First came news from a neighbor that the school was closing for five weeks. Then I got the text message from my friend Mandy saying she was regretfully closing her Message Therapy Studio. This morning I got an email from the Co-Op saying they were no longer asking members to work their monthly shifts and their hours would be cut. And later the text from Emily saying all restaurants were closing so we wouldn’t be able to have tea on Tuesday.
The changes which came so quickly were also so much more personal than they had been up to that point. And I thought I was handling them well until I felt the fear and panic unmooring me. I tried to focus on my work, but I knew I needed to take some time to absorb what was happening around me.
So I headed out into the woods.
And as I walked and walked my focus started to return. I realized I was in a panic. It’s the first time I felt fortunate to have had enough panic attacks to know what panic feels like.
I was familiar with the kind of fear I was feeling. Not a focused fear, like when faced with a direct threat, but a roaming, global fear that moves through my body and makes everything seem dangerous.
So I asked myself what I was afraid of.
Then I listed the things that I was afraid could possibly happen as a result of the Coronavirus, beginning with Jon dying. And as awful as they were, they did not evoke the feeling that was coursing through me.
That’s when I asked myself… What kind of person did I want to be?
When this is all over and I looked back at how I behaved and reacted to it all, would I feel good about who I am?
I decided I don’t want to live for months, or however long this goes on, in fear. That’s not to say I will never be afraid. But I don’t want to act out of irrational fear, out of the kind of panic I was feeling today.
I want to know that the decisions I made were the best I could have, even if they turn out to be wrong. And I want my strength to come from being grounded and being able to adjust to the changing circumstances. I want to help the people around me when I can and know when I can’t.
On the way back home, I stopped at the Mother Tree. I laid my forehead against her. My mind quieted and I felt a throbbing in my pelvis. And with it, a feeling of strength and stability. As if I was okay.
I knew this was my first or root chakra. But I only read later that it is the place of grounding and survival in us.
So now I have a place inside of me to go when I feel the kind of panic I did today. And because these are such uncertain times and I know I’ll get scared again, I’ll try to remember to ask myself what kind of person do I want to be?
Then I’ll do my best to be her.