Finding our strength in the face of a global pandemic

We have all experienced that sick feeling when we see flashing red lights looming down the road with their blistering siren call. The heart beats faster recognizing a potential disaster nearby. We move quickly to allow emergency vehicles to pass and we pause hoping that everything will be okay and at the same time grateful for our own safety.

The sirens and flashing lights are not down the road or in the distance anymore. The emergency is right here- right now. We have been told by health authorities to wash and disinfect our hands and at all costs, ‘Do Not Touch Your Face’! They’ve asked us to stay home in an effort to slow the spread within our communities. To practice social distancing while also looking out for the elderly and immune suppressed among us. Some experts have said ‘assume that you have the virus and assume everyone else does as well’.

We are living amid a world-wide health crisis; a pandemic known as COVID19, of which there is no known treatment or prophylactic measure at this time.

Coronavirus is a fast spreading slow motion emergency that is impacting every human on the planet. These are unprecedented times-and it will take every person in every community around the world to accept and recognize that this is indeed the emergency of our times. It’s not happening to someone else. It’s not something viewed at a distance. It’s happening right now to you and to me.

We are in race that we never planned and it’s impossible to process the amount of information flowing from every device in our homes but it’s even harder to turn away. Education is power they say.

We were not at all prepared for the changes to our daily lives and many of us are already grieving our old life.

While I never subscribed to orderly stages in grieving there are certain feelings; denial, anger, bargaining and acceptance as example that ebb and flow and mix together. It’s a messy pursuit but exploring these emotions is necessary and life affirming. I moved from denial to acceptance a few weeks ago and I’m legit scared like so many but I’m leaning on my life experiences and others to get through this.

The search in grief begins with the knowledge of a significant change or loss in our lives. In the aftermath, we look for understanding while steadying ourselves for the massive wave of emotions which will follow. In this process, we find bits and pieces of our life along with our new reality. In loss, this internal excavation brings forth truth and with the benefit of time provides a renewed sense of purpose and meaning. We gather strength from not only our lived experiences, but the lessons learned from our own suffering and vulnerability.

Remembering that even in the depths of despair we can stand up and move forward.

In North America, we are in the early days of this world-wide pandemic. As we hunker down facing our own personal emergency and bracing ourselves for what will come remember that all of our life experiences, especially the most difficult periods conferred on us a reservoir of resilience and courage.

We are stronger than we think.

Life has changed for everyone and each adaptation is personal growth. This global pandemic is a brutal punch to the gut and it demands that we follow every necessary precaution to remain healthy and safe for ourselves, loved ones and our communities. We must remain vigilant and conscious of our actions because what we do will have a direct impact on others.

We will never make peace with this menacing virus but in understanding what it is we can begin to accept our new reality.

Our day to day is challenging on every front but it doesn’t mean we can’t appreciate small victories. Having time to make the bed. Spending time with our kids. Meditate. Slow Down. Staying connected to our communities online. Whether you are WFH, planning the daily meals or dropping off essentials to elderly parents, creating structure even for part of the day can be rewarding. Harness your incredible energy to help that neighbour who lives alone. Supporting someone else even in the smallest way is gratifying.

Do whatever you can to support your emotional health, especially right now. REST. Be gentle with yourself and others. Get fresh air (remember social distancing does not mean we can’t smile at one another) and move your body. And more than anything else I want you to remember that all of your life experiences have prepared you to deal with this.

We will find our way through this difficult time – together