Staying at home during the novel coronavirus pandemic hasn’t just changed our daily routines, it’s dramatically impacted the larger world in which we live, perhaps forever. It’s easy to get caught up in all of the doomsday news about our overstressed health care system, broken economy, and political finger pointing. But I’ve also been thinking a lot – almost guiltily – about all of the good and opportunity for positive change that Covid-19’s global spread offers.
As Futurist Eric Meade so aptly points out in Soul Path Parenting Episode 27, “The Future Beyond Covid,” the Chinese word for crisis includes the elements of both danger and opportunity.
I’ve also had this running theory during the pandemic that this time of crisis might be related to what Pat Windom talks about in Episode 12 “Discovering Who We Are + How the Age of Aquarius is Shifting the Balance of Masculine & Feminine Energy on the Planet.”
I’ve been a bit afraid to share it because I do take the deadliness of this virus seriously, and I know my perspective might be controversial or misunderstood. So with that caveat here goes: What if, just what if, the Universe is using this pandemic to accelerate human evolution? Consider for a moment, if this viral pandemic might be a “hit us over the head with hammer” wakeup call from Source that says, it’s time to dramatically shift into feminine consciousness, which naturally favors community, nurturing, kindness, slowing down, and caring for our Mother Earth?
Windom asks, “This process of starting to know ourselves, what does that really mean? Who am I? I know what I present to the world, but what is the truth of me? That’s where we begin.”
When I hear that as carbon emissions fall, air quality around the world is skyrocketing, that animals in national parks are frolicking in habitats that once belonged only to them, that families and friends are creating new types of connections despite the constraints of physical separation, that parents are involved in their children’s education in new ways, or perhaps for the first time, I wonder if this experience might hold within it the possibility for humanity to rapidly evolve – especially in areas that were ripe for change before the coronavirus came knocking.
I thought it might be helpful for us all to pause, take a deep breath – of our cleaner air – and focus for a few minutes on some of the quieter lessons that are emerging from this crisis.
Being with Death
This might seem like a grim topic, but I feel that coming into close contact with death, having conversations about it with loved ones, and taking the time to consider our mortality is actually a good thing. Over the past several decades the human race has sped up and gone “tech” to the point where many of us have lost touch with the present, eternal moment. We’ve pushed death away. Our food supply has become plastic wrapped, frozen and boxed. Talking about death and dying has become somewhat of a taboo topic. Yet it’s one common denominator among all living things.
Personally, contemplating my own death has brought me renewed gratitude for the days I do have, and I’ve seriously considered what my contribution in this lifetime is, and what I want to continue to created it to be. A lot of wasted headspace I had dedicated to unnecessary crap has fallen away.
Even though may experts predict that soon after re-opening our pollution levels will rebound to previous destructive levels, I feel like the cat is out of the bag too far for many people to simply ignore the huge environmental impact that the stay-at-home “pause” had on our planet in just a few months. I believe many of us will no longer tolerate political stagnation around moving to cleaner energy and personal responsibility for our planet.
One big shift that could continue to provide a long-term reduction in carbon emissions and energy use, is working from home. Think of all the cars that won’t have to leave the garage. All the office space that won’t need to be used. And perhaps families who no longer have a parent who commutes– out of necessity or common sense – will replace a car or in favor of a bike or scooter.
Our Relationship to Work
Speaking of work, millions are now working from home. As an introvert who’s very in tune with my natural energetic rhythms, I’ve always preferred working from home. I haven’t always been able to. But when I got very conscious about re-creating my professional life, working at my own pace, on my own schedule and in an environment most conducive to my own health and wellbeing, I chose to work from home.
When I did, my productivity, creativity and success soared. It’s funny, looking back, in the first couple of years that I worked for myself from home, I felt so guilty to go out for a run or hike mid-day, when all my former colleagues in the corporate world were chained to their desks, their every move closely monitored by those around them.
I whole-heartedly believe that for most people, working when they are most energized and focused, whether it’s late at night, early in the morning, or in bursts throughout the day, is a win-win for both the worker and those they work for – whether it’s an employer or their own customers and clients.
We’re bound to see a lot more people jumping into entrepreneurism, and considering pursuing long-abandoned or postponed passion projects.
While many of us have struggled to balance work, child rearing, and marriage, all cooped up together, I have been loving being with my husband and daughter. Sure, tempers flare, we get frustrated at the constantly shifting landscape of our day-to-day, but I have seen my workaholic husband noticeably relax, and my daughter bond to us in ways that weren’t possible before.
For years my husband has suffered from chronic insomnia. He’s also had a habit of scratching his itchy scalp, especially in super stressful moments. Two month’s into staying at home, and both of these conditions have completely disappeared.
As a believer in mind-body health, I imagine many people will discover that chronic health conditions, especially the mysterious ones like fatigue, headaches, low back pain, and depression may experience unexpected healing thanks to our “new normal” during and after COVID.
Meade talks a lot about how the coronavirus pandemic has upended our education system.
As a huge proponent of self-directed and experiential learning – I was raised in a Montessori environment – I have loathed the prospect of sending my child to public school. What a blessing and opportunity for parents to be able to guide their children and chaperone in a new era where our young people are free to explore subjects and experiences at their own pace and as they encounter new curiosities and passions.
Similar to the way many adults may find themselves more productive and creative in their homes, our children now have the chance to learn, not chained to a desk in a factory-like setting, but in the outdoors, in the world around them, and from the comfort of familiar and supportive surroundings.
Eating Local & Eating Less Meat
Not since World War II has our country experienced food shortages like we’re seeing today. For most generations, alive in the U.S. right now, we have never seen empty shelves or been unable to get a product for weeks on end.
While the waste and destruction of food animals due to supply chain issues is truly tragic, it’s also simultaneously raised awareness for animal right issues trumpeted by vegans for years, and forced many of us to cut back on meat, or go vegetarian or vegan all together.
I also wonder if people’s health is improving from lack of access, or at least reduced access to fast food. Without the grab-and-go lifestyle of commuting and eating in our cars, health is bound to improve.
In my family, we’re getting creative with all sorts of meat-free recipes. I’m finally learning to cook Indian recipes, something I’ve wanted to do but never had the time or energy to take on. In fact, gourmet cooking has become of my biggest stress-reducers during the pandemic.
How We Work Out – and When
Speaking of eating well, I’ve also upped my workouts during stay-at-home. Firstly, to combat all the potential extra calories, but also as something fun to do that feels really good.
Without most other activities, like shopping, going out to restaurants with friends, or heading to a movie, off limits, I bet lots of people are getting outdoors for walks and jogs they never took before. My guilty pleasure is Zumba. As a yoga teacher, I would never have been caught dead in a Zumba class. But I’ve been tuning in to my favorite Miami Beach instructor on a nearly daily basis. It’s not just the physical workout that’s been so uplifting, it’s also the comedy of my husband watching me bumbling through the dance moves like Elaine on Seinfeld, while my preschooler joins in.
Connectedness and Community
The coronavirus has left no corner of the globe untouched. The virus does not discriminate based on race, religion or class. From the Prince of Wales to refugees in Syria, Covid-19 is infecting people.
We’re all clearly in this together.
In my life, I’ve found that I’m talking to friends I haven’t spoken with in years, and I’m talking with my close friends – by phone or video, of course – more frequently. There seems to be a compulsion to check in and care take that wasn’t there when we were all so “busy.”
Gratitude for the Simple Things
Overall, I think this whole experience will leave us taking far less for granted. We’ll wake up thankful for the blessing of another day, be much more conscious about how we spend it, and be less inclined to seek our happiness in material consumption. The things that will matter will be simple, like the ability to hug a loved one we haven’t seen in months, eating a tomato from our new backyard garden, family move night, a good book.
As Windom said: “We are a combination of human and divine. That means that for each person it is about understanding that everything we need is within ourselves.”