On my walk yesterday, my eyes caught sight of the buds on the trees. I mean I really saw the buds. Before COVID-19, I didn’t notice Spring until the trees were in full blossom. It took a worldwide virus to force me to fully notice life’s abundance in slow motion. I am IN the season of Spring. Despite being covered with my cloth mask, the buds step towards my eyes in full dimension and invite me to stop, look, touch and take several pictures as I breathe in their beauty and say to the universe, “Wow! Thank you.” I feel like a newborn baby seeing the world with awakened eyes. The unexpected result in wearing a mask I once resisted is that I seem to notice everything and everyone more clearly – especially with it on. My eyes enjoy a sharpened sense of observation, color, shape, dimension and delight. And for dessert? When my eyes look up at the sky, I am awed more than usual by its unlimited beauty. Looking up also forces me to straighten my posture. Immediately, I notice myself breathing more deeply, and I feel stronger, lighter, healthier – even more hopeful.
My heart expands to each of us who is experiencing the horrific trauma of the pandemic and grappling with fear, anger, anxiety and deep grief amid this test of fortitude. But remember, this is also a time to breathe in the gifts that this darkness offers. As I pass a stranger walking six feet away from me, we offer each other a wave that says, how are you, neighbor? You doing alright? Simple acts of caring, compassion and love are happening everywhere. Hearts are open. We are crying. We are laughing. We are terrified. We are grateful. We are grieving.
Beautiful music and programs of all kinds are being offered online by people all over the world at no charge, young children are online singing songs to melt our hearts with their purity and innocence, driveways and sidewalks are filled with chalk drawings that say, “don’t worry, be happy,” and “let the light shine,” people are shouting “THANK YOU” at 7 p.m. around the world to those who are risking their lives for our benefit, and because we are slowing down and not driving, even the Himalayas are visible for the first time in 30 years as pollution levels drop in India. Darkness. Light. It’s all here for us to feel and observe in one worldwide pandemic.
And oh, the humor out there! Funny jokes – truly funny jokes- are being passed around online. Here are a few that may make you chuckle …
Why does round pizza come in a square box? #toomuchtime
Remember when we were little and had underwear with the days of the week on them? Yah. Those would be helpful right now.
I need to get out of this bed! I’m late for the couch.
Ran out of toilet paper and now using lettuce leaves. Today was just the tip of the iceberg, Tomorrow romaines to be seen.
I used to spin that toilet paper like I was on Wheel of Fortune. Now I turn it like I’m cracking a safe.
I need to practice social distancing from the refrigerator.
PSA-every few days try your jeans on just to make sure they fit. Pajamas will have you believe all is well in the kingdom.
This morning I saw a neighbor talking to her cat. It was obvious she thought her cat understood her. I came into my house and told my dog… we laughed a lot.
My body has absorbed so much soap and disinfectant lately that when I pee it cleans the toilet.
Humor and the pandemic. Fear and courage. Grief and strength. Trauma and hope. All these feelings dance together in our souls at the same time. Ever present amid the darkness is a positive surge of compassion, kindness, forgiveness, healing, love, hope and appreciation. We are grateful to be able to slow down, enjoy online and phone conversations that deeply connect from the heart and to the heart, and we are discovering new ways to offer the best of who we are.
The Power of Words: What am I doing to make it through this difficult time? First, I am conscious of the words that I am saying to myself. I create power words and positive affirmations and ask my online Facebook community, Shift of Heart, to do the same. When we change our words, we change our state of being.
Appreciation. Trust. Gratitude. Focus. Perseverance. Hope. Faith. Loving Kindness. Nature. Determination. Chocolate. Connection. Acceptance. Love. Survival. Soul. Kindness. Art. Forgiveness. Grace. Peace. Appreciation. One day at a time. Tawanda. Patience. Optimistic. Creativity. Curiosity. Compassion. Blessed. Bravery.
I possess absolute courage and I draw upon it whenever needed.
I have the strength and the will to get through this.
Sound Healing: I begin my day by ringing my chakra singing bowls, sending love and vibrational prayers of hope and healing to every precious person on our planet. As I meditate, visualize and sing, I also offer my deep gratitude to those heroes and earth angels who are putting their lives on the line for all of us. I also use the quiet to check in with myself. What do I need right now? How can I be of service to others? What am I feeling? I keep my heart open, remain grounded, cry, breathe, and notice the present moment. That’s all we know for sure. Here. Now. This.
Journal writing: We have a tornado of feelings bottled up inside us and it is vital for our health to find ways to release them. Journal writing helps me release toxic thoughts that are in my cells. Don’t worry about writing structured sentences with perfect spelling and grammar. Just write. Write your fears, your grief, your confusion. Write out what you are grateful for and what you fear. Write out the depth of your grief as you hear about friends, family and strangers passing away from COVID-19. Cry. Write. Release. Cleanse yourself from inside-out and write frequently.
Online Community: Next, I reach out to my large Facebook community, “Shift of Heart.” Together, we support each other through the darkness and offer coping tools, new positive intentions, wisdom, unconditional love, healing songs, affirmative chants, life coaching, prayer circles and interactive honest discussions. You are welcome to join this community of love. Reach out to others. Now is not the time to be shy and reclusive. Open your heart and let people into your life. Hopelessness is the worst disease of all. Stay connected and IN hope.
Self-Care: As an empathic person, I am aware of the balance I must invite between self-care and giving myself to others, and because I am more mindful of this health requirement, when I sense that my glass is full again, I offer my heart, wisdom and music freely and lovingly to others. Then, I retreat and refill my glass of giving. I rest, take naps, go on healing walks, sing, dream, write, doodle, read and nap again. Ebb and flow. Flow and ebb.
A Sense of Purpose: I have found a renewed sense of positive energy in knowing my highest purpose (s) during the coronavirus as I revisit a past career and offer families of young children online classes that are filled with songs, positive messages, laughter, movement, imagination, puppets and storytelling. When I see their delight, it helps heal my own spirit and invites me to revisit my playful inner child.
I also reach out to adults and offer my heart-opening chants, poetry, interactive songs, meditations, positive affirmations, sound healing, and honest sharing as we all struggle through this together. Amid trauma, it is possible to offer the best of who we are to each other in one community of love. When one person is too heartbroken to give of themselves anymore, it is their time to receive from us. As Rabbi Natan Segal’s song says, “From you I receive, to you I give, together we share, and from this we live.”
Even if we don’t know the deeper meaning of this chaos, I know that one day we will. We will understand the lessons and the learning. My hope is that we will continue our new way of living and connecting with one another long after this virus has ended. The coronavirus is testing our courage and our ability to open our hearts. It is also challenging us to continue to believe in dreams, in the abundance of simplicity, and in the goodness of people. Most of all, it is asking us to stand for love, be love and shine our love. No college degree required.
Cheryl Melody Baskin (aka Melody) channels her boundless creative and spiritual energy into a variety of endeavors, from practicing healing arts—including music and sound healing—to serving as a motivational speaker, an educator, an intuitive life coach, workshop facilitator and musician. She is the author of Heart-Dreamer: Stepping into Life, Love, Creativity and Dreams-No Matter What (2019) and Shift of Heart-Paths to Healing and Love (2016). Visit her website: cherylmelody.com