This weekend saw me facilitating my first Heart of Thriving retreat completely virtually.
The group and I met on zoom for several two-hour periods over the weekend, interspersed with periods of reflection and ‘homework’ that people did on their own. Sometimes we broke into smaller groups, again on zoom, to explore particular themes.
It all worked much better than I thought it would (I have always been a “being-in-the-same-room-junkie” type of girl!)
One of the themes we explored, of course, was the Coronavirus pandemic, and how we could stay conscious, kind, aware, compassionate and resilient in the face of this unprecedented situation.
We are probably days away now from an inevitable Italy-style lockdown.
We asked ourselves the question: “What are the hidden or invisible gifts in all this?”
I’m not being glib, or minimising the anxiety, suffering and struggle people are experiencing right now. I know it’s going to get much worse before it gets better. I know that many millions are worried about vulnerable relatives, their own health, and the loss to livelihoods.
But there are gifts too. Here are some that I see:
This might just be the miracle that saves our planet and it’s ecological systems. It’s impossible to say this with any certainty right now… but look at the pictures from space showing the incredible reduction in carbon emissions and pollution. Look at the way nature is already bouncing back.
A huge upswing in connection and contribution. From the thousands of groups being set up to support each other in our communities. Looking after the vulnerable. The incredible stories of love, kindness and compassion I am hearing. People are finding the meaning, joy and purpose that comes from service. I have never felt more connected with the entire global community than I do right now.
Paradoxically, as we become more isolated physically, we are becoming more connected emotionally and spiritually.
As I’ve said before in my blogs, I believe the entire climate and ecological emergency – at its core – stems from disconnection. Disconnection from ourselves, other people, and from nature. Maybe this emergency is allowing us to start truly connecting again.
A re-evaluation of what’s most important. When the **** hits the fan, we come back to what really matters. I’m seeing this everywhere. People tell me they are questioning the goals and dreams they’ve been working towards for years. They are seeing through the “toxic” nature of some of these goals – which are all about acquiring more stuff, or achieving, or wanting to feel better about themselves through external means.
I’m hearing more and more people touching what I’d call “soul goals” – allowing themselves to prioritise their deepest callings. They are also deepening their most important relationships with family and friends.
The pandemic, and the enforced “retreat” that self-isolation brings allows us to go deeper and awaken to a higher level of consciousness. We have to slow down or stop now, and this is shaking us out of the absurd “busyness” of business as usual. So much more time for reflection, for reading, for art, for conversation, for gardening, for creativity, for music.
For those of us in the coaching space, this may well represent an opportunity to make even more of a difference for others. When people are thrown out of their comfort zone, they generally become more open.
Many millions more people are seeking now. They are looking for truth and wisdom, because the suffering created by lies and habitual thinking is becoming unbearable.
Ask yourself this: do you really, in your heart of hearts – in your soul – want to go back to the way things were? Business as usual?
Let us embrace and accept the uncertainty and lack of control inherent in this. The truth is – we never had any certainty or control, we just thought we did.
What new, emergent realities could be created from this chaos? I can feel a fluttering of excitement in my soul when I imagine what we could all create from this.
Maybe, just maybe, we could create the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible.
Below you will find a couple of video links that are worth watching. And also, an imagined letter from Covid-19 that you may have seen on social media.
Stay safe and well. Stay at home. Dig deep. Big Love.
Thank you Coronavirus
Eckhart Tolle: Staying Conscious in the face of Adversity:
An Imagined Letter from Covid-19 to Humans
Stop. Just stop.
It is no longer a request. It is a mandate.
We will help you.
We will bring the supersonic, high speed merry-go-round to a halt.
We will stop the planes, the trains, the schools, the malls, the meetings, the frenetic, furied rush of illusions and “obligations” that keep you from hearing our single and shared beating heart, the way we breathe together, in unison.
Our obligation is to each other.
As it has always been, even if, even though, you have forgotten.
We will interrupt this broadcast, the endless cacophonous broadcast of divisions and distractions, to bring you this long-breaking news:
We are not well.
None of us; all of us are suffering.
Last year, the firestorms that scorched the lungs of the earth did not give you pause.
Nor the typhoons in Africa, China, Japan.
Nor the fevered climates in Japan and India.
You have not been listening.
It is hard to listen when you are so busy all the time, hustling to uphold the comforts and conveniences that scaffold your lives.
But the foundation is giving way, buckling under the weight of your needs and desires.
We will help you.
We will bring the firestorms to your body. We will bring the fever to your body. We will bring the burning, searing, and flooding to your lungs that you might hear:
We are not well.
Despite what you might think or feel, we are not the enemy.
We are Messenger. We are Ally. We are a balancing force.
We are asking you:
To stop, to be still, to listen;
To move beyond your individual concerns and consider the concerns of all; To be with your ignorance, to find your humility, to relinquish your thinking minds and travel deep into the mind of the heart; To look up into the sky, streaked with fewer planes, and see it, to notice its condition: clear, smoky, smoggy, rainy? How much do you need it to be healthy so that you may also be healthy?
To look at a tree, and see it, to notice its condition: how does its health contribute to the health of the sky, to the air you need to be healthy?
To visit a river, and see it, to notice its condition: clear, clean, murky, polluted? How much do you need it to be healthy so that you may also be healthy? How does its health contribute to the health of the tree, who contributes to the health of the sky, so that you may also be healthy?
Many are afraid now.
Do not demonize your fear, and also, do not let it rule you. Instead, let it speak to you—in your stillness, listen for its wisdom.
What might it be telling you about what is at work, at issue, at risk, beyond the threats of personal inconvenience and illness?
As the health of a tree, a river, the sky tells you about quality of your own health, what might the quality of your health tell you about the health of the rivers, the trees, the sky, and all of us who share this planet with you?
Notice if you are resisting.
Notice what you are resisting.
Stop. Just stop.
Ask us what we might teach you about illness and healing, about what might be required so that all may be well.
We will help you, if you listen.