Nothing quite like a global pandemic to mess with one’s mental health, right? Hopefully you’ve kept yourself together better than I. Sadly, my emotional warranty expired on two things. Two things I really, really, really miss.
1. Productivity. You know that well-hyped stay-at-home-productivity thing? I’ve failed. Not one flower planted; not a single drawer re-organized…NOT ONE. Trust me, opportunities abound.
2. Predictability. I’ve tried. Really hard. Tried to make peace with pandemic unpredictability. Failed that too.
If my waddle through grief taught me one thing, it was this: Whenever my usual self-sufficient-I’m-a-pillar-mental-stability thing fails (hourly!) it’s time to consult my soul. She is consistently and annoyingly smarter than me. Humiliating, yes…but she always wraps me in comfort. (THANK GOD!)
So…stuffing my self-sufficient pride, I asked my soul how to restore productivity and predictability. STAT. As per usual, her response was exasperating.
“Perceptions," she whispered. "Let’s re-visit your perceptions.”
Crap. Really? Perceptions? Re-visit? What part of STAT does my soul not get??? But, self-sequestered-me had the time so, what the hell, I agreed.
Warning you now, what follows will be knee-deep sappy. Truthful, but oversharing on steroids. I do promise this perk: you'll be rewarded with feelings of infinite mental and intellectual superiority. You’re welcome.
Here’s the condescended version of my COVID-19 precipitated please-please-please-save-my-sanity conversation:
“So…” starts my soul, “predictability? Tell me more.”
“I need a time-line here! People—LOTS of people—are dying!” I was fighting tears. “They’re suffering—hurting, grieving and can’t even get close enough to hug or dry tears! When will this end? When will life feel safe again? TELL ME! How long will this virus plague the entire--YES: ENTIRE--planet? TELL ME! When will we have a vaccine? Life feels frozen in fear—TOTALLY warranted FEAR! How will everyone pay rent? Buy food? When will supply and demand hold hands…?...?...?” I went on and on and on. From America to Africa to Antarctica. Gotta say, God bless her, my soul lets me rant. Rant until…quite abruptly…I realize I’m dangerously overwhelmed with self-induced anxiety and fret.
“Anything else?" my soul asked.
The question pissed me off…and then hit me. “It’s a full-on global pandemic," I felt defeated. "I can’t expect you—or anyone—to predict how the world will be in a month…or a year. Feels unending...I can’t control squat. I never could.”
“That’s not totally true,” whispered my soul. “You CAN control how you react.”
OMG...I see it now. She set me up. A two-for-one.
“Which brings us to productivity doesn’t it?” I acknowledged her trap.
“It does,” my soul grinned—she likes it when I catch on. “But first, I have a question. When you were in throws of suicide grief, what helped? What calmed you?”
“Surrender.” I might have said this out loud, but I doubt it.
“What did you surrender?” asked my soul. She takes obnoxious pleasure in making me say things…hard things…out loud.
“I surrendered my NEED to know everything,” I said. “My NEED to fix everything and fix everyone. My NEED to be strong—strong when I wasn’t.”
With the kindest whisper you’ve ever heard, she asked, “What did you surrender to?”
Tears filled my eyes. “Love. I surrendered to Love…smarter-than-me-Love.” I melted into soft, reunion tears. My soul waited. “Unfathomable Love,” I whispered. “Divine, wise, infinite Love.”
“Surrendering was productive, was it not?” my soul asked.
“Hardest work I’ve ever done…” I did not say this out loud, no need. Unsaid truth had already consumed both of us.
“Surrendering to Love was beyond ‘productive’ wasn’t it? From-the-gut-demanding work. Foreign. Counter to every self-sufficient-buck-up-thing you’d been taught. But you did it,” said my soul. “And you just did it again. Surrender always makes you calmer, stronger—less alone. Actually, you're never alone. Love never leaves you.”
I sat with her words realizing this fun fact: the only one who ever ‘leaves’ is self-sufficient-I’m-a-pillar-mental-stability-me. Love waits. Knowing I'll return. Thankfully my leave-of-absences are getting shorter. Silently, internal truth grew. Love outlasts fear. Love disarms fear. Love—with humanity’s unified willingness—will heal all of us. And…wait for it…Love will heal coronavirus. I can’t know the when’s, the how-to’s, or the why’s of Love. That’s mystery. That’s why I surrender. And trust.
“Good talk?” asked my soul.
“Always," I smiled. "Always..."
So…look at you! Standing tall; owning your infinite mental and intellectual superiority.
Funny thing, I feel better too. My soul swapped exterior productivity for internal work--a mental, emotional, spiritual tune-up. She also melted my need for predictability into trust. Trust in Love. Your soul, like mine, knows Love is stronger than fear. Always has been. Always will be. Always.
Second, and final, fun fact: now that I’ve faced my COVID fears and surrendered what's not mine to fix, perhaps planting a flower or two would bring delight…maybe a bit of tidy work will happen too. Funny how Love works.