Life is certainly different these days. You know, with that thing going on–what’s it called? Oh yeah. A PANDEMIC! 😛 Now I am largely a homebody anyway, and have been working online for years…so the staying home and social distancing are not really a big change for me.
That said, it’s been an interesting time. Since I was a nurse many years ago, the medical aspect of the corona virus is what captured my attention first. And I recently made a couple of posts about that–about ways to protect yourself and others by doing your part to flatten the curve (which is really the main weapon in a pandemic).
That’s been my practical response. And while I still mostly live in the practical, science-based world, I personally believe that Life is more than just events. 🙂 There are lessons–both practical and spiritual–in everything that happens.
I imagine most of us are familiar with the saying used when something bad turns out to be something good– a “blessing in disguise.” Not surprisingly, given how Life can be, there are a lot of quotes saying more or less the same thing or expounding on the premise. Here are some of my favorites.
Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself, and know that everything in life has purpose. There are no mistakes, no coincidences, all events are blessings given to us to learn from.Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
Opportunity often comes disguised in the form of misfortune, or temporary defeat.Napolean Hill
What seems to us as bitter trials are often blessings in disguise for which we are later, in the fullness of time and understanding, very grateful for!Oscar Wilde
What we count the ills of life are often blessings in disguise, resulting in good to us in the end. Though for the present not joyous but grievous, yet, if received in a right spirit, they work out fruits of righteousness for us at last.Matthew Henry
You get the gist. 🙂 And, quite likely, you have some personal experience that has made you accept or at least entertain the idea that good things do sometimes emerge from what at first seems to simply be bad things. I know I do!
Just as one example, as I related in the Mind Over Matter page on this site, many years ago, I had a really bad case of eczema on both of my hands–exacerbated by the fact that I needed to wear latex gloves at work in the ER. I was getting only temporary relief from traditional medicine, and the problem would return every time I stopped the meds (which were not meant for long-term use). This led to me discovering and using a meditation that essentially healed me, broke the cycle. The realization that my mind had this kind of (potential) power over my body was an awakening–you might even say a blessing. 😉
Of course, this example is a pretty minor “bad” thing as far as bad things go. I’ve had worse things happen to me than a bad case of eczema, rest assured! 🙂 You can find or may know lots of stories, I’m sure, that would be considered an example of a blessing in disguise. Anita Moorjani, in Dying to Be Me, relates her experience of getting cancer, having a near-death experience, and being healed of her cancer. Like me with my wimpy eczema, the “bad thing, ” the cancer ended up blessing Anita with a new outlook on life and with a deep-seated peace and joy that she did not have prior.
All the World is One
Unlike the personal stories above, this pandemic is interesting because it’s at once personal and global. Which, I suppose is similar to big events such as 9-11. This of course is different because it’s affecting way more individuals directly. The global effects are physical, economic and social.
When you think about how it all started with one person, it’s really amazing…and a demonstration of how small the world is in today’s age of easy global travel. This global connectedness is more than just physical, in my own belief system.
But, as good ol’ Peter Mayer says (I mention his music a lot 🙂 )
But earthlings don’t leave townAll the World Is One, Peter Mayer
They just go round and round
Until they figure out
All the world is one, all the world is one, all the world is one
Okay. So it’s officially a “hard time.” Stuff we don’t like is happening. For those who have lost loved ones, this discussion is by no means meant to trivialize your loss! 😞💗I am saddened by the loss of life–much of which I feel could have been avoided by better responses by multiple countries–a vital lesson that hopefully is being learned. This post is more generalized and will talk about what good might emerge from this not-good situation.
So. Here are some things I see as the blessings in disguise of this weird moment in time 🙂
Enforced rest or down time
You SHOULD BE practicing social distancing which means more time at home. You’ve likely seen all the musical parodies of people stuck at home…here’s one of my favorites:
Personally, I don’t really have more down time than usual as I have worked from home for years (on this blog and other projects). But, if you do find yourself with extra time on your hands, there are so many things you can do! Read a book, start a hobby (a garden–perfect time), do some spring cleaning, write letters or call old friends, help others and so on. This extra time at home–while not by choice-can become quite a fun and even productive time if you so choose!
Re-evaluation of job and money situation
Many people, of course, have taken a financial hit with this mess. You may have had your job switched to remote work. Or maybe you have decreased hours or no job at all. Of course, those last two suck. And cause angst in the moment. But there are good things that can come from all of these situations.
If your job has been switched to remote work–and if you like it, maybe it’s a change that can be made permanent. People working from home–when it makes sense to do so–seems like a wonderful thing. So much is alleviated and saved when people don’t have to drive to a different location to earn a living–time, gas money, wear and tear on cars, pollution, clothing and food costs etc…
If you are out of work, while it does suck in the moment, this can be a time to do a few things. First is maybe figuring out ways to simplify your life and spending habits…you may discover that you need less “stuff” to be happy. I am all for enjoying life’s abundance, but you may find that you are paying for things you don’t even use.
The bigger lesson, imo, is realizing that it’s good to have various streams of income. Many people love their jobs and might not ever willingly stop working. Of course, many people don’t love their jobs and would love to quit. 😛 What I am suggesting is that either way, it’s good to have income (and savings) from various sources. There are many ways to earn money that don’t involve a job per se. And these things can be a great source for times just like these. So this situation of losing your job or having less money can serve as the impetus you need to learn and to create other income.
Time and cause to reflect and wonder
I have seen a lot of people posting and talking about this crisis being a global call to “go within.” Maybe that’s just the circles I travel in? 😛 Whether you are a member of a traditional religion or you are “spiritual but not religious” (like me), a global event such as this definitely re-awakens (if you’ve fallen out of practice) or gives extra significance to your daily practice. This can only be a good thing, individually and collectively. To quote from one of my favorite poems, Desiderata, it’s always good to be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be.
Here’s the whole beautiful poem (because yes we have time for poetry these days 🙂 ):
Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.Desiderata by Max Ehrmann
So there’s the renewed going within …but there’s also a different sort of attentiveness I see happening. People are taking time for “small” things. Playing with their kids, talking to loved ones, noticing nature, thinking of others….the amazing joy and beauty that can be found in the small moments of every day life are being “re-discovered” by many. In the hustle and bustle of “normal” life, these things often get overlooked or brushed aside.
There’s a quote from Mr. Rogers that floats around a lot after tragedies:
“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster,’ I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers—so many caring people in this world.”Fred Rogers
Toilet-paper wresters, hoarders and other such people aside, it’s quite apparent that most people want to help others, and trying times are made lighter by all the kindness that pops up. There are so many layers of this–organizations doing the right thing by employees, charities and donations to meet needs…and then the individuals. Oh, the individuals! 🙂 I’ve seen people trying to help businesses adapt and survive, communities sewing masks, bright minds working on solutions, neighbors checking on neighbors…the list is endless! To be fair, there are so many good people out there doing kindnesses all the time. But tough times seem to bring out even more big-hearted people.
If you are one of these people I applaud you. 👏👏👏 If you are not, no worries. Sometimes we’re just not up for it, and it’s important to cut yourself a bit of slack, and practice self-care. Just keep in mind that helping others is a mood booster. 🙂
And remember, kindness doesn’t have to be newsworthy to make an impact. 🙂 Do something nice for someone in your household. Pick up trash in your neighborhood. You can do something nice even if you spend much of your day online– check out The Rainforest Site. Here you can click to donate (free) to a handful of charities. Also, if you find yourself shopping on amazon for deliveries, be sure to use smile.amazon.com and have a portion of your purchase support a charity you like.
Something I personally view as a kindness is humor. Laughter lifts us up and brightens our days. There is no shortage of humor being shared this days…primarily on social media. Song parodies and memes and stories. I love it! In fact, I made a mug based on a meme that made me laugh aloud. 🙂
So during this stressful time, be sure to nurture a sense of humor and to share that with those around you. They say laughter is the best medicine…well, it may not cure all, but it can certainly help with healing. Not to mention making the process more fun!
Interest in social/political involvement grows
I have no interest in getting into politics here. 🙂 These days, in the US, it’s a very divisive topic, sadly. I think that participation in the process can feel overwhelming and ineffective. But a situation such as this…which tends to make you question your own life and choices, also makes you look at your national leadership and how things are done. Someone shared the video below with me on Facebook and it really made sense to me. It’s not pro one party or the other but more about returning things to where people had a voice in shaping the laws of the land. To me, the more people get involved, the better. 🙂
It’s an interesting time to be alive. Though I did grow up in the tumultuous 60’s, I really don’t remember much of it. 😛 My Dad lived through the Great Depression. I often think of what it must have been like to be around during the 1918 Influenza pandemic.
To be sure, scary things do happen. But for me, it seems that the universe overall is a friendly place. That despite mistakes made and times of change, it keeps on supporting us. That’s my own conclusion, and it’s borne of my own convictions about God and Life. 🙂
For if we decide that the universe is an unfriendly place, then we will use our technology, our scientific discoveries and our natural resources to achieve safety and power by creating bigger walls to keep out the unfriendliness and bigger weapons to destroy all that which is unfriendly and I believe that we are getting to a place where technology is powerful enough that we may either completely isolate or destroy ourselves as well in this process.
If we decide that the universe is neither friendly nor unfriendly and that God is essentially ‘playing dice with the universe’, then we are simply victims to the random toss of the dice and our lives have no real purpose or meaning.
But if we decide that the universe is a friendly place, then we will use our technology, our scientific discoveries and our natural resources to create tools and models for understanding that universe. Because power and safety will come through understanding its workings and its motives.
God does not play dice with the universe.Albert Einstein
Normal life is busy. It’s so busy that it can be hard to pay attention to our spiritual life. Our spiritual life which requires regular moments of introspection and listening. Our spiritual life which really forms the basis of our outer lives (at least to my way of thinking).
Hard times disrupt the pattern. They force us to stop and re-think our habits and choices. Just as a health-crisis can cause someone to make changes to their lifestyle, this pandemic may just be the catalyst for change in our personal lives and in our national and global lives. Of course, it’s much nicer when there’s no need for a “wake up” event. 🙂
I saw this post on Facebook…and he had a good commentary with it. Basically his point–and I agree–is that it’s important that we as individuals and as a whole learn some lessons from the mess we are now in. Otherwise the opportunity is lost and the hardship was for naught. Kinda like a smoker who gets lung cancer, stops smoking for a short time while recuperating, but then goes right back to it…let’s don’t be that guy/gal 😛
I just feel as if we are being called to reassess. But, heck, who really knows? 😛 Still, I will leave you with this quote from Way of the Peaceful Warrior–I read this 30 + years ago…and just rediscovered this quote from the book….love it. 💗 Peace out ☮️
“Wake up! Wake up! Soon the person you believe you are will die – so now, wake up and be content with this knowledge: there is no need to search; achievement leads to nowhere. It makes no difference at all, so just be happy now! Love is the only reality of the world, because it is all ONE, you see. And the only laws are paradox, humor, and change. There is no problem, never was, and never will be. Release your struggle, let go of your mind, throw away your concerns, and relax into the world. No need to resist life; just do your best. Open your eyes and see that you are for more than you imagine. you are the world, you are the universe; you are yourself and everyone else too! It’s all the marvelous Play of God. Wake up, regain your humor. Don’t worry, just be happy. You are already free!”Dan MIllman, from Way of the Peaceful Warrior
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