EDITOR’S NOTE: You can find a number of helpful coronavirus resources and all related Tiny Buddha articles here.
“We must be willing to let go of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” ~Joseph Campbell
It’s hard to believe the state of the world we are in. It feels like 2020 has become the plot of an apocalyptic movie.
A microscopic virus invades planet earth targeting human beings. As mass numbers of human beings retreat indoors, wildlife begins to flourish. Slowly, continent by continent, the human bacteria is eliminated. Only the strongest of the species survive and mutate, creating a new breed of homo sapiens. Finally, planet earth can breathe.
Who would have ever thought that something like this would stop the world in its tracks? (Well, Bill Gates, apparently.)
I’m ashamed to admit that my weekly screen-time phone report was up 73 percent last week, and I highly doubt I was the only one. Anytime I reached for my phone, I was pulled down a rabbit hole of news reports with terrifying headlines, live videos around the world, reading new laws, catching up with hundreds of WhatsApp and Facebook messages. I could not concentrate on anything for longer than a second, and my regular meditation routine was thrown out the window.
Anxiety is a beast, and it’s been thriving in this type of environment. My little anxious dog-brain is running around in circles with all sorts of horrible scenarios.
I had the next six months of my life meticulously planned and lined up so perfectly: completing my placement at the hospital, working part-time, graduating from school, getting married in Canada. But everything seems to be floating now, held in the air, and I’m just waiting for the pieces to drop.
There are people I know who have it so much worse. They’ve lost their jobs, are forced to move out of their homes because they can’t pay rent.
Not to mention the people who are actually sick with Coronavirus, how terrifying that it might be. Living in make-shift hospital tents, being tended to by nurses in hazmat suits, their families praying they will make it out alive. Or those who are dying of something else entirely and can’t have visitors to say goodbye on their last days alive.
The repercussions of this are far-reaching and heartbreaking. It’s been devastating for so many of us, and my heart feels a culmination of pain from everywhere.
However, amongst all the pain and chaos, there is a silver lining: we are all united. We are literally all in this together, whether you live in a small village of Afghanistan or in an upscale neighborhood in California. The entire world is working together to help each other, to fix this mess.
The power of love and community can be seen with touching videos of people singing to each other on their balconies and rooftops in Italy. Or people leaving messages in my mailbox letting me know that they can pick up groceries, or medication if I’m sick.
The virus knows no status, no religion, no ethnicity. Under this, we are all equal, we are all just human; fragile and mortal little creatures.
When faced with a pandemic, we get to see the meaninglessness of so many things in our lives. The superficial fancy clothes and expensive cars, what does that give you, ultimately? How much importance does that have right now? Or the planning and planning and saving for ‘later’ when what if there is no later? The working in jobs we hate, with people who infuriate us because we’re too afraid of change, or too afraid to fail?
It is a highly stressful and volatile time, there is no doubt about that. I am not going to sit here and tell you how you need to remain positive and grateful and blah blah blah. Feel whatever you feel, allow it to run its course. It’s absolutely normal to feel powerless and afraid, and you are certainly not alone. In fact, you could not be less alone in your state of mind right about now.
But it’s also important to remember that human beings are resilient little creatures—that means you. Yes, you reading this right now. You are a resilient being and this is going to make you stronger.
Imagine the creativity that will emerge during this time of quarantine? Imagine the art, the songs, the writing, the stories, the incredible ingenuity that will be born from this time?
We are resilient beings and our minds can run far and wide. We might feel the fear and anxiety, but we can also feel creativity and compassion. This is a time for humans to reanalyze the world we live in. To take a break from the rat race that is society and find something authentic and true within ourselves.
The story of humanity will not end with us being annihilated by the coronavirus, we will overcome. But maybe, and hopefully, what will die out is an old stale form of society.
Perhaps this is an opportunity for humankind to make a more sustainable world, not only for the planet but for us humans too.
Maybe it’s a sneak peak of a world where we’re not just another cog in the wheel of a giant corporate machine, but a place where we can bring our true humanity, our innate gifts. This virus has forced to reconsider everything, and the leaders of our worlds are struggling to handle it all. This is precisely where change happens.
Every day is a new day and in today’s world, we cannot predict what will happen in an hour, let alone tomorrow. Now is the time to rest and incubate your mind, allowing it to bask in its own creative juices. It’s a time of unprecedented change. Allow that resilience and creativity that is innate in you to spread.
The world is waiting.
About Kimberly Hetherington
Kimberly Hetherington is a Canadian writer and Art Therapist based in Sydney, Australia. She loves to write, read, create, listen to podcasts, be in nature, and experience the kind of conversations that go beyond the ‘mask’ of everyday life. Check out her website for more on her journey through grief and loss, to hope and self-discovery.