Posted by Peter Frank on Mar 27, 2020
On Friday the 13th, of March 2020, we received a text that our elementary school and the entire district will be closed down; say goodbye to your students and we hope to return a week later. One week has turned into 2 weeks, then 3, then April 20th, now May 1st, and possibly be closed until next school year. A very discerning and stressful time for my 3rd graders, their families, my family, friends, and colleagues. If I’m honest I was an emotional mess, feeling the universal fear and uncertainty that so many have expressed. I could equate this to a butterfly effect of metamorphosis while shaking off old routines. Then on March 20th I had a Kindness Connection Virtual Meeting with Reverend Bonnie Rose and inspirational members of my church community, VCSL; and for the first time I was able to share, connect and process with others. By the end of that meeting my initial fears began to shake off and a glimpse of hope and humor emerged. I realize that I paid for this! Yes, I’ve paid for this experience! At least 3 times if not more.
Social Distancing, isolation, disconnecting from regular routines, fasting, reflecting ~ I’ve paid for this, all of it, but gave it a different name ~ A Silent Retreat. The first couple days I’d shake off and process the discomfort of breaking from routines. Adjust to the new way of being present and mindful. And after a week to 10 days - I’d fully embrace the process and sad to see it end; my experience for a typical Silent Retreat. At the Virtual Meeting I began laughing, awaking to the realization that we are in a World Wide Silent Retreat. A rare virus divinely connecting each of us, I wondered if COVID-19 could be a type of Soul-Full Virus-mycelium?
So my anxiety has become an opportunity to be silent, break from routines, go within and explore a deeper connection to my Soul. And in my meditations during this World-Wide Silent Retreat, the words of Gandhi, “The world has enough for everyone’s needs, but not everyone’s greed” came clearly as I shopped - not finding any toilet paper or hand sanitizer, or onions, or potatoes. Also in my meditation I see a balancing scale, on one side Social Distancing and the other side Soul-Full Distancing. And maybe, just maybe the decades of (greed) Distancing from our Soul is reclaiming a balance through Social Distancing is this the virus-mycelium way of offering a World Wide Silent Retreat so there is less Distance from our Souls; an opportunity to be Soul-Full by Social Distancing.
And understand, I do not see this as a true World-Wide Silent Retreat, but an opportunity to shift my thinking, shift from distress to hopefulness. That with Kindness and Kind Acts, we can collectively make a difference for so many loved ones around the world who are extremely sick, and so many who have died. I do not take this lightly, but heart-fully, and my tears and prayers are for their families and loved ones. Especially to my dear friend whose young niece just died, leaving her husband and young toddler. My Prayers are for the World to realize our deep connection to one-another. That we cannot go back to old ways of being. That collectively we care for our planet, animals, its environment, and each other.