This is May 1, marking our 48 day of self-isolation. They say it takes 30 days to form a habit. Trust me, this is one habit I will be happy to break.
As of this writing 31 states are planning to reopen for business. I am sure the other 19 will not be far behind. I think most of us agree that our economy is important for the care and wellbeing of our country and her citizens. Or at least the country we’ve created. Let's face it, we are country of consumerism that has consumed us and devoured us for as long as I have been alive. We are both the consumer and the product. Manufactured for profit.
I see this time as a gift we’ve been given to be still on the inside. One day we will miss this moment for what it is - a time of rest, a time of rediscovery, a time of renewal and reset.
If this stay at home order has shown me anything it’s that we can survive the factory shutting down. We can survive as human beings. We can’t as products. We are not material beings, we are human beings. But we are actually more than that.
When the engines of the world restart, when the conveyor belt begins to move, I hope that we will remember what the ancient mystics taught us. That is, we are not human beings having a spiritual experience but spiritual beings having a human experience.
There is so much noise still going on across the airwaves to attract us to one side of the debate or the other. This noise will continue, and most likely grow louder the closer we get to reopening “normal.” But right now we’ve been given an opportunity to hear the quiet. We’ve been given this space to be fully awake, to experience true peace and calm. The universe is waking us up, reminding us of our true selves, our real reality. That is, not to work or fight ourselves to death, but to be fully alive and fully present. To be wide awake in ways we are only used to dreaming about.
A few decades ago a wise man wrote:
To be calm and quiet by yourself is not the same as sleeping. In fact, it means being fully awake and following with close attention every move going on inside of you. It requires the discipline to recognize the urge to get up and go as a temptation to look elsewhere for what is really close at hand. It offers the freedom to stroll through your own inner yard and rake up the leaves and clear the path so you can easily find the way to your heart. Perhaps there will be fear and uncertainty when you first come upon this “unfamiliar terrain,” but slowly and surely you will discover an order and a familiarity that deepens your longing to stay home with yourself.
I hope you will use this time, however much is left, to find and redefine yourself. To use this time to realign your heart with that spiritual being inside you so that your human experience will be the best it can possibly be. To borrow from the hucksters and marketers, this is the opportunity of a lifetime. What will we do with it? How will we transition our hearts, our homes, our lifestyles in such a way that commerce cannot help but follow.
A friend recently asked me, “What’s helping you stay positive during this pandemic?” My answer was simple. “I see this time as a gift we’ve been given to be still on the inside. One day we will miss this moment for what it is - a time of rest, a time of rediscovery, a time of renewal and reset.”
It’s time to be fully alive and really awake. It’s a time to stop dreaming who we want to be, and start living into being that person we’ve only dreamt about becoming. It’s a time to realize we are spiritual beings who are given a chance to have a human experience. How then will you experience this precious gift of life today, and moving forward?
Quote by Henri Nouwen, You Are The Beloved, (New York: Convergant, 2017).