Can Covid–19 and the newfound time in our lives provide an opportunity to create a space for grace and healing?
Humans typically evade uncomfortable feelings that we don’t want to feel. There are mechanisms we use to avoid unwanted feelings. If we are sad we may go to mall and buy a new dress. If we feel shame we might turn to an addictive substance for a temporary high. These quick fixes never truly relieve the underlying feelings that we are trying to escape from. Emotions such as hurt, fear, shame, or trauma still remain. While there are many ways to distract us from what lurks inside, there are also mechanisms that contribute to emotional wellness.
Examples of positive mechanisms that create physical and emotional well-being for example may be going to the gym, attending cultural events, attending worship services, and social events.
Covid–19 has brought these mechanisms, both destructive or constructive to a halt. The outlets to escape negative feelings or to enhance positive feelings have temporarily vanished. We are left to grieve many losses.
The Covid–19 Virus has robbed us of normal life-giving activities. Yet, perhaps the thief has left a gift. The gift being the space and time to encounter the emotions that we have stuffed down, sometimes for a lifetime. We are left in a situation described in the lyrics to the 1960s rhythm and blues song, “Nowhere to Run to Baby, Nowhere to Hide.” Without the distractions, both constructive and destructive, there is an opportunity to meet and greet those emotions that have long been calling for healing. Although we now lack outward physical touch, we have the opportunity to touch the interior.
In normal circumstances, the dormant emotions that we avoid leak out unexpectedly at times in our life without much consciousness. What if we welcomed them, gave them the space to be felt, held and nurtured. Can we be spiritual warriors and invite the feelings we have suppressed to rise to consciousness? What if we listened to what they need, to feel them in our bodies and to experience their rawness? What if we treat these underlying emotions with compassion, tenderness and mercy? What if we use this time of stillness to move hurt, trauma, shame and fear up and out and into a space of grace to be healed?
Perhaps by staying home we can come home to our true selves as we do the work of healing leading toward wholeness. Maybe in staying home we experience the human condition as Rumi described in his poem The Guest House:
This being human is a guest house, every morning a new arrival, a joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor.
Let’s be courageous enough to “invite them in, welcome and entertain them all … each has been sent as a guide from beyond.” If so, we may thank the Covid–19 thief for the gift it left.