Day 192 - What if the Whole World Stayed Home?
I woke up this morning and it was like someone pulled a curtain back and revealed something that had been hidden. Of course I know that yesterday marked the 31st day at home, but for some reason, I woke up this morning in complete awe of what is happening...
I watched a video last night of Ventura at midday - empty. No one on the streets, no one at the beach. It is like the beginning of a Don Henley song...
Nobody on the road
Nobody on the beach
I feel it in the air
The summer's out of reach
Empty lake, empty streets
The sun goes down alone
Except this isn’t about a summer romance long gone...or is it?
I think we are all having nostalgia for what we no longer possess...the idea that life was predictable, normal, routine, mundane. We are finding out what happens when we all just stay home. The whole world...everywhere people are staying home. Let that sink in for a moment. Seriously...the entire world is staying home!!!
Wildlife is returning to places it hasn't been in decades, pollution is clearing so that vistas are being seen for the first time in ages. It is as if the world is taking a long deep breath of fresh air.
Perhaps we are not all grieving a summer romance long gone (some of us might be though) but there is grief in the loss of our innocence. There is a new kind of violence happening to our psyches, violent in its abrupt about face nature to what we all took for life. Now life seems more uncertain, unpredictable, as an unseeable virus attacks us, making us ill and killing thousands. Everyone still has their theories but one cannot argue with the one true fact - life as we knew it is gone.
While this fact is scary and unnerving, today I am amazed. I am just floored at how we all (well, most all) are just saying put. As a world! Think about that for a moment...the entire world is staying home. Oh sure, there are the rebels who aren’t, and then there are all the essential people who would love to have a week at home. I love the fact that the people who were barely visible to us most of the time: grocery store clerks, mail people, pharmacy staff, garbage people and stock clerks have now joined the ever favorite category of essential workers. They are now on the front lines, albeit in a different way, with the medical professionals, paramedics, firefighters and police. Their jobs just as essential to keeping the rest of us alive and safe. Who saw that coming? I am sure they didn’t...
And let’s just stop there for a second. The clerks and Target shelf stockers didn’t take advantage - didn’t demand more money to risk their lives to sell us toilet paper (whenever it was that was still available). They just showed up at work and did their jobs. Their jobs that were not essential and probably, most of the time, were a drag to go to. Now they have been elevated to this higher place, I think the companies are paying them more, as well they should, to get us all what we need on our scheduled outing once every two weeks. I kinda love that people that were largely invisible to the masses are now heroic in their daily grind. So I hope everyone is being nice to them...they are showing up at work every day, working long hours, for still not enough money so that the rest of us can live our lives safer at home.
Again, THINK ABOUT WHAT IS GOING ON!
Six weeks ago, if I would have met you for coffee and told you a story outlining all that is going on now, you would have thought me mental. Completely out of my mind. Six. Weeks. Ago...
Now the new normal is settling in and we are all adjusting (some of us better than others). I just wanted to take a moment this morning before I begin my new normal routine to marvel at how much the world has changed. How much everything I do today is different. How much it feels to me like whatever beauty brought us all here has pushed the pause button. It does, to me, feel like the universe has sent us all to our rooms to think about what we have done. And like the chastised children of our youth, we either spend the time in isolation in resentment for being sent to our rooms in the first place or in reflection about how our actions have hurt others. While on the inside, we reflect upon what we might be able to do differently...how we might be able to effectuate some change that might benefit others. Think about what a world we might return to one day if we all really did this?
Seems to me that the time is now. We are all being given a reset. A do over. A time within so that we can alter the course of, well, humanity. Who would have ever believed that the whole world would stay at home six weeks ago? What was unimaginable a short time ago, is now commonplace and ordinary.
My friend Jason asked me the other day who did I want to be on the other side of this? Did I want to be the same person? Did I want to spend my time at home strengthening those parts of myself that weren’t all that functional to begin with? Or did I want to take this time to really look at myself and how I engage in the world? Did I want to do better, be better and work harder at eradicating my own shortcomings? What if the whole world did this? Even just a little every day? What if everyone just took one moment to really examine their lives, their relationships, their way in the world? What if the whole world did this at once? Seems to me that we would all emerge at a higher level, we could elevate the world and it wouldn’t even be that hard.
We are living in a time where things that were unfathomable a short time ago, are now commonplace. We are all being given a beautiful time out, a period of contemplation...what if we all used just some small piece of this time to uncover, discover and discard those parts of ourselves that we didn’t know, were afraid to know, or just stubbornly refused to even see?
For me, I am marveling at the bees that frequent my front porch. How much my daughter turn 13 last week and now appears to be this new and vibrant teen. I am enjoying my backyard. I am walking in nature with no agenda and awash with the beauty that surrounds me all the time that I am often too busy to truly appreciate. I am seeing my parents gratitude for the groceries I bring them. I am caring for them in a servicey kind of way that feels right and good and like what an adult child should do for her parents. I planted a garden and got chicks to add to our flock. I am picking the oranges off my trees and making juice for my neighbors. I am writing and reading and meditating and yogaing every day so that I can maintain this gratitude for my life in its current form and as it changes every day.
I am asking questions of myself about myself and being curious about my answers...I am seeing this as an opportunity for a new life, and world, that was not possible six weeks ago. I am here, at home, relishing in my life and all that means to me. I am hopeful that the whole world does this. That we all take even the briefest moment to look at what could happen when the world stays home together...we could all be grateful for all that we have been given, grieve what we have lost and endeavor to help others even from a distance. And perhaps this could not be the end of the innocence, but a return to it. A time where we all allow all that has happened to wake us up and show us new things that we couldn't see before...maybe, if the whole world stayed home together, we could begin again better...