I just started a new journal. For someone who enjoys writing, this is usually an event marked by excitement and anticipation at what will fill those crisp new pages in the coming months. I don't think I ever imagined I'd be starting a fresh journal titled the Pandemic Edition. It's clear to me that this experience will forever be seared in my mind. The Covid-19 Pandemic of 2020 has literally stopped the world. This isn't just a blip that will soon be forgotten. The world as I know it radically shifted, seemingly overnight.
The last week has been a serious shit show in my mind. I've been feeling all the emotions and drowning my mind with so many thoughts. The heaviness of this pandemic literally made me feel like the walls were closing in on me last week. I had a cold (terrible timing) so I quarantined myself inside and just allowed myself to feel all the feels. At the end of the week, I made a decision to get off the fear train. Well, something deep within me urged me, actually. I was standing in the bathroom getting ready and the words "growth mindset, growth mindset" just came out of my mouth. I actually don't know where it came from, maybe it was me giving myself a pep talk, but those are the words that somewhat involuntarily came out. I realized I was ready to learn from this experience, change my perspective, and detach from the outcome. Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change.
While I know this virus is sweeping across the globe and causing unthinkable pain, I also have unwavering faith that we are bringing the most brilliant minds in the world together to science the shit out of this virus. And because I know this pandemic has rattled me to my core, the best thing for me to do is write the shit out of this thing. For me, there's something even more powerful than the concept of mindset and that's soul set or intuition. When I write, I'm grounding and connecting at a deeper level with my intuition. When I share from that place, I believe I have a greater ability to connect with people who may be feeling or experiencing something similar.
We're all in different places with how this virus is personally impacting us, but one thing so many of us are experiencing is a fear of the unknown. I'm the first to admit I'm a control freak. As someone who regularly processes a massive amount of content out of a need to analyze every decision and data point, this has been a nightmare scenario. The last week was like content and data quicksand. I couldn't get out. Between podcasts, social media, news articles, and investment analysis forums, I was desperately trying to make sense of everything happening.
And then the realization set in. There's nothing I can do to control anything that's happening. I just need to let those emotions bubble up and acknowledge them. I'm terrified of losing people I love. I had to tell my parents I couldn't spend time with them because I can't bare for them to get sick. I'm terrified of seeing friends loose jobs and businesses. I'm scared for my family's livelihood. I'm devastated for what's coming for healthcare workers on the front lines. It's not if, but when, an already strained and broken system reaches absolute chaos. So much moral injury. My heart breaks thinking about the mental health challenges so many people will be facing, wondering how we can help everyone.
Beyond the human toll, I'm terrified for the global economic catastrophe this has inflicted upon all of us, the likes of which we've never seen. Will our country and our kids/grandkids still be clawing out of debt decades from now? Trillions of dollars released, almost overnight! Will we have runaway inflation? Economic collapse? Is this a depression? That's always been an unthinkable word for me--in my mind, it has been synonymous with total zombie apocalypse scenario where the world just got dark and the sun will never shine again. [yep, researched the Great Depression this week too and learned that the sun still came out, families still spent time together, AND some really great things came out of depression-era America]. That's just a little glimpse into the places my mind has been running this week....until those big words "growth mindset, growth mindset" came out of my mouth.
Instead of this event happening to us, what if it's happening for us? Look, I don't want to paint an overly-rosy picture. I've never done a pandemic before so this is a first and there's a whole lot of suck with it. But what if there's also a whole lot of growth, not just for me, but on a global level? Not in the short game, but in the long game. I'm not burying my head in the sand, but I'm shifting my focus to love, abundance, and detachment.
The world is in absolute crisis, and yet I'm seeing love and abundance all around me right now. Virtually every country on the planet has come together to fight a common enemy. I've never seen that in my lifetime. Families are coming together, slowing down, simplifying, and dramatically reprioritizing what matters. The cracks in our healthcare system are being exposed and that may facilitate more cooperation in repairing the system in the future. Communities and businesses are banding together to support one another. It feels like there is an awakening of collective consciousness happening.
Here's what's helping me shift perspective about the unknown fears and the lack of control: detachment (Thank you, Buddhism!). There is suffering in the world. There already was suffering in the world. And there will be more suffering. I experienced suffering before this virus, I will experience suffering during this pandemic, and I'm sure I will experience suffering in the future. I also experienced joy, abundance, and love before this and will continue to do so afterward. The sun will still rise. I will still live in a wonderful community, hopefully one even more unified.
Knowing all of this, why am I clinging to hang on to what I have today, the status quo? We are such a privileged, wealthy nation, and yet so many of us experience loneliness, a sense of disconnection, or a lack of fulfillment. We allow our bodies to become diseased, mentally and physically, through lifestyle choices. That makes me question why I, and so many others, get so anxious about finances, and clinging to what we have. We can see that financial wealth doesn't necessarily produce fulfillment, freedom, or security. Those things are a state of being, a different kind of wealth.
My husband and I went for a walk in the foothills on Friday afternoon. It was a beautiful day and we were out in the middle of the work day, with both of us working from home. I've always wished we could be in a position to do just that--enjoying simple moments of counterbalance to break up the workday and keep work, health, and connection more integrated into our lives. I've also wished we could reduce our family commitments and kids' activities so we could all slow down, breathe, and enjoy the simplicity of just being together as a family. And though I didn't choose it to happen this way, that's exactly what I've been given.
One thing is for sure. Life is changing. It has already happened. Life is impermanent and it was going to change with or without a pandemic. I choose to grow right now and detach from the outcome; rather than hanging on to something that has already fled. I don't have any idea what's on the other side and that still scares the shit out of me, but I will continue to write the shit out of this thing and see what's on the other side. Sending so much love to everyone right now.
**Note to Eliana (my 10-year old daughter who reads all my blogs and gives me "hearts", but tells me I swear a lot): Sorry I used bad language again, but it seems particularly warranted, given the circumstances. Love you, sweetie**