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Seeking Normalcy

It is normal to feel exhausted right now. Even if you’ve been home, doing nothing but watching videos, it is normal to be tired. It is normal to feel fear. It is normal to be despondent. It is normal to feel relieved that the world has stopped. It is normal to be angry that you have to go to work as part of the essential services and face the danger. Everything you are feeling is normal, even when it changes from moment to moment. You are allowed to feel and express all that is passing through you. There is no right way to face trauma.

You see the word trauma and think, “I haven’t been affected. I’m not sick. My refrigerator is packed with food and I have all I need.” Yet you feel exhausted. You see how much others have been hit and you feel guilty for feeling sad over the circumstances of your own life. This is also normal.

As the invisible wildfire known as covid 19 spreads throughout the globe, with embers in every neighborhood, the entire world has been disrupted. Nothing will ever be the same. You may want to return to last year, before anyone knew. You may long for the Stay at Home order to end so you can return to your routines. You may get up each day and work from home, pretending everything is fine, while inside you are screaming. You know the life you once had is gone. Grasping after what once was will only lead you to sorrow.

You hunger for information, so you read about the fever burning the sick and choking their lungs. You worry about ventilators and ICU beds. You remember all those you know who work in health care and pray for them to stay safe. You watch the number of positive tests grow exponentially and you worry about the grocery store clerk, and all those who keep the supply chain of food and essential goods moving. Perhaps for the first time, you consider how truly essential all of these workers truly are. You worry about your own safety. You feel gratitude for being able to Stay at Home.

You miss face to face contact and the loneliness builds, quietly. You create projects for yourself, cleaning out closets and creating art. Perhaps for the first time your mind considers the value of time. Your entire life you were told time is money, and money is what you should create so you will be safe. But right now you are not safe. You know this wildfire has the potential to burn everyone.

Inside you feel the changes. Outside you watch the world shift. Into what remains to be seen. Right now, you are the chick pecking from inside the shell. Right now, you are the butterfly fighting inside the cocoon. The struggle is real. And it is normal.

You want to know what happens next. You want to know, “What do I do?” You want a firm place to put your foot. You make plans months in advance, knowing they may need to be abandoned. It’s all slipping away and you feel exhausted. This is normal too.

There is a crack in the world. You feel it. A part of you wants to seal it up, so everything can go back to how it was. But you know the world has changed. You know you have changed.

You have seen the greed sickness, more poisonous than the wildfire virus. You’ve seen the panic buying and empty store shelves, watching some people hoard while others go without. You’ve caught yourself buying more than you need, just in case. You listen to the pundits ask if saving lives is worth the stock market crashing. You watch people hold medical supplies up for the highest bidder as nurses re-use their masks day after day. You begin to wonder, “Is this normal?”

And in a split second you recognize the interdependence of this entire world. You viscerally feel the connection with all others. You know you could spread the wildfire to your neighbors as easily as they could spread it to you. You see with charts and maps how one person affects two others. You know if they suffer, you will too. You finally understand how keeping yourself healthy on all levels helps keep everyone else healthy. You also know when you maintain your own boundaries, caring for your needs with honesty, you are able to be of assistance to others without expecting anything in return.

Suddenly you spin and perhaps for the first time you really see the true core of all economic and social systems: mutual benefit. Slowly it dawns on you for your whole life you were immersed in abnormality, in the falsehood of everyone for themselves. As you break through the shell and rip open the cocoon, you know there is no separation between you and others and the Divine. You finally see life exists to protect and express life. You finally know what to do next: act for the common good of All. This is the new normal.

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Published inBuddha Lessons / Mindfulness

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