How to Change Your Life During a Pandemic (In a Good Way)

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Back in early March of 2020, a friend and I were talking about how it may be a good idea to stay home for a while. Cocoon and evolve were his wise words. We didn’t realize at the time that we were about to learn a potent lesson: How to change your life during a pandemic. (In a good way, as in, for the better . . . not the scary turbulent way that is impacting the entire world and is full of uncertainty.)

It was days before “social distancing” became a common term, days before distancing became shelter-in-place mandates. The shelves in Whole Foods were fully stocked. People looked at me weird for buying a few extra cans of beans, and I actually explained to one man that I’m not prepping, the beans just cost half the price compared to my local food coop.

Now we are in a time of paradox. We are experiencing a rapid acceleration of policies, unprecedented logistics, and harsh administrative realities. We are learning what exponential growth means in the context of a global pandemic, and damn it is fast. And simultaneously everything is grinding to a halt. 

But with rapid change comes opportunity. Somewhere in this mess there is something valuable to discover. Our job, as humans who are capable of personal growth, is to find it.

I’m being asked to stay home. Cocoon and evolve. Find something magical so that I can emerge better than I was before. (And maybe write a blog article about it called How to change your life during a pandemic.)

So, time for over-sharing. Yes, that’s something I do, on occasion. It can be embarrassing. But here is the first treasure I found when I started to look for it.

This morning as I drove to the grocery store to buy salt, I started to cry. Not because I’m scared, though as a mother of two little girls, I am certainly on edge. Not because I’m sad, though I’m human and well aware of the longing and loss that come with that job description. 

I cried because I felt the power of love. Now if this phrase makes you cringe, you’re not alone. I also want to hide from love sometimes. Often perhaps. It’s so BIG. So messy. So irrational and cliche and new-agey and terrifying. But love is also indestructible. Infinite. Powerful beyond our wildest dreams. 

Empty shelves at the grocery store
The local food coop this morning . . .

In the store I stared at the empty shelves and asked my dead grandmothers what to buy from what little remained (potatoes and sardines they said, and a cabbage.) There was no salt, but that’s ok. Love is what we need right now, in copious amounts. I will sprinkle it on everything. I will share it, receive it, hoard it. I will even try to infect anyone I come in contact with, from six feet away. Over the phone. Online . . .

And while all of this unfolds, I will also crawl into my cocoon. Stay home with my family, do what is necessary, and witness the wonder of my immediate surroundings. I will feel myself melt away as I become a different creature. Perhaps one that can fly, and not just in my dreams.


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