Hi, dear souls.
What a surreal journey we are on together.
I came into this time feeling genuinely positive. I still do, as it’s in my nature to see and believe in the gifts of all people and scenarios, even if that means not allowing myself to fully recognize and feel into the difficult emotions that accompany them. But they always surface, usually with gusto proportional to the amount of time they were suppressed.
As the novel aspects of the pandemic have worn off – staying at home, teaching with my sweatpants on, replenishing my energy – I have started to really marinate in the heaviness, the confusion, the sadness, the chaos, and the loss.
I see this challenge as an opportunity for growth. It’s forcing me to learn a new strength – sitting with the difficult emotions. For the first time maybe ever, I have the time and space to really do this. All it takes is the willingness to get quiet and go inward, sit in stillness as they come up and pass through, breathing through it all. But as humans, we are shockingly afraid to create that space and let those emotions in. We’re afraid the pain will be too crushing, so we avoid it at all costs.
But what I’m learning is that pain loses power over us when we shine light on it. The further we lean into it and the more vulnerable we get, the less pressure it puts on us.
So today I've decided to put my difficult emotions out in the open. What's plaguing me most is grief for the tremendous suffering that so many are undergoing right now. I feel guilt and shame over not being able to do anything helpful, not being out there with those who are actively working to heal the world, and being inexplicably blessed with my health and basic needs.
While not enough, I’ve decided to use my words to express my profound gratitude and awe for those fighting the pandemic daily, and those struggling to keep their heads above water amidst financial turmoil and mental health crises. This post is a bow, a namaste, a tribute to their courageous and beautiful hearts. This post is a prayer that they might be uplifted. This post is a call for all of us to hold them in our hearts and seek out the ways we can be of service.
I want to be very clear that I am not in ANY way comparing my experience to those directly impacted by the virus, working on the front lines, or suffering from debilitating mental illness. My challenges are not remotely comparable to theirs, and it is not lost on me how immensely I am blessed.
The Love Letter
To those on the front lines of fighting this virus, working from the moment your eyes open in the morning to the moment your head hits the pillow at night (or not) – a deep and profound thank you doesn’t seem to quite cover it. We are in awe of your resilience, grit, dedication, sacrifice, selflessness, courage, grace, and strength. May we hold in our hearts the knowledge that you are slogging through a virtual war zone each day, overworked, undersupplied, and often unthanked. May we acknowledge that you are battling for your own sanity and survival. May we bow reverently to you – incredible, unwavering heroes. May we continue to support you by doing our part to stay home, donating the supplies we have, protecting and serving our elderly, and showering you with fortitude, energy, and love in our daily spiritual practices.
To those tirelessly working deliveries – we appreciate you more than you know. Thank you for keeping this world moving, helping us fulfill our needs, and maintaining incredible grace and kindness in the midst of endless work. May we continue to support you by reflecting grace and kindness back to you, by showing respect and admiration for the non-stop work you are doing, and by doing our part to keep you safe and healthy.
To those working in food service, particularly grocery stores, family-owned restaurants, and small, local providers – thank you. You are putting yourself at risk daily by showing up, carrying on, and providing us with nourishment, joy, and a sense of normalcy. In the whirlwind of unkindness, impatience, and lack mentality that has taken over our shopping and dining experiences, I cannot imagine that you don’t feel depleted and unnoticed. We see you, we notice you, we are deeply grateful for you. May we never forget the difficult work you do and the way you have struggled to keep afloat. May we continue to support you by seeking out the businesses whose needs are most dire and giving them our respectful and appreciative business.
To those working public transportation and ride services – thank you for putting yourself at risk in service of those who do not have access to other modes of transportation. Those who need to continue working in order to put food on the table for themselves and their children would not be able to do so without you. The work you are doing is heroic. May we keep you safe and supported by taking precautionary measures like wearing homemade masks, gloves, keeping our distance, and thanking you humbly and graciously.
To janitorial and sanitation workers – thank you for working to diligently to keep us safe at your own risk. Thank you for the extra physical and mental work you are putting in. Your job is more important than ever, and I marvel at your courage and dedication. I cannot imagine the conditions you must be working in, the hours, the anxiety, the thanklessness. May we show our appreciation in our thoughts, words, and actions. May we never forget your necessity in our society. May we treat you like the heroes you are, remembering that your work is preventing many of us from illness.
To those working in education – wow. The innovation that has gone down in the teaching world over the past few weeks is astonishing. In a week, you shifted to a fully online curriculum, fielding new issues with technology, effective delivery, classroom management, and so much more. You are rockstars and superheroes. You have brave, loving, passionate hearts. You refuse to stop being there for your students. You are making this situation bearable for them by providing a sense of normalcy. Thank you. May we continue to support you with our absolute awe, kindness, love, and respect, and by fighting diligently for policy that supports you in the ways you deserve.
To those working from home while suddenly parenting 24/7 – thank you for your patient, open, resilient hearts. You are riding the waves as they come. I imagine you feel like all you can do is keep your head above water day by day, hour by hour. The work you are doing is valiant, courageous, difficult, messy, and sacred. You are lovingly holding space for your children as they empathically field the difficulties of this time. You are continuing to support your family with your work. May we continue to support you with our love, and by reaching out to learn how we can be of service.
To those suffering financially, my heart goes out to you with deep compassion. This world has not done enough to see, hear, and protect you. May you be Divinely guided to new sources, new opportunities, new beacons of hope. May we hold your struggle in our hearts and let it remind us never to take the fulfillment of our basic needs for granted. May we support you with financial generosity as we are able, and by reaching out to learn about your experience.
To those suffering from mental illness due to the uncertainty, weight, and loneliness of this time, my heart aches to imagine your pain. Please do not feel any obligation to be productive, to create anything, to move your body of it doesn’t want to move, or to do anything other than simply surmount one day, hour, moment, and breath at a time. If positivity feels impossible to you, that is more than okay. You are valid. You are not broken. You are not alone. May we lovingly sit vigil to your experience, knowing that you are shedding deep layers of pain from this life and lives past, and that is sacred work. May we imagine you uplifted from that pain, covered in light and love.
To those suffering from physical illness, I wish you deep, profound, and fast healing. I am so sorry we did not do more to protect you from this experience. Thank you for being warriors during this time, bravely withstanding the fear and uncertainty. May we do our part to assist hospitals and other medical facilities that they are able to do their best work in tending to you. May we especially lift up those of you who do not have the gift of familial support or presence at this time. May we send bands of angels to your side, reminding you that you are never alone. May you find it within yourself to keep fighting and to imagine your body fully healed and thriving.
We see you. We love you. We wrap our hearts around you.
Thank you for your brave sacrifices. Thank you for blazing new trails. Thank you for seeking solutions for a better world. Thank you being an example of facing the pain and turmoil head-on.