Recently, in conversation with a fellow yogi I uttered something to the effect that the stress of moving through life this year has essentially amounted to seeing other people as potential threats. That idea has weighed heavily, even before I voiced the notion. I find it upsetting that we must see strangers as a threat – potential carriers of a deadly virus. Maybe no one is saying it that way – but that’s what is happening, right?
When you think about it, we must maintain physical distance from those strangers. For our own safety we have to put our fellow humans at arm’s length. We’re covering our faces. We’re limiting contact. Doing so or failing to do so could mean the difference between life and death.
If that notion doesn’t automatically tense your body – I challenge you to sit with that thought for a minute and really pay attention to how your body reacted to the thought “every stranger I encounter is a potential threat”. I’ll share where I feel it most. My chest. It tightens along with my throat.
Why does my throat react to a fight or flight response? I think it is because I’m one of those people who voices fear. I scream on roller coasters. I gasp at scary movies. My family loves to tease me for my fear outbursts. There’s a hilarious video of my one and only skydiving experience where I’m screaming open mouthed as I’m free falling having jumped out of a perfectly good airplane with another human being strapped to my back. I’m so terrified, I don’t realize how quickly all the moisture is blown away by the force of air into my gaping maw. The effort it took to swallow is forever on video – and I KEPT ON SCREAMING.
So yeah, a threat causes fear response.
In my experience, moving from a place of fear results in some not so nice outcomes. I’m amazed that I haven’t had a major fight with anyone. All of my public, albeit extremely limited, interactions with folks have been calm and peaceful if not downright neighborly. I have anecdotal evidence that not everyone can say the same.
Day to day existing in a pandemic is friggin’ intense.
My apologies if I’ve just stated the obvious. But I’m going to ask you to pause and notice that understatement of the year. Notice the verb. I didn’t say living or thriving – I said existing. Surviving, essentially – staying alive is intense.
I do not have the answers, but boy do I have questions.
How are you doing more than just staying alive?
Where are you finding connection with others?
In what way have you tapped into something greater than yourself – be it nature or a higher power?