Buderim Rainforest Walk, Sunshine Coast, QLD Australia (credit: Shari Hall)
WISDOM GAINED & LESSONS LEARNED DURING
The COVID-19 Pandemic
As I sit alone in my hotel room in lovely Rockhampton, QLD Australia, overlooking the river, and far, far, away from any CoVid-19 epicenters, I reflect quietly on this past few months of social distancing, and for many, self-isolation, illness, and death.
What have I learned? What wisdom have I gained? Do you share any of the same thoughts and lessons?
1. QUIET TIME ALONE IS A BLESSING – I have never been afraid of spending time alone, in fact, I often welcome it. After years of working in an operating room, surrounded by busy-ness, noise, commotion, and stress, taking time out, for me, has always been a priority. Now, not only do I enjoy it, but it gives me time to hear what’s going on in my head and my heart without the interruption, interjection, and confusion of the environment that surrounds me. It’s during these peaceful moments that my truth becomes revealed, and my connection to the Universe and God becomes deeper. I am grateful for these hours of isolation and welcome them.
2. CONNECTION IS NECESSARY and POSSIBLE – Never before in my personal history have I been more connected to and communicated with so many family members and friends from all around the globe. Thanks to video chats, free calls on apps, and the formation of groups on social media platforms, I have re-connected with high school and college friends, met and re-connected with family members I never knew I had, had group video chats with my closest friends who only live just around the corner, and even participated in a song involving numerous people in a video post that had now been viewed by nearly 7,000 people! Just because we are socially distanced and isolated, does not mean we cannot stay connected. I have, and it’s a beautiful thing.
3. SOMETIMES GOOD PEOPLE RESPOND IN UNEXPECTED (and, not so good) WAYS TO CRISIS – In the last several months, I have witnessed the best and worst in my fellow human beings, and I will admit, I have passed judgement on what I have seen (and for this, I ask forgiveness). I have medical colleagues who have been on the front line of this pandemic, sacrificing all they have for the sake of the well being of humanity. They have experienced death on a daily basis, with extreme risk to themselves and their families, yet they return, day after day, hoping to see just one human being whom they’ve helped, recover and see their families again. I have also seen people hoard and panic shop, depriving others in their community of much needed items, even those who are unable or have difficulty under normal circumstances acquiring those necessities of life. I have seen people abuse and take advantage of the governmental systems that have been put into place to help those that are neediest, despite them having everything and more they could ever need. I suppose all I can do is try and be the best person I can be on a daily basis, to give and share love as much as possible, and to show compassion and empathy to others; I don’t know their personal circumstances or why they do the things they do, so it’s not my place to judge.
4. I CAN DO WITH LESS – Being unemployed for the past several months, I have learned what is absolutely necessary, and what is not, and I believe I am better off for it. I have learned that I can cut and color my own hair, (and it looks awesome and healthy!), rather than spend hundreds of dollars at a salon for the same outcome. I can tweeze my own eyebrows, rather than go have them waxed or threaded, and it costs nothing, and looks fine. I can exercise outside in nature by walking, biking, or doing body weight resistance workouts at home, rather than purchase an expensive gym membership I only use half the time anyway. I have tried new recipes and improved my diet by eating out less and cooking at home with my family, rather than spending exorbitant amounts of money eating and dining out at restaurants. I have had to scale down on all my expenses (because, unfortunately, despite being unemployed I am not eligible for any governmental financial assistance) otherwise my savings account will dwindle rapidly to nothing and I could lose my home. So I have learned to only spend money on what’s necessary, and even sell items I no longer need but others can use, to get through on a day to day basis. I know I am better off than many, but no so well off as others. But I am happy with less, and can do without the extravagances we all often take for granted. Simplicity and minimalism reigns supreme in my life at the moment, and it’s liberating.
5. THE PEOPLE WHO MATTER MOST IN MY LIFE ARE ALWAYS HERE – My family, my closest friends, and the beautiful man in my life are the most important people in my circle of influence. While I love being connected through social media and love having thousands of “likes” and friend requests, it is a very very small handful of people who truly know, love, and support the authentic me unconditionally, always, and I am so grateful for them. There are some people I have not talked to in months who I previously communicated with on a daily basis, and there are others who I haven’t talked to in years but communicate with now as if we had never stopped the conversation and we have simply picked up where we left off. It’s ok to sometimes scale back on the hyperbole of social media connection sometimes, and focus on those closest to your heart.
6. CREATIVITY and LEARNING are my deepest PASSIONS – In a time when classrooms are closed, Universities are empty, and networking seminars and workshops are halted, I know we have all discovered that no matter where we are in the world, information and knowledge is available and readily accessible. I have seen more online learning than ever before, from experts, mind masters, and spiritual leaders, and much of their content is free. I’ve watched musicians and celebrities share their creative talents for the world to view and appreciate, and it’s been wonderful! There are some incredibly smart people out there happy to share their expertise and passion with others, and I for one, have loved learning from them. I have picked up a book and read it’s 500 pages from cover to cover in a couple of days. I have written and recorded songs for a new album (something I never thought I would do again), and I’ve written a book (whether or not it gets published doesn’t really matter, I’ve actually done it). This time has allowed for incredible creativity, from myself, and from others all over the world. Our God-given gifts and talents are meant to be shared, and they are now, and it’s beautiful.
7. TIME IS PRECIOUS – With hundreds of thousands of people dying every day worldwide from the CoVid-19 Pandemic, it impresses upon me even more than ever before, how precious every single day is, every breath and every heartbeat, every moment spent with a loved one, every instant of kindness we bestow upon another human being. The hours and minutes click by, never to return, and any one of them could be our last. Why spend a moment of it unaware of it’s presence? Why take it for granted when we should be grateful for the experience of every second? Whether happiness or suffering, bliss or pain, I count it all joy, for the simple fact, that I have that extra second.
8. THERE IS ONLY ONE ANSWER… LOVE – I already knew this, but I remind myself daily, that the only way forward is to love… love yourself, love others, and most importantly, at least for me, love God. A smile is infectious; an act of kindness can be life-saving; compassion and empathy can warm a soul; generosity can help those in need; the power of prayer is real; a human touch can heal; and faith and hope are essential for survival.
I’d love to know what wisdom you’ve gained and what lessons you’ve learned. Please COMMENT and SHARE…
With love and blessings,