In an effort to protect my energy and my mental state, as a rule of thumb I generally don’t watch the news. It’s just to depressing and it’s overwhelmingly more bad news than it is good news being reported. But the little girl in me always hears my mother’s voice saying, “You have to know what’s going on.” So, I occasionally watch the news, just so I can know what’s going on, and let’s be honest, with the advent of social media I couldn’t escape the news if I wanted to. So, when I first started hearing reports of the Coronavirus aka COVID-19, because it was in China and no immediate threat to me or the people I love, I paid it no mind. I assumed it would have been like all the other out breaks that while was devastating, would not hit close to home, and would soon pass.
I couldn’t have been more wrong; I constantly find myself saying “I have never lived through anything like this before.” It’ jarring to say the least. I live in Montgomery County, which was the epicenter for the outbreak in Pennsylvania, so not only is it close, it is literally in my back yard. I’m not a person to live in fear but being transparent, it’s really challenging not to be at least concerned. This virus is potentially deadly, and its reach is so far and vast. It’s almost in every part of our world, and while more people recover than those who die, the fact remains that people are still dying. Lately in the hundreds each day and this is something I wish people took more seriously.
When the announcements were made that schools and non-essential businesses were closing, it was like I was living in the twilight zone. Yet gain I found myself saying, I have never lived through anything like this before. It’s crazy making. Like how are we living in a time where our government officials have to tell us to stay inside, in an attempt to guarantee our safety? It’s like a movie. This can’t be real life. I remember two weeks ago when it started to get worse in the United States, and locally, here in Mont Co. I went to a Whole Foods and the parking lot was so crowded I had to drive around 3 times before I could find an empty parking space. This was before the announcement was made that schools were closing, so I was really confused as to why there was this mad dash to Whole Foods. Then later that night I went to Walmart to buy food, just because it was my normal time to go grocery shopping and it was the same thing. It was a mad house in there, certain aisles were completely empty. And again, because I don’t watch the news that often I was baffled as to why there were so many people in the store buying up all the toilet paper.
This is when I decided to watch the news and learned that all Montgomery County schools, and non-essential business were going to be closed for two weeks. Then Philadelphia followed suit and closed all their schools and non-essential business as well. And again, I find myself saying, I have never lived through anything like this before. In fact, I don’t think any person alive now, I don’t care how old you are, has lived through anything like this before. We are definitely in uncharted waters and as such a large majority of us are freaking out. We are freaking out because we thrive on routine, we learn how to survive by figuring out what works. And once we figure out what works we do that nearly every day, almost robotically. We fear change because with change comes uncertainty, and most of us run the other way when we see uncertainty coming.
However, I would like to challenge that notion and invite all of us to think of change as a way of survival. The process of natural selection proves that only those organisms who adapt to their environment survive. So, in essence true survival requires adaptation, that’s the natural process of the universe, if we don’t change, we don’t grow.
“You must be shapeless, formless, like water. When you pour water in a cup, it becomes the cup. When you pour water in a bottle, it becomes the bottle. When you pour water in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Water can drip and it can crash. Become like water my friend.” ― Bruce Lee
One of the best definitions of acceptance I’ve heard is that acceptance means to be in alignment with reality. COVID-19 is our reality, and as strange and unfamiliar as it is, this is what we are faced with and our task as human beings is to learn to adapt to this so we can grow. As the quote from Bruce Lee says above, become like the water, which means to me, that we must be one with it. Which is acceptance in its truest form. We must be one with our reality of COVID-19 and accept our new normal, this is where we have to learn to be flexible and adaptable. Think back to our early ancestors, if you believe in the theory of evolution, we modern humans wouldn’t be here today, if our early ancestors hadn’t learned to adapt to the changes int their environment and survived. Our society today wouldn’t be the way it is if people hadn’t learned to adapt to the changes in infrastructure and technology.
In life we encounter things that are out of our control, and the days and times that we are living in now, is certainly out of our control. However, what we can control is how we respond to it and I think one of the biggest lessons for us all to learn, one that I have been reminded of, is that we must be flexible. We must learn to go with the flow because when we fight against the current, we create resistance and we all know that doesn’t end well. In addition to learning to be flexible and go with the flow, I also invite you to find the good. There is always a silver lining, always something to be grateful for. Perhaps this time at home as allowed you to finish a home project, you know, that one you’ve been putting off for months. Or maybe you’ve finally read that book that’s been sitting on your nightstand. Or maybe you even started writing a book. Maybe your spending more time with your friends and family. Perhaps you now have time to talk to people you were to busy for before. Maybe you cooked that special meal you’ve been longing for. For me personally, my cousin and I started a text chain where we send each other all the memes we see about the virus, not at all suggesting that our current situation is funny because it certainly is not, but we are finding some joy in it. I know we both crack up laughing when we send those texts. So, for me, I am enjoying this special moment between my cousin and I that we would not have had if it weren’t for our current reality. I implore you to find the good, always know that there is something to be grateful for.