It seems like the world is freaking out a bit right now…
And maybe for a good reason.
I am in one of the last places where the COVID-19 virus isn’t. I guess living in “the middle of nowhere” (as I affectionately call it) is useful sometimes!
The virus is getting closer, but there are no confirmed cases in the towns near me.
I am aware that there are many people who are hurting right now, and for that I wish to express love and concern.
While I do not know what the future holds, I want to talk about the general fear and chaos many people are experiencing right now.
I heard yesterday that 150 million people might die from the virus in the US.
When I heard how many people could die, I felt fear and panic.
When I was fearful and panicked, what did I do?
I worried, I stocked up on supplies, I obsessed over the virus, I didn’t sleep at night, I endlessly scrolled through social media and news, I talked about it with adults, and warned my children about what could happen. I started being a nervous wreck.
I am not sure that this was the best choice and I've been reflecting on my actions.
Did those actions serve anyone?
Did they help?
Did they relieve suffering or create more suffering?
I believe that the answer is no. What I did when I was afraid and panicked didn’t help anyone or create peace.
It created more suffering and chaos.
The fear was NOT USEFUL.
I am not preventing or relieving suffering in any way when I am fearful and panicked.
I actually create more suffering by suffering right now, and I create more suffering in my children as they watch the chaos the adults around them are creating.
All of that is not helpful.
Worrying now about potential worse things in the future only makes me miserable right now.
So I ask, what is the worst that can happen with this virus?
We could all feel negative emotions.
Now I know what you’re thinking - NO! People are dying! The economy could collapse!
Hear me out: even if bad things happen, they are bad because of what we FEEL.
(Even if we get sick. Even if people die. Even if the economy suffers. Even if terrible things happen.)
The worst thing that will happen will be what we feel.
If we get sick - we’ll feel worry, pain, sadness, and/or frustration.
If someone we love dies - we’ll feel sorrow, pain, regret, and/or anger.
If the economy struggles - we’ll feel hopeless, frustrated, anxious, and/or discouraged.
In every situation, the worst part would not be the thing happening, it would be what we would FEEL when it happened.
So something might happen, and then we would feel bad.
But so many people are feeling terrible RIGHT NOW while they wait for something terrible to happen!!
So I have to ask: Is it necessary? Is it useful? Is it even helping?
What if I stop and think about what would actually be helpful to myself, my family, my friends, my neighbors, and the world?
What can I do right now to help us all have the best outcome?
I need to wash my hands a lot, teach about cleanliness, stay home, make sure we have supplies, reach out to people in need, comfort my friends…But otherwise, live life as normal.
Those are the things in my control that I can do to help.
When I feel fearful and anxious, I do not do them nearly as effectively.
Fear and anxiety cause me to shut down, withdraw, and feel terrible.
So I ask you, is being afraid and anxious useful?
In my opinion - not at all.
What if instead of focusing on the things we wish were not happening, we all start focusing on the good things that are happening?
What if we consider what is going to be beautiful about this situation?
There are actually good things happening right now.
I saw a homeschool mom volunteer to have kids who are no longer in school come stay with her, and a collection of other homeschool moms, during the day, so that working parents could continue to work.
I’ve seen other mothers posting ideas for parents on how to maintain calm in their homes through this experience. I’ve seen people posting ideas about how to do school at home for these “emergency homeschoolers” whose kids can no longer attend school.
People are sharing their knowledge, expertise, and talents in this time of need, such as a friend of mine who is helping parents learn how to help their nervous kids cope. So many people are coming together, or in this case - NOT (stay far away!) in order to help, lift, and comfort those who need it right now.
So many organizations are shutting down, not in defeat, but in support of the doctors and nurses who are going to serve those who get sick. Events are being cancelled so that the spread is slowed to a level that is more manageable than if we did nothing.
There are a lot of good people in the world doing their best to help everyone through this.
It is beautiful.
So I am not afraid.
I am rejoicing in humanity.
I am basking in the love people have for others.
I am happy that all of us are joining together to make sure this virus spreads as slowly as possible, to help those most at risk, so that we have the best outcome possible.
I think that is amazing.
I do not want to focus on the worst case scenarios and the possible future implications today, because that causes me to live fearfully, which helps no one.
Today I want to live fully, and appreciate all those who are doing what they can to help.
We can go through this in terror, or in awe of humanity.
I appreciate the love and kindness being shared as this virus affects us all.
I feel great peace knowing that we can all come together for a common good.
I think in the end everything will turn out all right.
We may feel some negative emotions when it all plays out, but today I can feel peace, love, and gratitude.
Those feel amazing!
If you’d like to join me, I invite you to see the rainbow during the rainstorm today.
What goodness have you seen during the uncertainty of this virus?
If we all take a deep breath and look around for the beauty, this will be a much better journey.
It still may be a journey filled with sorrow and heartache, but we can look for the beauty along the way, and that will help.
Wishing you peace today.
P.S. If you know of a way people can help during this time of need, please post it here. Thank you!