Good evening y’all,
Although I did not plan on writing about this topic, simply because of the number of voices already speaking on it, I have decided to address COVID-19. I have spent most of my week at work tirelessly planning and strategizing how both the company I work for, and I can respond to this outbreak. Between the news, social media, and internet updates I carry a heavy heart and feel trapped in a panic bubble.
Currently, the Coronavirus pandemic has rocked the world. Italy is locked down, travel bans have been enacted, and here locally Houston has canceled the Rodeo. This week, we have also seen the NBA cancel its season, schools and universities are converting to online curriculums, and workers are being asked to stay home. On top of this, many of the grocery store shelves are barren as panic buying of toiletries and food continues. With each passing hour, we await more news, information developing in real-time flashes across our screens. For those of us who turn online for our shopping needs, the words “out of stock” and “currently unavailable” are all we seem to see.
Twitter, a platform I frequent in hopes of laughter is currently full of my generation doing what we do best. Self-deprecating humor, however funny, is all over my feed. Aside from a few laughs and a momentary escape, I still feel quite uneasy.
Personally, although having once believed in a higher power, I no longer find myself looking to the sky for comfort. Rather, I seem to be tapping into a deep sense of care for other people, looking inward at what I can do, right now. A strong desire to wrap my arms around the world surges from my core.
Times of disaster will often stir up within us feelings of anxiety, helplessness, and remind us of how quickly our sense of safety can vanish. Death, pain, and suffering are never pleasant, and our minds may be adjusting to a new reality. In moments like this, it is important to remember that feelings of loneliness, isolation, and fear are normal. If you are experiencing any leveling of these emotions, I assure you that you are not alone.
Although things like toilet paper, soap, and sanitary wipes may be out of stock, there are a few things I am confident are not. We can never run out of compassion and kindness. In our daily lives, whether physically or virtually, we still have an opportunity to be human. Sending that skype, text, or making that phone call to express appreciation for others and concern for your community is well worth it. The impact of our video chat or tweet may help calm the nerves of our fellow humans.
We are not alone. We are not helpless. Most importantly, it is the we that gives us strength.
Right now, self-distancing is appropriate. As events and conferences continue to postpone or shutdown let’s not forget that it is for our benefit. The means available to us to extend kindness are vast. Let us do our best not to allow our worry and anxiety to blind us from the very real effects this disaster is having on others. I think of the families who need to be at work, sitting at home wondering how they will pay rent. I wonder what I can do to help the children whose primary meals came from the school that is now closed. My heart also extends towards the elderly, who already may be feeling isolated and concerned, let us not forget them.
Recognizing that our cul-de-sac of panic serves no purpose is vital now more than ever. By no means am I suggesting that we bury our feelings. Rather I am suggesting the opposite! Reaching out, asking for help, and managing our anxiety is extremely important. When we address our needs, we leverage ourselves to be in a better position to assist others. When we become free, even if only slightly, from the shackles of fear, we can then extend compassion to others in a proactive way.
Friends, let us not allow our frustrations to disrupt our ability to be kind. Although our medical and governmental infrastructure may not be fully prepared for moments like this, I hope we use this as an opportunity to beef up our capacity for empathy. Compassion, empathy, and kindness, although not available on Amazon, is never out of stock.
With that said, I wish you all safety and health. Now more than ever may we find a reason to carry on.
Namaste friends, I am sending my love.
**Editor’s Note: By the time this post goes live, the United States will have officially declared this outbreak a National Emergency. As the situation escalates and develops let us continue to wish our leaders, doctors, and fellow humans well.**