We have been so focused on the physical poison that is COVID-19, that many of us have forgotten all about its medicine.
Without a doubt this virus is having many direct and indirect detrimental effects to our physical and mental wellbeing, some of them extreme. That people are losing their livelihoods, and in some cases their lives, is no small measure of the potentially deadly side-effects of COVID-19. But if we broaden our view and look to our global organism, does COVID-19 come as a messenger of life? Is there medicine for us and this broken system of ours, that scientists were already warning was threatening to collapse the entire biosphere?
The system that is our global consumerist culture is built off ensuring that we never settle in deeply enough to return to contented connection with ourselves or each other. If we did, what would we need to keep buying all that stuff for? The compulsive and largely unconscious haste to have all the latest tech and fashion, to move from one task to the next with barely a pause for breath, to tick things off bucket lists, to climb the ladder, to buy the car, to publish the papers, to get the likes, to achieve achieve achieve, is the fuel for the system that we have built that feeds the rich, robs the soul, and paves over all of life on the earth in the process.
All of this motion keeps us bouncing on the surface of life. We hop from one thing to the next, faster and faster all the time, this perpetual motion keeping our personal and societal nervous systems in a near state of constant fight or flight.
Like the sea skater, an insect that lives its entire life on the surface of seawater, we actually have no idea that there is an ocean of resource beneath us. We skit across the surface of life, settling for the mediocre gains of impulse buys and quick-fix solutions, numbing out against our own dissatisfaction with these lives that deep down inside we know were meant to mean something more.
And then the pandemic arrives, and globally the medicine that is the COVID-19 virus says STOP.
Stop. Stop all this rushing, all this doing, all this running around. You are killing yourselves, each other, and the planet. Take stock of what matters. Look at your lives, look at what you are creating…are you really happy? Don’t you think there might be more to life than the surface of it that you are skating on? Stop. Just stop.
I am not downplaying the very real suffering experienced by so many because of the pandemic. What I am addressing is how much suffering we have grown accustomed to as a part of “normal” life, as deep-diving sea creatures who have been forced for centuries to live in the upper 1% of what life wants for us.
We have the opportunity now to return to the depths from which we came, and to live life as we were born too. From those deep waters we still get to be a part of life at the surface. From down here, deep inside the centres of our own beings, we are summoned to emerge as life calls us to burst forth. As the whale traverses the vertical plane and bursts forth into the light of the sky, can we rise to what life truly asks of us, emerging in response to being genuinely called to a task, instead of living in the place of perpetual motion, ceaselessly bouncing from one thing to the next?
“…emergence occurs when an entity is observed to have properties its parts do not have on their own, properties or behaviors which emerge only when the parts interact in a wider whole.”(1)
Are we really apart? Or are we in fact more a part of something, this wider whole, than we have ever realized before?
Somehow, in all this pandemic-induced isolation, there really is an opportunity to return to connection with this wider whole, and to live again from that place, parts of us emerging in true response to our world, to each other, to what life is really asking of us.
So, I invite you, come and join me in the ocean. There are more and more of us here all the time! Here we learn how truly we were made to dive to the depths of our own souls and rise up from there, emerging with our life-giving essences to co-create as an essential part of this vastly magnificent whole.
1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emergence (accessed April 25, 2021)
For more on this subject see this beautiful interview I did with the incredible Ayana Young. COVID-19, A Chance to Stop, and Heal?