Written by David Schuh
The COVID-19 pandemic impacts each and every one of us. Shock is normal as we adjust to the unimaginable circumstances of today. While the pandemic disrupts our lives and threatens the safety and security of ourselves and others, it also creates unique opportunities.
At times when there are aberrations in our experience that do not align with our habitual expectations of life, whether the aberrations are good or bad, it is as if time stands still and a crack forms in the façade of what we think we know. In my own life, as I reflect on other times when I’ve experienced this unique sense of stillness and shattering of my sense of normalcy, I think of the birth of my son, learning of the death of loved ones, meditation and spiritual retreats, and witnessing a solar eclipse. Suddenly, we seem to collectively begin to stand still with shared fissures in our expectations of reality. It is in these moments, through the aberrations in our sense of normalcy, we are able to, and sometimes forced to, stop and experience the Divine.
Leonard Cohen wrote, “There is a crack in everything. That is how the light gets in”. In these experiences, it is as if we are given a chance to look in awe at and touch more directly the grandeur and mystery of Being; of this curious existence which we all share, are part of, and participate in. That is not to say that Being is not always present, but events like these rip away our habitual view of the world and awaken us to something much deeper. If we stand still, allow ourselves to look, and open ourselves, we receive an opportunity to touch and experience the ineffable mystery and majesty of Life in a raw, direct and visceral way.
Not only do such circumstances allow for a unique experience of Life, they also allow us to reflect on ourselves. Our focus shifts from “daily” life, to responding to this present circumstance. We can begin to turn our focus inward and see ourselves, our values, and those around us in a new light. We can prioritize connecting with others on a different level. We can re-connect with our families in a deeper way, whether it be in person, virtually or by phone. We can set aside the distractions of life and be still, accept, and appreciate the life we are given even in these difficult times.
We can use this opportunity to develop parts of ourselves or explore interests that we previously had no time for. We can spend time in meditation or prayer, reading, exploring creative pursuits, studying topics online or in books, writing, gardening, getting to know loved ones better, playing games, practicing an instrument, etc. We can take this opportunity to explore our hopes and dreams and to consider what we really want in life, what we value and what we hold dear.
While we never wish to experience a pandemic like this one, our response creates a unique opportunity for us to live more directly and more fully. Let’s make lemonade out of the lemons we have been given and share the sour yet sweet drink.