Enormous floods of fear have entered the realm, enormous wells of terror and sadness and shame and regret and anger.

Fear of sickness and death. Terror that life as we know it is never going to be the same. Sadness that so much seems to be on the brink of extinction. Shame at failing to live up to the current dictates of safety. Regret that many of the things we enjoy are no longer possible: plans hatched and cancelled, weddings postponed, birthdays spent alone.

We are angry. We are trapped. We want to jump out of our skin.

This pain, however, is not new. It is presenting itself in an entirely different way, using external events as a platform, as it always does; it is an opportunist, begging to be heard with each triggering encounter, as it has always been; it is harvesting personal circumstance in order to be seen, as per usual. But it is not, by any means, new. 

This pain is as old as time, it is cellular, it is stored in our DNA. It is the wound within, the one that holds all the memories of all the generations of all of creation, up to and including our tiny selves. It is that which has lived within us, waiting to be allowed, welcomed and felt, loved and forgiven, for all of eternity. 

It is old and it is patient. It is a rock. It is the only truth, and it has not changed. The only thing that has changed is us. 

We can no longer run. We can no longer hide. Zoom calls aside, books, music, movies, TV, booze, drugs…they no longer hold sway, and if they still do, they won’t for long. All modes of escape are fading. All efforts at avoidance are dying. As the days go by, the lie of denial loses its luster, it loses its thrall, and we will soon begin to realize: we are all we have.

We will become still, then, and, in the stillness, our pain will finally find a warm embrace. We will sit with it, quiet and open. We will not dread its onset, we will not look away. We will give comfort to our pain instead, because we no longer have a choice. The universe has spoken. It has said FEEL.

We must feel our pain.

As it rises through the central nervous system and rests with us at the crown of our heads, we must feel it. We must feel the fear, the shame, the sadness, the anger, the regret, the irritation, and we must learn to say yes to the truth of it. We must learn not to blame others, not to blame Trump or the news or the neighbors or the New Yorkers or the naggers or the lovers or the friends. We must do this because there is no one to blame. There is no one to blame at all.

We will see our pain for what it is, we will recognize it as the hero it is, and we will allow it to reveal to us our true selves. And then, even in our isolation, we will be free.

We have been given a chance to come face to face with our greatest personal chaos and to learn to love that chaos as a part of who we are. While many struggle to breathe, begging for ventilators that never come, there are many more who have been given the opportunity to breathe more deeply than ever before, to meditate on the power of our pain, to allow it to show us the next stage of humanity: one of enlightenment, transformation, and love.

The virus is not the enemy. Denial is. And the virus is making denial impossible. While we send love and light to those who suffer, even and especially ourselves, we can use this time to make the shift. Life has forced upon us a mitigating circumstance, a recalibration of everything we once believed to be true. We can use this incredible time to reckon with the pain we so fear, and we can learn to love it. In the process, we will learn to love ourselves.

This is a time of miracles. Embrace it. It’s yours.