It’s been over a full year since I’ve posted to this blog. A lot can happen in a year. Turns out a whole lot. We are currently living through a global pandemic and public health crisis. Never in a lifetime could I have predicted this one.
I’ve missed writing on this blog. I needed a break though. I’d spent two plus years nearly full-time processing bottomless wells of grief and loss in my mind that my internal compass navigated me away from writing about it, directing me rather to live and contemplate and not write about it here. So that’s what I did. That internal compass is now directing me back to this blog. To write and process. Process and write. The two things happen together.
So much to process.
Following the first few of weeks of the coronavirus becoming something real in all of our lives, I was triggered like a motherfucker. I was also somewhat surprised by this triggering. Why though?
Because something I have learned about myself since GR died is that I resist acknowledging and accepting my humanness. It’s not at all in a pompous way, like I think I am better than any other human. Quite the contrary. It comes from a place of trying to protect myself from pain and suffering. Somewhere along the lines my ego has created a false notion that if I can intellectually understand something then I can make sense of it, rationalize it, and accept it without having to be so intensely affected by it.
Isn’t that some BULLLLLLLSHIT?
I’ve learned this about myself only by trying to do it over and over again without success. By feeling my body and my heart and my spirit not in alignment with my mind. Over the past couple of years my mind has felt more active, more disturbed, more conflicted and, as a result, weaker. It was, quite frankly, overworked and underpaid.
I needed to come back to my body. To listen to what my body was telling me. The discordance I felt between my body and my mind waved the red flag. On that red flag read the words: Do not believe everything your mind says, but your body…your heart…your lungs…your belly…your muscles…your bones…the deep aches in your joints and in your bones…believe them. They are telling you the truth.
This is a lesson my soul needed to learn. A lesson that has showed itself in myriad ways in myriad situations over the past few years. I’ve had to get quiet enough to listen to the quiet yet booming voice inside me.
The magnification of concepts that I am no stranger to—such as fear, loss, uncertainty, death, illness, and lack of control—via the coronavirus has sent messages that I could not ignore, that needed to be received. I received these messages loud and clear on the many nights that I sat in the bathtub crying and wondering what was wrong with me. Wondering why I felt so scared because my mind was simultaneously telling me, You have experienced uncertainty before. You have experienced health crises before. You have spent months in a hospital witnessing a person you love be ravaged by a disease. You have witnessed the death of a loved one right in front of your eyes before. You have lost so much. You have been here. You should be better at handling all of this.
You *should* be better at handling all of this.
There it is. The nonacceptance. The nonacceptance of my humanness.
The inability to accept that I am scared precisely BECAUSE I have already experienced the aforementioned fears before, just in different circumstances.
So, I sat there in the bathtub on many a nights—water is quite healing, I’ve found—and I said to myself over and over, You are scared. Period. And that’s okay. You are allowed to be scared, Brooke. For fuck’s sake, you are allowed to be scared.
What a relief that was. To not beat myself up for not being *better* at being… a fucking human being!
This pandemic has triggered so many emotions in me that feel exactly like grief–and what a life teacher grief can be.
Out of all my life experiences, I would say that it is grief that has forced me to move closer to acceptance of the fact that I am human. It is grief that has taught me that I can’t outsmart my pain and suffering, that I can’t outsmart life. That it is larger than all of us and therefore forces us—even as we fruitlessly fight against it—to surrender.
I am not necessarily grateful for this pandemic nor for all the lives that have been lost as a result of it and all of the loved ones of those people who have died who are not able to mourn them publicly and with the arms of others wrapped around them, providing comfort and condolences. I am not grateful for the fear that the frontline health care workers have experienced whose lives have been put on the line without proper protection equipment. I am not grateful for all the people in this country who have lost their jobs and their livelihoods. I am not grateful for all the people who were already living in poverty or homelessness or in other challenging circumstances whose lives have become exponentially more difficult.
I am, however, grateful for the opportunity that this larger-than-us global experience has presented me one more time and, simply, in another package with a different bow and ribbon, the opportunity to be fully human.
A gift that will keep on giving.