I don’t watch or read news because I have a physical reaction to it. I used to think this made me ignorant and uninformed but in my recent study about Highly Sensitive People (and children), I realized, I just can’t process bad news fast enough for it to be worth my time and energy. Living in the USA for the past 25 years almost, I realized: every news worth knowing will be replayed ad nauseam anyway so there is not much one can truly miss.
Somehow, in spite of me being ill informed, I was one of the first people that responded to the COVID-19 virus spread in New York City. Worried about my almost 4 year old who was born premature and had a case of wheezing for which he was hospitalized twice (both time in April, last year and the year before that), I was in mild terror that we may be witnessing another similar experience. Watching your child struggle to breathe and staring at the monitor with oxygen levels endlessly praying, meditating or trying to manifest a good outcome is not something I wanted repeated, so I took my chances and convinced my husband that we should keep both of our kids at home until we know more about what is going on.
More than a month ago, we isolated in our own New York City apartment because that seemed the most sensible thing to do. We both work from home, our older was set up for homeschooling and the younger one kept keeping us on our toes with his, almost constant, need of attention. I had a strong feeling that the world was facing a problem that will take weeks, months and perhaps an entire year or so to solve. I didn’t panic, I was just aware.
I tried to keep things normal in all the ways that made sense: we could still do work, make sure our son is doing school work, give activities to our younger one, make meals on time, put kids to bed early enough so we can all be rested. We upped our vitamine intake and meditation, and some moments alone so we can disconnect and recharge as having young boys at home can truly be draining. Of course, in all the other ways, things were looking less, what we considered, “normal.” The future was uncertain in a very obvious, palpable, in-your-face way.
The biggest joke of it all, however, is that life has always been uncertain. Most of the stories we read or watch movies about are about the turning points in life when things stopped being one way and were suddently a differnt way causing the main character to undergo personal growth in order to survive or overcome the obstacle he/she was now facing. Isn’t this life? Why do we live like tomorrow is promised to us when there is truly no guarantee for it?
Intellectually, this made sense, but, at least for me, I didn’t really get it. Not until I set with the discomfort of this thought and the new reality that made it unavoidable. And, while terrifying at first, there was something magical arising from the knowing that we can’t control life. We can’t control life and yet, life continues: the sun comes out every day, even when we can’t see it clearly through the clouds…We can’t control life but we can align with our breath, get present to it and feel the relief of the burdens we carry that aren’t even ours. We can deepen our breath with intention to turn to more light, more life without standing in it’s way, finding the magic in the uncertainty.