To quote the Grateful Dead,
What a long, strange trip it's been...
In only a handful of weeks, our lives have collectively been flipped inside out and upside down. Together. From afar. The paradoxical nature of #COVID-19 holds so many lessons for us all. As I've learned to adapt by bringing our yoga community online, connecting with you has brought me such peace and purpose. Thank you. While we've been connecting online, I have also noticed the despair, the suffering, and the anxiety written on so many of your faces. I see you. I care for our community deeply. The love I have for all of you has inspired me to promptly exit my comfort zone and share my thoughts with you in writing. It would be wonderful if my words inspired a sense of comfort or peace within you. However, that is not my intent. My primary interest in communicating is to share openly and honestly my perception of the past few weeks and the weeks to come, in an effort to cultivate connection. More than ever, I think we need to be reminded that we are not alone in this, as isolated as we all may feel.
While I am actively choosing to err on the side of optimism through this writing, it would be reprehensible to ignore the tremendous amount of suffering happening now, on a global scale, with no defined end in sight. It is tragic. It is surreal. It is frightening. It is, as we've heard, unprecedented. Whether directly or indirectly affected by this pandemic, it is our nature and humanity that allow us to feel for others. The innate, universal connection we share makes wading aimlessly through the unknown eminently more painful and challenging.
Conversely, the darkness cast by this strange time in history has illuminated such good, for so many, in a multitude of ways. I've heard stories laced with gratitude, hope, and kindness: people who are now able to spend more quality time with their families, some who are utilizing this time to simply rest, others who thrive on altruism, and folks who are graciously accepting help from a lending hand. The collective efforts of our community, here in New London and surrounding towns, working to support any and all is a genuine testament to the strength we share. This sweetness creates a ripple effect, spreading light further than we can possibly comprehend. We are all fortunate to call this place, so indisputably steeped in love, home.
Attempting to understand the duality of COVID-19 is grueling, a personal struggle I've been continually grappling with. How can beauty blossom from unmitigated devastation? How can one person experience joy and relief, while another is fighting for their life, grieving the loss of a loved one, or struggling to provide for their family? What comes next? ...It seems every day reveals a new challenge to overcome, while simultaneously presenting us with the fortuity to hold immense appreciation in our hearts for the blessings we do have. The existence of this dichotomy presents a challenge: where is the balance? How can we create a sense of equilibrium in our hearts and minds when the world around us is so addled? Is there a way to make sense of it all? Of anything?
Perhaps first acknowledging that we have been served a hearty helping of something entirely foreign, and saturated with discomfort, is the first place to start. It's difficult to find an answer when the question is so complex. While answers may not exist now, or ever, there are nuanced lessons to be found here.
Maybe now is the time to try our very hardest to grant ourselves permission to embrace whatever feelings arise as this pandemic rolls on - whether that entails finding humor in unlikely places, or ugly crying to the point of dehydration. Maybe it's okay for us to accommodate the silver linings of a deeply challenging time while holding space in our hearts to mourn the pain and suffering in our world right now. If we shy away from the pain of others, it goes against our nature, and defies a universal truth: we are all connected.
If it wasn't true, our global cooperation wouldn't be so vital during this time.
Finally, while very little feels solid right now, there are a few beliefs I feel strongly rooted in: we are in this together. You are not alone, I am not alone. Many of us are experiencing tremendous discomfort and are unsure of what the future holds. With this discomfort, we can expect to feel a range of emotions that are exceedingly difficult to process as this pandemic continues to unfold. But we are powerful. You are powerful, I am powerful. We are even stronger when we work together. Darkness and light can coexist. While we may feel surrounded by chaos, it's important to notice the joy where we can. Simplicity is beautiful and grounding. Come back to what you know, always. We are all connected.