On March 7, I presented a workshop at a national nonprofit leadership conference with about 50 attendees. I did not know when I left the venue that it would be my last outing for the next 14 days.
On the drive home with my husband, we talked about the Coronavirus and how much was in the news about it. As we drive home, we talked deeply about what it meant for us to isolate versus being out and about in the community.
My husband is a transplant survivor and lives with a suppressed immune system. The risk of rejecting his life-giving organ requires him to outsmart his immune system with medications.
It’s the only way he stays alive with the ‘foreign organ’ in his body. His body does not have what it takes to fight off another ‘foreign object’ like a virus. He made the decision to isolate at a time when there were limited information and facts about the Covid-19 virus.
I am considered a senior citizen at 61 years of age and as such at a higher risk for contracting the Coronavirus. My condition is complicated by some underlying health conditions.
In addition to my own risk factors, I had to consider how I might put my husband at risk by being out in the community and then coming home having been around large groups of people. I made the decision to isolate at home for as long as was necessary.
A week later, the local government accounted for the first case in our hometown. We knew as we heard this news that we had made the best decision for ourselves. Since that first case, there have been another 29 cases reported.
We believe strongly that we made the best decision for ourselves and for each other. We are committed to being in isolation for as long as it takes for it to be safe to move out of social distancing and back into a new norm of social gathering.
There are three things that I have learned during my time at home about myself that I think might resonate with others.
The first is that when we avoid distractions and interruptions and sit with ourselves quietly, two things come up. The first is thoughts and the second is feelings. They are somehow amplified when things around us are quiet.
The second for me is being in touch with how I am giving and sharing with others from an isolated place. When we are distanced with only technological means of connecting, how do we show up for each other?
And the third, is how are accepting and receiving in ways that might very well be new to us? How can accept things from others that are not necessarily tangible?
For me, I have done a considerable amount of work on why thoughts and feelings. In fact, I have spent more than 30 years learning about my thoughts and feelings and how they impact me and others. Noticing my thoughts and feelings took a lot of courage on my part and I am grateful for the ability to experience them.
Both my thoughts and feelings have a life cycle and come to me for one reason, to experience them in such as a way to learn from them. Allowing them to have their life cycle is a universal principle.
Seeds are planted so that we might have fruits, vegetables, and nuts as a part of our diets. The seeds have a life cycle that starts with germination and ends with the harvest. My thoughts and feelings have a similar life cycle that ultimately supports me.
Experiencing my thoughts and feelings is just one of the ways that I know that I am growing and developing as a person.
Giving is a big part of who I am and I love that part of me that is generous. It is easy for me to show up for a coffee with a friend with one of my books for them, or a gift that called their name when I saw it in the store. I love the look on their face when they are surprised with a gift.
Giving in the era of social distancing looks different. I send a text message telling someone I am thinking about them and I imagine the look on their face. I video chat with them and share time with them, listening to what is on their mind or heart. I can see the look on their face knowing that my giving is making a positive difference.
Receiving can be very challenging for me and in these times of being isolated even more so. Friends want to drop off groceries and provisions and I have to take a deep breath and say thank you. I know their hearts in wanting to give, and I am grateful.
We can receive at a deeper level during this social distancing experience, there are those who would not otherwise be inclined to give who give in the hardest of times. I get to receive from others without giving in to my own stories that would otherwise prevent it.
Find the lessons for you in your isolation, for the Coronavirus or your own self-care reasons. Isolation gives us the best opportunity to be intimate with our thoughts and feelings.
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