Surviving the Storms
When Covid 19 was declared a global pandemic by the WHO earlier this year we all had to confront our worst fear - fear of dying- and it became a universal fear overnight. It was devastating to hear the death toll from countries around the world every day on the news. We could lose any of the people we loved any where in the world at any time.
I usually have normal blood pressure but my blood pressure rocketed. I was finding it hard to fall asleep at night and I had lost my appetite. The pandemic was a major shock to my system and I knew I had to pull out all the stops to get through this. Fortunately, I had a tried and tested tool kit. It had got me through a lot of ups and downs on my cancer survivorship journey. I had a road map I could refer to in order to steer my way through these dark and uncertain times.
I knew I had to take care of my body first so I listened to the symptoms my body was showing me. I nourished my body with healthy food, drank plenty of water, took supplements and went for a walk every morning and every evening. I took long, aromatherapy baths and meditated as often as I could. All this so that I could feel relaxed before I tried to go to sleep. My mind was still racing but I discovered that if I read novels before I went to sleep at night instead of watching TV I would fall asleep much more easily. I changed my night time routine and in no time at all I was feeling much better; I was sleeping well at night, eating well and exercising every day.
But I needed more; I needed to take stock of not only my body but also my psychological and emotional self as well. We were in the midst of a raging storm that threatened to take away everything from me, including my sanity, and I needed to find ways to ride the storm.
I set about putting systems in place in my home to protect my husband and I from contracting the virus. It gave us a sense of control in an otherwise chaotic, ever changing environment.
The next thing I did was set about finding ways to communicate meaningfully with family and friends. I knew that the only way I would be able to remain connected was through the internet. I felt disconnected from all the spiritual groups I used to attend such as meditation and reiki, but it came to my attention that many group leaders were stepping forward and offering free online group meditations and sermons. I have meditated and prayed with others around the world almost every day since the beginning of this pandemic and this has given my life meaning and structure.
I make sure that I connect with others every single day as I did before the pandemic. I know what isolation can do to one’s mental wellbeing and staying connected to others is as important as eating and sleeping well or exercising your body every day. We are social beings and we can not live without social interaction. One of my favorite sayings is that it is only in the other that the self exists. If this pandemic has taught us anything it is that we are all interconnected. In other words, we are all one.
But I needed a purpose; something to take my mind of myself. My purpose came to me in the form of recording bedtime stories for my grandchildren. As time went by and I had recorded about forty stories I had found not only a purpose but also my voice. I had found a way to connect with my grandchildren across the miles of separation.
Every year California experiences wild fires at this time of the year when temperatures soar in summer but this year we experienced the worst wild fires in Californian history as a result of climate change. The high temperatures and electrical lightening caused more than 300 fires overnight. The air quality was too bad to go outside and I feared for my life as once again disaster struck and I was locked indoors. An eerie, smoky, orange silence greeted me as I stepped outside and examined my beautiful roses that were covered in ash. I could no longer go for walks every day, my saving grace, and once again I felt isolated and trapped.
It seems as if we are experiencing so many layers of challenges at the moment such as dealing with Covid 19, systemic racism, economic collapse and now the wild fires.
Yesterday I was pleased to hear that most of the Red Wood trees that are thousands of years old in Big Basin, 45 miles south of San Francisco, one of California’s oldest state parks and home to these magnificent trees, have survived the raging California wild fires. Among the survivors still standing is a tree affectionately known as Mother of the Forest. They have shown unbelievable resiliency in the face of adversity for thousands of years and have thankfully weathered this storm.
Mothers all over the world are showing the same resiliency as Mother of the Forest during the obstacles that face us on a daily basis. As mothers we are resilient and we too will survive by taking care of our bodies and our minds, staying connected to others and to each other, and finding meaning and purpose in our lives, no mater how big or small.
Dear hearts, these are the tools that enable us to stand tall and strong in times of turmoil as it is only in taking care of ourselves first that we can take care of our family and children.
In love and light,