Inside the coronavirus cocoon…

In the course of a few weeks, the world has changed….and I’m realizing more than ever how important it is that we let go, adapt, and innovate.

This year has been a challenge for me from the start. Four days into the year, my car window was busted out and about $2400 worth of camera gear and office equipment were stolen, along with my purse and all of its contents. This might not be a lot for some people, but the items taken were the last of what I had after a purging of most things for money to pay bills. Camera lenses, filters, memory cards, an external hard drive, presentation pointer, battery chargers, power cords, work laptop, new pricey backpack, headphones, debit cards, checkbook, Oakley sunglasses, and other items…..gone within a period of 45 minutes while I photographed an event across the street.

And as if that wasn’t enough, this year marks the ten year anniversary of my husband, and father of my three children, committing suicide. In fact, it will be ten years exactly in just four days. One of my sons, our middle child, was scheduled to have surgery earlier this week to have a portion of his intestinal tract removed. Due to concerns over the spread of the coronavirus, the surgery is currently on hold for later in the year, if he doesn’t get sick and die before then.

Nevertheless, I look at all of these events as one more chance to learn and grow and lighten my load. I am not a Buddhist by any means, but these days I’m thinking they’re on to something when it comes to attachment and suffering and the transience of life. We invest ourselves in this world…and not even the world, but our society and its systems…and we hold on to it all for dear life. But maybe, we shouldn’t.

The Cocoon Phase

“Think of a caterpillar entering a cocoon. Once he does so, one of two things will happen: He will either transform into a butterfly, or he will die. But no matter what else happens, he will never climb out of the cocoon as a caterpillar.”

-Steven James

I see this time as our cocoon phase as we all quarantine ourselves in our houses. Whole industries are collapsing. Our brains are already being trained to stay away from others, even those we love. Fewer cars travel the roads, we can’t dine out, and we can’t even shop for clothes, outdoor gear, or any of the many other luxuries to which we are accustomed. Right now, this all seems temporary, but it’s already transforming us and the world to which we hope to return may already no longer exist.

So, what happens when we all emerge?

I don’t have an answer to this question, but I’m optimistic and almost excited to see what comes of things. Of course, I’m worried about how many people we’re going to lose. As I already mentioned, I am worried about my own son for starters. And then there’s my other two kids, my parents, friends and countless others who I believe make the world a better place. Our world may never return to how it was. This virus could completely take over if it continues to mutate as it has and if it doesn’t, it could be the first in a whole line of new viruses. On the other hand…and in a much more desirable scenario…this challenge that we face could lead to some of the greatest innovations in history. It could lead us to a less materialistic lifestyle. It could make us all better at dealing with the utter lack of control we really have over the natural world and external factors. It could make us better at dealing with fear and loss…which could then lead us to richer, more fulfilling and meaningful lives. Maybe, just maybe, people will even begin to take action in their lives instead of merely reacting…and take a chance on their dreams. Because, security and fear are lies. There is no security…even as we sit comfortably in our homes. And fear…doesn’t protect us from loss as much as it keeps us from living fully.

The Scream of the Butterfly

“Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly.”

-Chuang Tzu

So, back to when this year began…I never imagined that anything that’s happened so far would be taking place. I had hopes to run a 10-mile race, get better at playing my guitar and write more songs, lose weight, and work on my first book. So far, I have made efforts in each of these areas…despite everything else. In addition, I’m starting this blog. It’s a Saturday night and instead of going out to eat, shop, catch a show or any other number of things, I’m sitting in my rental house writing.

What are you doing in your cocoon?

What do you want to do? If you survive your stay, what will you do upon emerging? What will you have become? Will you continue to consume the world’s resources and bounty or will you be a pollinator for new growth and life?

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