Right now life is reduced to the essentials: to caring for loved ones, finding food, getting exercise without being with other people, staying well, celebrating those who help and mourning those who have succumbed to illness. But let’s think of this as a realignment rather than a reduction.
We are living a paradox. Each of us is living on our own in a perilous moment of not knowing what’s coming next. But what’s new about that? We have been facing the unknown every day of our lives. We just didn’t know it!
Born to find out who we are and why we are here. To develop a soul. To scout out the meaning of our life. Jungians call it individuation, aligning oneself to become an individual, undeterred by the ebb and flow of influences from the ‘collective.’ Yet we are all in it together—suffering the same human condition, which today is called COVID 19, and trying to keep our distance from one another.
A solo flight.
Both alone and together, we share the fear of contagion, of economic fallout, of our living supplies coming to an end, of the danger to those we love. How I long for yesterday’s safety! Nevertheless it wasn’t in fact very safe. So that’s a dream.
Didn’t you too used to think life was pretty predictable? Until something terrible happened to you or your dear ones. Think of the perilous times—for ourselves and the planet—before the Plague of 2020 began. Yet each of us survived in our corner. Now survival itself is in doubt. Now we face the fact that anything can happen next!
Existential fear has always been with us—mostly under our radar. Today it is front and center in all of us. Alone yet together we share that condition. What will happen next?
The physical self fears annihilation. So does the ego. Today I am looking for the poise that connects my day-to-day self with my Deeper Being in order to find a place of rest within. Because, in fact, She is always there, waiting for me to turn in her direction.
“How to do that?” I ask my inner guide. And she answers “attention, attention, attention.” We need to wake up to the sleeping person inside, the one who continues to be polarized by yesterday, or wraps herself in dreams of tomorrow. Time to get him or her on their feet.
Lucky for us, being reduced to the essentials serves just that purpose. Trembling in fear of this unknown, unpredictable, but virulent disease, and unsure how to protect myself, I have the opportunity reconnect with who I am beyond the everyday self.
Hungry and needing to forage for what to eat, I reconnect with the needs of my humanness.
Needing to seem unafraid in front of family, I reconnect with the parent inside as I silently acknowledge the fear within.
Here is a new purpose, beyond the panic, the urge for self-preservation (which I tell myself is perfectly normal and natural). I begin to seek intensively for where in myself I want to live my perhaps last days. What Self needs most my urgent efforts at self-preservation?
Face to face with a paradox.
Reduced, but made more whole.
Realigned to the essentials.
Part of the larger world and the larger Self, the Source, including others in love and service.