As we work our way through these uncertain times, I wanted to offer a bit of comfort. There are many, many lists of things to do during a pandemic, and while I am a huge fan of lists myself, I offer instead a letter to you, dear reader.
I hope this letter finds you well. I know these are uncertain times, and many of you are panicked, bored, worried, irritated, angry, sad, miserable, quiet, and all the range of emotions and feelings that come along with unusual and never-before experienced events. I would like to offer you a respite in the form of a letter. Letter-writing has gone the way of telephone booths, and while this isn’t a paper and pen type of letter, I do offer it as an alternative to all the information that is being sent out and about among all of us in this day of social media.
I invite you to celebrate the small things during this quiet time. As I type this, I hear and see birds chirping as they fly back and forth to their nest. I hear the quiet throb of activity nearby, I feel the cool breeze through an open window, and taste the morning coffee I have nearby. Indulge your five senses, and really notice them. What do you see, feel, touch, taste and hear right now? Notice and offer thanks.
During times like these, I get quiet and observe. I have observed many things in my lifetime, and have survived quite a few horrific events myself. What always keeps me going during these times is seeing humans in action during these events of stress and upheaval. Yes, there are hoarders, and people being mercenary and unpleasant. Yet I see people offering their services, going out of their way to help others, making meals for neighbors, and checking in with many in their community. I see people making the best of a situation that involves social distancing by having Facetime chats, offering handwritten letters, and creating and filming altars as focal points for people near and far. I see people offering plants for sale, herbal concoctions, holding online meditations, and reminding each other to breathe. These are the moments that I know we can survive. This is the world I want to live in, and do.
For me, it feels as if Gaia, our Mother Earth is giving us a stern warning. She is forcing us to stop what we are doing and advising us to go within. We cannot continue on this way. Already we see the effects of the stopping: the waters in Venice are clear and beautiful, birds are heard singing again in China, and the planet itself has a chance to breathe. Are you breathing as you read this? Stop and take some deep breaths now.
Having been through what I have been through, I offer this advice: panic and worry do nothing to add to your life. You cannot control the future, so find yourself firmly in the present. Ground and shield often. Look outward from yourself and do what you can from others. If there is something you offer, whether it be healing, art, poetry, herbalism, baking, readings, let people know. If you feel unsupported and alone, reach out to others. Now is the time to reconsider how you have been making your way in the world. Have you been authentic? Have you shut down or lashed out? During this quiet time, turn inward. Face yourself and your usual way of doing things. If it hasn’t brought you joy and happiness, discard it and start anew. Sure, it is scary to change, and the word change itself can make us deeply uncomfortable. The world itself is asking us right now to be still and listen. So do so. It all begins with one step.
Remember, if you are Pagans and Witches, you already have tools in your tool-kit that you can use. Herbalism, grounding and shielding, kitchen witchery, readings, spellwork. Action makes us feel better, so interspersed with the reading and the movies you fill your time with, take some form of action for yourself, your family and your community. Reach out to your friends, especially the quiet ones. Check in with each other. Hug yourself, since touch is at a premium nowadays. Love yourself. Surround yourself with what makes you happy, whether it be soothing baths, cozy reading, or walks in nature. Love on your pets if you are lucky enough to have them.
We will get through this, dear reader. We have survived much worse. Now take a deep breath, and begin.