I want to share with you my Covid journey and how it has taught me so many lessons.
I had just come back from a wonderful and powerful trip to South America with my new partner —a trip of a lifetime that we had been planning before Covid and finally got to do it this January. We had to do a lot of Covid testing along the way and that was worth it to me to be able to travel a bit again. But, when we returned with a glow and some despair at coming back to winter when we had been in a summer environment, we turned up with symptoms that required testing. When I got my positive test, I was actually relieved. Why? I felt relief to finally face that fear and watch it work through me. I knew I would no longer be afraid of this thing that has been out there in the world for almost 2 years now that has arrested us deeply in fear and that has kept us apart and distant, swirling in isolation, loneliness and more fear.
I was impacted by exhaustion, runny nose, and throat congestion that moved into a headache, sinus pain, more throat congestion and brain fog. The brain fog came and went, but I knew if I rested it would subside. And it did along with the headaches. As long as I went slow, ate good food, rested a lot, I moved through it. I rode this wave of Covid for almost three weeks until I felt more normal and my full energetic self came back again on the fourth week.
Along the way, I got to work with my feelings about the symptoms and how they were affecting me. Feelings like anger, frustration, irritability, mostly. These were showing up now, but they show up a lot for me as a 60’s woman so I was taking note and trying to work with them. I sat on my cushion for up to a hour and a half to take in all of what was going on — confused, irritable and somewhat shut-down. I didn’t want to go out — I was in a fog of dis-ease that overtook my body. I felt stuck.
Honestly, what helped me the most was my practice. I joined my sangha group again and met regularly with them and just explored these feelings. Of course, this was all on zoom as it had been before I left, but I was sad we still had to be on zoom and glad that I could participate even though I was still sick. I got to express some of those uncomfortable feelings to myself and to my partner, to feel them and work through them and to a few others who asked me how I was feeling in a very compassionate & caring way.
So, throughout this sitting while recovering from Covid, this is the message I got: Working with Covid in your body is a lot like working with any other difficult thing; it requires that you befriend it, take care of it, get closer and embrace it so that you can heal and get better. And when you meet the fear that is there the whole process gets easier. You no longer fear it, you allow it to be there, you work with it and ultimately release it. This is the message of my Midlife Voyage to Transformation and the 5 Stages of the Voyage. Each step requires that you develop a deeper relationship with yourself and your feelings so that when you can create the space inside of you to hold everything and settle it all down, you can find healing.
The second message I got is that I am so grateful now for this experience. Why? Because I have broken through that fear and my life is moving forward again. It reminds me of what it was like when I was dealing with my divorce or the loss of my sister and Mother and my other later big events of my midlife. As long as I was afraid of the grief, feeling the feelings and getting closer to the pain, it remained a block for me moving on in my life. When I was able to face and name the fear and move it over, I was able to get underneath it to the feelings I really needed to feel, face and release. It’s when the fear is mixed with other feelings that it gets more difficult to release. It takes time to sort through the layers when they arise.
So, the lessons of Covid which you might apply to yourself are to look more closely at what you are feeling about this pandemic, the beliefs and stories and the real experiences you or your loved ones have had. See what beliefs and feelings are helping you right now and which ones are holding you back from moving your life forward and taking better care of yourself fully in all the ways you used to do it before the pandemic. The biggest lesson is that we need to slow down and take time to heal when we are sick. This can apply to just about anything that is “un-well” in our systems. This experience of Covid can help us see how to care for ourselves more deeply and how to take more responsibility for our own health, safety and happiness.