I struggled all day yesterday to get words out in a coherent manner in order to write this article. As a Japanese saying goes, I was even prepared ‘to brew someone’s nail grime and drink it.’ In plain English, I could’ve done with borrowing someone’s literary talent. I have a friend who effortlessly and eloquently churns out 6,000 words in a day. That’s whose nail grime I’d brew. Disgusting AND down right dangerous considering Covid-19, the very topic of my writing.
What I wanted to convey was this: it’s compelling to me that Covid-19 affects our capacity to breathe and to touch. Deep breathing and hugs are my go-to things for heart connections. I view them as acts of love; appreciation of oneself and adoration of others. Reverence for life. I went down this line of thinking because I was missing close contact. At the moment I only get cuddles one day a week from my son, who I co-parent. Finding meaning in my suffering might help me transcend it. I felt utterly selfish and self-indulgent once my focus shifted to the lonely people, who are self-isolating alone right now. Lonely people have existed before this too. What about the sick people in hospitals who are away from their family? My heart cracked open at the thought and I cried.
Paradoxically Covid-19 is uniting the humankind despite the deprivation of close contact. Where Covid-19 is, I find love. It’s evident. I’ve seen it in singers on balconies in Italy, a pianist in Spain, let alone doctors and nurses working selflessly, the list is endless. Let’s give some credit to business entities too. There are so many companies out there now offering free on-line courses to help us in our confinement, and companies offering discounts on their products and services to help us alleviate our financial worries. I’ve observed that through all this we have become more community-centred as opposed to self-centred.
I am not alone in finding meaning in Covid-19. My dear friend who I mentioned above, for example, made a connection between the ongoing Amazonian forest fire -lungs of the earth on fire- and Covid-19 affecting our lungs spreading like a wild fire. A metaphor for a deep esoteric meaning. I had a funny realisation of covid-lung connection. I had a lurgy that went into my lungs a few weeks ago. When Covid-19 reached the critical point it is at now, I went into a momentary panic. In an attempt to calm my nerves, I tried to take a deep breath and realised I could not. It just made me wheezy. I walked around in circles in my room, cold sweat pouring out of me, not knowing what else to do.
Though it didn’t feel funny at the time, out of this comical episode came a new level of confidence. Apparently I have enough internal resources to deal with intense negative emotions pretty quickly. More importantly, this experience equipped me with compassion pretty early on for those who are doing ‘weird things’ right now, like stock-piling loo rolls or dried pasta, or even worse, beating up postmen and nurses ‘for spreading the disease.’ I am in no way condoning their actions. Far from. I just know that they are acting out of intense fear. I read an article by an aid worker who has seen people do ‘weird things’ in a crisis situation, which predicted that we would start to see an increase in incidents like these. Where there is, I’m afraid to say, so much fear-mongering in the media, I feel it’s important for us to have awareness. Awareness of human fallibility and compassion toward those suffering from fear. Isn’t that all of us in varying degrees?
I feel this popular peace prayer is even more relevant now. With that, I will put my struggle with this article to rest… in love.
Prayer of Saint Francis:
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me bring love.
Where there is offence, let me bring pardon.
Where there is discord, let me bring union.
Where there is error, let me bring truth.
Where there is doubt, let me bring faith.
Where there is despair, let me bring hope.
Where there is darkness, let me bring your light.
Where there is sadness, let me bring joy.
O Master, let me not seek as much
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love,
for it is in giving that one receives,
it is in self-forgetting that one finds,
it is in pardoning that one is pardoned,
it is in dying that one is raised to eternal life.