Recently, I was asked to write about my Covid-19 experience. As someone who writes about all kinds of things, I should be able to write about how I feel, right? Nope. I’ve been trying to put my feelings into words for weeks, and it’s nearly impossible. The more I’ve thought about it, the more I feel like I’m walking on a tightrope and doing shadow work at the same time.
In this Covid-19 era, I feel like I’m walking on a tightrope. On one side of me is the cavalier attitude of, “I’m not sick, and I don’t know anyone who is.”
On the other side is doom and gloom, with the very real numbers of people who have died, the possibility of my own mortality, and the possible deaths of those I love.
I don’t want to fall to either side, and the margin between them seem so narrow. And so, here I am, walking a tightrope with a mask on, doing my best to be true to myself and not fall.
Walking the tightrope is a metaphor for keeping my balance, feeling isolated, and not knowing what to do or say. One one hand, I know we should all be talking about our feelings. On the other, I really can’t stand to read about it, much less write about it.
The tightrope metaphor also represents how sensitive I feel to the slightest provocation and how I feel that I can’t move forward when that occurs.
Of course, some days are easier than others. There are days when I can balance and walk forward with (relative) ease. I can reach the land and connect with people, usually over the phone or a video call.
There are also days when I feel stranded in the middle of the air in a wide canyon. The amount of energy it takes to keep walking to make it to the other side sometimes seems insurmountable. All I can do is try to inch forward toward land.
The more I thought about it, the more it feels like nearly everyone in the whole world is going through a shadow period at this time. Some of us are dealing with it better than others, and some are ignoring it or keeping it at bay with escapism, television, games, alcohol, and drugs.
With the shadow, we always need to embrace that which we fear and dread. It’s only when we love the uncertainty and anxiety that we can move forward on the tightrope.
Let’s do shadow work together. Say it with me: “I’m feeling anxious, uncertain, fearful, worried, and concerned about the future, and I love those feelings. They show how much I care about life. They demonstrate how much I want to do the right thing. However, I can only do so much. There’s so much outside of my control. So, I have to let these feelings go and keep moving.”
Here’s what helps me connect with myself and my shadow:
Reaching out to loved ones is important. When you’re feeling low, phone calls are better than texts.
Talk About It
It’s okay to be confused. It’s alright to feel uncertain. Keep talking. You’ll eventually get to the feelings beneath those, which are good to talk about.
Listen to Music
I’ve spent a fair deal of money recently on new music. Music is such a creative act, and these days, it feels more soulful than ever.
Moving your body will move your mind and spirit too.
I’m reading a lot of books lately because it’s one of the only things that takes my mind off the pandemic. All those books on my nightstand are getting finished, including many on Mat’s early 2020 list.
Take Time Off Work
I’ve been working full time from home, so I haven’t gotten much of a chance to catch my breath. Taking time off gives me mental space to process, which I sorely need.
Don’t Compare Yourself to Others
If my blog posts have a theme, it’s that we’re all different, and that’s okay. We’re all going through different things and are handling them differently. Jealousy is often a sign of misreading or oversimplifying a situation. It doesn’t help. It’s best to focus on your own betterment instead. If you feel dissonance, it’s a sign to unplug and do some shadow work.
Stay Off Social Media When You Feel Low (unless it helps)
Social media just doesn’t help me when I need a real connection. I reach out to others with a call or text when I feel the need to connect.
Do Your Spiritual Practice
You may not feel like it at first, but the feeling you get afterward is worth it. It really helps to keep that inner balance. Maybe you need to kickstart your spiritual practice again–if so, I’ll offer this article.
I hope you all are healthy and safe. May we get through these days with a little more insight, compassion, and understanding.