselves, because it’s right and it’s for the greater good of mankind. We feel admiration for these characters because we realize at our core that behaving in such a selfless way is one of the most difficult things to do.
Never does this message ring truer than during a time of crisis. As people’s minds become fearful and anxious, imagining worst case scenarios, some behave in ways that are quite animalistic. Some of us act in ways that are shameful. And yet, strangely enough, times of crises can also bring out the best in us and give us an opportunity to pursue goals we had only previously dreamed about.
Let’s say you lose your job. You’re at home and you’ve been forced to get off the work hamster wheel which had you feeling exhausted and depleted. If you can somehow stop the pessimistic head talk that feeds on fear and negativity, there’s a good chance your creative juices will start to flow. As you start to relax and take the reality of what is happening in your stride, you may begin to write poetry. Perhaps you’ll start a short story, compose some music or come up with a creative presentation to post on social media. There’s a very good chance that with acceptance, optimism and quiet reflection, your powerful creative self will be seen.
Believe me, I’ve personally lived this. When I was diagnosed with post viral fatigue back in 2016, I was bed ridden for some eight weeks. Strangely, I didn’t fight it or resent it. Instead I accepted my condition. As I lay in bed watching inspirational YouTube videos with Eckhart Tolle and His Holiness the Dalai Lama, I suddenly had the strong desire to write poetry. I pulled out an old notebook and wrote down one poem. Then came another and then another. Every day my husband would come home from work and I would tell him that I’d written another poem. Fifty-four poems later I was ready to publish my book, Life’s a Mango. What’s amazing here is that if it hadn’t been for that post viral fatigue, I would never have given myself the opportunity to stop and listen to my creative self. It wanted me to express thoughts and emotions that had been sitting dormant in my heart for years; some since childhood. What an incredible feeling it was to finally give those thoughts and feelings a voice and to see them there in front of me on the paper.
There are so many sayings that reflect what I’m trying to communicate. Dr. Wayne Dyer said, Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change. Other quotes that come to mind are, When you get served lemons, make lemonade and Consider the uses of adversity. As a Buddhist we are told in the Dharma, the Buddhist teachings, that every single difficulty can be transformed into something positive on the path to enlightenment. We are our own alchemists.
Of course, a change in world views, paradigm shifts, don’t come without costs. There are casualties in all revolutions or shifts in consciousness. I get that and no, I haven’t lost my job. And yet, my higher self knows that there is a much bigger picture we need to see here. Perhaps this is an opportunity for us, as well as the planet, to heal. Yesterday I heard that dolphins have returned to the canals in Venice! For the first time ever, China can be seen from space because of the decrease in air contamination. As well as these, with the grounding of all aircraft, our carbon imprint has been drastically reduced which is another good thing. The Earth and the earthlings are being given a chance to heal, to stop, to reflect, to be still, to go within and to show appreciation for all the small things that we so often take for granted whether it’s toilet paper, hand sanitizer or common ingredients we need to cook a meal.
If I do get COVID-19 I know that I will take it in my stride. I will use breathing and mind training techniques to remain calm and positive and think of others who are in the same situation or worse. Last night I had an intravenous injection of 30g of vitamin C. This is a preventative measure to boost my immune system. The famous Polish physicist, Marie Curie, told us not to focus on the invader (the virus) but rather to look at the host (our body). Each of us is the host to millions of other organisms like bacteria and parasites. By keeping our body clean and in good shape, we are less likely to be severely impacted if we do get the virus, which we may well do. In my poem, Sickness, I say:
Sickness can take us
Where we’d never go.
Incredible journey –
Just go with the flow.
Don’t see it as hostile,
Threatening or mean.
Use it to grow now.
Let the sickness be seen.
If you can see it
As friend and not foe,
You will suffer less.
Your spirit you’ll know. ©
Marie Curie also said,
Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood.
Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.
Let’s remember what the wise ones tell us: Everything that happens to us is an opportunity to learn and to grow. When we accept and don’t resist what is, then we relax, open and connect.