Is everyone else riding a roller coaster — fine one moment and then not-so-fine the very next?
Andra Day may have written my anthem for this pandemic with her song “Rise Up.” Since it came out in 2015 I have, countless times, yelled at Alexa to play it on repeat at high volume. Andra has helped me clean my house, whip up dinner parties and work on fricking tedious spreadsheets.
Now, she is helping me with this pandemic.
I’ve had my quarantine moments feeling “Broken down and tired of living life on a merry go-ground.” And, sometimes, within minutes of such a negative wave I receive a jolt of divine aid to lift my heart, enough for what feels like the energy to rise up “a thousand times again.”
For those of us whose work is — blessedly — even more busy than before, we haven’t had as much downtime as before this hit. Have your times of meditation and contemplation have been harder to find — even if only because you now have a jam-packed house?
I am finally realizing I literally can’t do this pandemic thing without carving more deeply into my day to make room for quiet. It took a little personal crucifixion for me to get the message.
Even though a holiday for most, my Good Friday was booked back-to-back with important meetings and deadlines. At 11:20 a.m., though, I was unceremoniously kicked off my internet connection in the middle of a very important meeting. It took hours (and several customer support calls) to get it back, only to have it go back down only thirty minutes later. It wasn’t solved until the eighth customer support person figured it out at 9:30 p.m. I missed six meetings and I couldn’t deliver two important PowerPoints. I was, in short, screwed.
I have discovered that this quarantine has been perfectly designed to show me what doesn’t work in my life, what dark corners need some light shone upon them, and where I have to dig in and scrub some nasty barnacles off the hulls of my heart.
One such barnacled area is how nasty I can get in the face of feeling powerless with technical support – particularly when it comes to phone or internet issues. I have repeatedly not done myself proud in situations exactly like this. I get a tone, an ugly tone. My patience flees.
I had been working on these shameful ways of being for several months leading up to the quarantine, but there’s nothing like your internet being down for an entire day when your work depends on it to push you deep into those sharp barnacles.
In hour 9 of 10.5, I was accidentally disconnected by someone who had appeared to be on the brink of a solution when the call dropped. I called back, waiting another 45 minutes and was greeted by a young woman with a gentle voice. I explained my situation which now appeared nearly hopeless, and she earnestly promised she would figure this out. I laughed because the others had promised too, and I said “Unless you are a magical unicorn, I’m not sure…”
She interrupted with the most hilarious tone and timing: “Well I am sort of magical.”
I practically snort-laughed and screamed with glee, “Oh my God, I needed that laugh so much. You ARE a magical unicorn! This may be the entire reason that I was on the phone all these hours, to end up with YOU!”
Then, while she worked on the solution, we had an amazing talk about the pandemic, her fears for her family, and her efforts to keep her anxiety in check. I heard fear in her voice when she spoke of her young siblings that she longed to physically protect. I replied, “Hey! You are a powerful, magical unicorn, so why don’t we set the intention that this weekend will be THE weekend that this thing turns in the right direction.” She agreed to throwing her magical powers toward this intention, and I told her how she had literally made my day.
Andra’s lyric says it best: “All we need is hope and for that we have each other.”
That customer support representative’s name is Chelsea. She works for Charter Cable in a Utah call center. She is a magical unicorn. You should thank her if this turns around this weekend.
We should also thank the millions who have been in prayer and devotion to the divine this week too, eh? Humans reaching out with hope in their hearts to the divine. I bow to them all. There are other powerful magical unicorns among them for sure.
I am not religious, nor do I have a Christian background, so when I was feeling remarkably happier on Saturday, I had to look up what the Saturday between Good Friday and Easter Sunday represented. I found that it is sometimes referred to as Joyous Saturday. What a great day to take off from work: quiet, meditation, cleaning and reorganizing were in order. I felt refreshed and happy.
This pandemic has been a roller coaster for most people I have spoken to. I don’t know about you, but I am being pushed to clean out and organize all my s#%t – internal and external. The issues are begging to have light shone upon them, demanding inspection and understanding. I think I had a particularly joyous Saturday for two reasons: 1) I pushed through a bit of my crap during that Good Friday crucifixion, and 2) I made time for quiet and meditation.
And, of course, my life was touched by a magical unicorn.
I know there’s more crap to go. In fact this quarantine is shining light on another barnacle in my heart: envy. This is an issue I’ve been working on since before my second book come out. There are some amazing book authors doing what I feel like I should be doing. Everyone else is doing it right, better, in a more exalting way and making a far bigger difference in the world.
I think in this landcape of pain and fear, we don’t have any wiggle room left for negative thoughts of any kind – towards ourselves or others. So, I’m dealing with the envy head on. No time to waste.
As Mr. Rogers said “anything that is mentionable can be more manageable.” Just confessing these ugly thoughts to friends has been helping. And, when I catch myself having envious thoughts, I have a new practice of taking even the tiniest action toward becoming that which I envy, going toward what I perceive as light.
Move toward it, don’t kick it away like a child in the middle of a tantrum screaming “I want that!”
So, I think I am exactly where I need to be in the middle of this pandemic, cleaning out these emotional habits that no longer serve me, doing what all Superheroes of Love need to do – clearing away all that stops us from loving and being loved. Have we ever needed this more? I think not.
I wonder what other icky things this pandemic will be unveiling in my heart. I just hope the road is dotted with magical unicorns like Chelsea.