The coronavirus has forced many negative facets to our world and society. Fear, death, devastation, anxiety, stagnation, depression, sadness, loss, social isolation, separation, and reality.
Our lives as we knew them have changed.
I know mine has, and oddly, I pray I don’t ever selfishly return to the familiarity of my world as I knew it to be three weeks ago.
Why is it we must be forced by a fatal disease stemming from bats to stop, cease, regroup, bond, plan, and rethink our very existence? Although it sounds as though it is a rhetorical question, is it really?
Human beings are creature of habit.
There is scientific evidence to prove this. Everything we do, feel, or think is reflected in circuits of neurons in our brains. Neurons, or brain cells, communicate with each other at a gap, called the synapse. One neuron releases chemicals—neurotransmitters—into the synaptic space, where it is picked up by the receptors of the next neuron. There are billions of neurons in the human brain; each neuron connects with up to 10,000 other neurons, resulting in trillions of synaptic connections. These interconnected neurons become circuits that underlie our habits. The more we do something, the stronger the neuronal circuit becomes that supports that habit. Most of us mindlessly play out problematic behaviors repeatedly, becoming essentially prisoners of our own habits.
When something shakes us to the core, we are forced to use our higher brains and reflect on our own actions.
We begin using the prefrontal cortex of our brains. This is the part of the brain that allows us to think about what we do – our actions. The automated world we once lived in isn’t on auto pilot anymore. We are compelled to think about our feelings, actions and behaviors in order to survive or make necessary changes in our lives.
I am not discounting the devastation that this heartless cruel coronavirus has caused. It has paralyzed many lives. In my world, it has shoved me to see the silver lining…if there is one.
When walking Ivy, my golden retriever puppy, I see many changes in my neighborhood. I actually notice flowers, puddles, kids riding bikes and playing basketball, neighbors, families or couples walking, and I am not pulling my puppy and urging her to “hurry” so I can get home and do whatever I need to do or run where ever I need to run.
I have two fingernails off, I have “old lady ugly” roots on my scalp, my toes desperately need a pedicure, I am out of the special moisturizer I have used for years and I don’t care. Embarrassingly, I have learned to suck up the superficial ideals I once had and get over myself. I have learned some of the things I thought to be important probably are not. I have learned ceasing and stopping for more than a second and enjoying the things around adds value to my life.
Like many of you, I don’t have my favorite toilet paper. Fresh out of sanitizer. Face masks are not on the top of my list. I can’t go to movie or favorite restaurant; I can’t see my doctors for months. I can’t travel to see my elderly aunt. My local grocery store is sold out of my usual items. My income has been affected. My finances have suffered. Along with all of this… I have learned a new sense of peace and trust that I have never experienced before. This peace has come with the restrictions and boundaries I had to experience in order to understand the true feeling of peacefulness, faith, and trust.
In the past couple of weeks, I have had valuable conversations with my son. Researched educational materials for my grandson instead of assuming he is “getting what he needs at school”, stopped “running to the store”, winged myself off of Amazon Prime, prayed more prayers of thanksgiving, learned I don’t actually need what I thought I did, haven’t wasted money on things I thought made me happy or made me feel good, sat in silence, meditated, taken virtual barre classes instead of in person, taken long walks with my puppy, had meaningful conversations regarding life with my grandson, met and talked to neighbors, let my puppy run and get filthy in the muddy water, read devotionals, taken baths, taken long deep breaths when needed, discussed a new found anxiety and coping skills with patients, stopped long enough to look around and most importantly, I realize what I need to change in my own life and not others.
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CRT, CCDC, CACC | Counselor & Life Coach
Empowering individuals, families and communities to grow and heal through advanced approaches in Creative Arts Therapy, setting the standard for treatment, practice and training within the field.