Patti here. What strange and unsettling times these are. They have dropped us into our greatest fears and left us with deep uncertainty.
But they could also lead us away from these fears and take us toward the spaciousness of compassion.
We are advised to socially distance ourselves for the sake of our most vulnerable. Many of us are spending more time at home, perhaps with family, perhaps alone. And for many, we are facing not just a public health emergency but also economic uncertainties.
The situation continues to evolve. Just since I started writing this blog post the bars and restaurants in my area have been asked to close and the Bay Area has been asked to shelter in place. I’m sure more restrictions are coming soon.
While the vast majority of us will suffer nothing more than a chest cold, there’s a very real threat of severe disease and even death to our loved ones who are elderly and/or chronically ill.
As we follow the public health regulations (wash your hands, social distance, sterilize surfaces and stay home at the first sign of illness), we slow the rate of infection.
We do this for our most vulnerable. For all of them, the ones we love and the ones we don’t even know.
If the infection spreads through our community more slowly, there’s more of a chance that intensive medical treatments (especially ICU beds and respirators) will be available for those who need them. There’s also a chance that an effective treatment will be found and become available for more people.
I view these days of social distancing and taking extra health precautions as an opportunity to offer compassion to ourselves and to each other. Let us make all these actions as offerings. Our preventive measures, both large and small, are the collective gift we give ourselves and to each other. Each time you wash your hands, remember that you are caring for your entire community. Imagine washing away what isn’t needed and leaving a fresh, clean place that’s safe for all. Each time you sanitize a surface, think of someone you love and do it for them. Wipe each surface with grace and gratitude. Each time you choose to distance yourself from people, hold the first responders, medical professionals, grocery store and other essential workers in your heart. See them safe and whole as they work for us all.
Do these things with great care. It will make a difference. There’s nothing like a pandemic to show us how we are all in this together.