Somewhere Between Peace and Panic - Living in the midst of a Pandemic
We first heard the term Coronavirus about four months ago and it seemed like it was a world away. The news was grim, in China. But here life was normal and good, and we went on about our daily lives, just hoping that the virus would stay away. It didn’t.
When Covid-19 aka the Coronavirus came to America I think we all started to listen a little more closely to the news stories, it wasn’t just a terribly sad, scary story from China anymore, it was a spreading threat to our health and our nation.
Our lives in the last several weeks have changed drastically and for a period of time every day held new restrictions and new lifestyle changes. As I write this today we are under a Stay at Home Order, you can’t eat at a restaurant, you can’t get your hair done, kids are doing school at home, many people are now working from home, some of the newscasters even broadcast from their homes. Many of us are trying to learn new ways of business overnight as we turn to technology to keep offering our services. We aren’t supposed to shake hands, be in groups over 10, or even be within 6 feet of other people. Elderly have special shopping hours at the grocery store, and shelves are empty of things like toilet paper, disinfectant, meat and eggs. Beaches are empty, playgrounds deserted, lights are out in buildings that used to glow with activity. The president speaks to us almost daily with experts at his side and each day he seems a bit more somber. Every day there are new numbers, sometimes twice a day...the numbers are number of cases and number of dead. It feels like when the cannon sound shoots off during the Hunger Games and they play an image of how many have died that day. Leaving home has started to feel like when Katnis threw up her three finger salute, (which is in essence a way of saying goodbye for what might be forever) because you are taking your chances on catching a deadly virus every time you leave your home, or at least that is what they tell us. This isn’t a game, it’s not a movie, or a bad dream, this is our new reality, and I am not sure I was fully ready for it, and I am sure I am not alone.
I remember when Hurricane Irma was bearing down on Florida and it looked like she would hit our area as a CAT4. It was stressful to prepare for our first hurricane, but I wasn’t filled with fear, I would say I had an adequately and appropriate heightened awareness of the situation at hand and the risk it presented. I wasn’t fully at peace, but I wasn’t loosing my shit either. This is different. I am a yoga instructor and I have wonderful tools to remain at peace and acceptance with all of this, but I am also a human, mother, wife, daughter, and friend who is scared for where this all ends up. People I love are being hit hard financially or are considered high risk if they contract this virus, and that is shaking my peace and some days it feels almost like panic will win. I have a tendency to beat myself up for not being the perfect example of calm in the storm for all those around me, I hold it together best I can even when sometimes I feel like crumbling, I battle between peace and panic almost daily now.
I am coming to terms with that pendulum swing of emotion being okay for now. It is in the awareness of the gentle waves of peace being disrupted by winds of anxiety, fear, and panic that I am reminded of how much I have taken for granted, how amazing humanity can be when we are at our best, and how very much I truly love this life I have been granted and all those in it.
I keep hearing we will never be the same. While I hope our economy will bounce back and we the people of our good country will continue to love and protect our democracy, I kind of hope we as a human race will not be the same. I hope we will be more grateful, more forgiving, and more awake. I hope we will be gentler, kinder, more compassionate to each other and our planet and to ourselves. We will move through this, the panic and anxiety will begin to fall away and life will start to find its way back to some sense of normal and when it does hopefully peace will prevail, not just in my heart and mind, but in and around the world.