The truth is, we have already been here. Over and over you may be hearing the phrases, “This is unprecedented” and “We’ve never experienced anything like this.” In this present life, no we have not had a pandemic of such proportions, but history has many examples of such medical, natural disasters. The Black Plague, otherwise known as the Bubonic Plague, ravaged Eurasia in the 1300’s and is eerily similar to what the world is experiencing today. With Italy suffering so much loss, its doctors unable to fully cope with the sick, and the disease spreading globally with outstanding speed and consequences, much like it did in the Medieval era, the phrase “history repeats itself” is a haunting echo instilling fear in our hearts today. Fear, despair, anxiety, loneliness, and general suffering is rampant in the world today. I would posit that these emotional and spiritual pains have been affecting us all along and that this pandemic is simply amplifying them or bringing them to the conscious mind for the first time. However, despite this wave of chaos that is now in nearly everyone’s home, it is important that not only do the history records tell of the catastrophes but also the triumphs. Humanity, we, survived the Black Plague and so we will survive this pandemic of Covid-19, too. The question that remains, then, is what’s going to happen after? When will we go back to normal? Is this our new normal?
A new normal.
Strong emotions like fear, anxiety, and loneliness tend to wrap themselves around us suffocating the breath, life, and joy out of our souls. When intensely feeling fear, it seems like death is all around and imminent. Anxiety is somewhat of a more subdued version of fear. Yet, being overwhelmed by anxiety is dominated by the unknown and its uncertainty. This can cause people to act irrationally (i.e. toilet paper hoarding despite there being no need to do so). Lastly, loneliness can breed a sense of despair, loss, grief for what was never had or for what was lost, and pointlessness. Many are experiencing loneliness because of social distancing. Many are experiencing anxiety because no one really knows what is going to happen. And fear, everyone is afraid of what is happening and what could happen.
But is this our new normal? The answer is, no. This is not our new normal. The media is constantly asking this question and even telling the public that this is the new normal. Accepting, thinking, and believing that this is our new normal is harmful. If we believe this is our new normal, we will be perpetually miserable, lonely, in pain, and in fear. Such a state of mind will erode our being, from the mind to the body, and to the soul, for it will become weary and weak. A weakened soul struggles to sustain the physical body in this reality; in other words, the body becomes more susceptible to death. Therefore, it is important for you to understand that this moment is temporary. Nothing is permanent, not the good and not the bad. We are simply experiencing an intense and widespread aspect of bad.
Reject the new normal.
Follow all social distancing recommendations as well as your government mandates concerning Covid-19. However, reject the idea that this is what our lives will look like forever. Know that eventually things will change again. We will again be able to hold hands, hug, get together, dance together, and share in each other’s immediate warmth. Do not concern yourself with how things will be different because you just do not know, you cannot know. Thinking about and worrying about how things will change will cause undue anxiety that will harm you now. Focus on staying safe and healthy, keeping those around you safe, and remember this is temporary.
Learn, join, and act.
Every challenge we face teaches us something, whether we like it or not. This pandemic is revealing our weaknesses, our short-comings, and our needs. For those here in the United States, the inadequacy of the medical system is being revealed. Everywhere, we are realizing who we rely on to keep our societies in motion, who those essential workers are, and how mistreated they are. And we are realizing our needs for love, comfort, and connection. With that, some are realizing how unmet their needs are and others what abundance they have. Don’t let these lessons go unlearned. Learn from what we are going through and join each other in enacting the change we need to be better prepared next time. Because, unfortunately, history does repeat itself and it will continue to do so until we break the cycle.