I was hiking the other day and was thinking about my quarantine. How the word comes from an Italian root which meant forty. So quarantine was usually forty days which then came to mean any period of time isolated away from the general populace. Today is day 42...
Not surprising to any of you I have done a lot of thinking this last 42 days. I think we all have. Whether we like it or not, the threat of death has kept us home and in a period of reflection about our lives and about ourselves. We are coming to know ourselves - where we fail, where we do well, our breaking points, our limits, our desires, our routines, things we can live without and things we can’t.
For me, I am spending a lot of time wondering what it all means. I can’t help it. It is not just a plague upon us, there is a higher purpose...for me everything has a higher purpose. But this time, I am not the only one. I am not the only one thinking that there is a larger message to us humans. I think we all are being given this most amazing gift of life slowing down and stopping for a period to force us to reflect, evaluate and perhaps change.
For those on the front lines, caring for those of us inflicted, there is no rest, no down time, no reflection. There is just endless work and suffering. I have thought about what their lesson might be. What will they bring us when they can slow down and recover from the war they just fought. When the battle lines are relinquished - what will they contribute to the world wide consciousness discussion. I want to make sure that all of my reflection and retooling allows for their perspective. I want to ensure that they are afforded an opportunity to contribute to the group think. They have seen a great deal that should be considered in our emerging consciousness.
Until they are able to give their input, I am going to continue to reflect on life, society and the opportunity we are being given to change. We are creating a new earth whether you agree with me or not. It is happening. Things are changing. The butterfly affect is happening all around us. We are being shaped and forever changed by what is occurring. Life as we knew it is over. Something that we never thought possible happened - the entire world stayed home (minus the essential workers that continued to keep the economy and healthcare system moving - huge thank you to them).
Schools closed. Concerts and conferences cancelled. Beaches and parks closed. Businesses remote or non-operational. Restaurants became to go or delivery only. Social gatherings stopped. This didn’t just happen in America. It happened everywhere. Some places it happened more quickly and completely...like California, Germany and other places it happened much slower...Florida. (Why is Florida always such a fuck up? I just don’t understand why it is always the outlier...it seems to almost pride itself on always being controversial).
So my question today is what new earth are we creating? What new reality awaits us? What is my contribution to that? What am I bringing to the party? Where can I improve? Where can I help?
Here is what my new earth looks like...
I want to stay home more.
I want to slow down.
I want to spend less.
I want to walk in nature everyday.
I want to go back to the land in some meaningful way.
I want to be a better consumer by being more intentional with my purchases.
I want to participate in conservation efforts.
I want to do my part to help the planet and will look for new ways to reduce my footprint.
I want to be more mindful about my place in this world.
I want to show my gratitude more often to more people.
I want to give the benefit of the doubt more often to those about me who irritate me and vex me.
I want to be willing to consider more people’s perspectives and embrace their point of view...even if I disagree.
I want to live like this:
Universe, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me bring love.
Where there is offense, 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 light.
Where there is sadness, let me bring joy.
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.
I am not a religious person but the above terms of surrender work regardless of faith, do not require great quantities of it and are worthwhile endeavors for today and all the rest of our days. Even if we can do this a little, a tiny bit more today than we did yesterday...we will create a new reality and in that reality a new planet.
Be the change you want to see in the world. Begin today. Take this time out and see where you can become a better version of yourself, not just so that you get a better life, but so that all of us may inhabit this beautiful, fucked up place in harmony and grace. That seems to me the best use of any life. May we all be free of suffering. May we all find peace. May we all seek to help wherever we can.