Thank You For Being Here!! Thoughts on Gratitude During COVID-19

“THANK YOU FOR BEING HERE!!!”

These are the words that I keep hearing spoken around me, again and again, when ever I leave my house to grab some groceries or other necessary items. I keep on catching people looking at grocers, Lyft drivers, delivery people, Fedex and USPS drivers, pharmacists, you name it – in the eye – and saying with so much genuine gratitude: “Thank you for being here!!”

Can you imagine what kind of society we would live in if we treated the many hundreds, or even thousands of people who help our lives to function smoothly with this amount of kindness and compassion?

Now…I have some thoughts on why I am seeing this phenomenon at work. I think that there is this growing recognition in our society that every single person you see who has shown up to work to help us get the essentials we all need to survive – did so at their own peril. They showed up to work as a powerful act of love – love for the families and communities they support, all the while risking their health and well-being.

So when I hear random folks expressing extra gratitude, it causes my heart to swell immensely with joy at this powerful recognition of our interconnectedness. Interconnectedness is another word for interdependence – a word that is often brought up in mindfulness circles because it defines the manner in which every single sentient being is so deeply and inextricably connected to each other on this precious planet of ours.

We can see now more than ever how what happens seemingly across the planet, thousands of miles away, has an immediate impact on our community life, and our ability to experience well-being. This moment in time is such a powerful teachable moment, if we can lean into our capacity to learn from everything that is arising in the chaos.

I will admit, it took me a few weeks to even begin to wrap my mind around the massive collective chaos we have been experiencing as a global community. I went through so many different emotions all at once…fear, rage, sorrow, anger, depression, confusion, numbness, and intense grief!!!

I truly did not know what to post there for a minute. So yesterday, I took a shot at showing up on IG – rather imperfectly – and posted a video I took of the beautiful trees blossoming here in Portland, and a silly conversation had between me and my daughter…because these are the little things that are keeping my head held high right now.

I am noticing more than ever the power of the beauty of nature to capture my imagination. I am feeling deeply into the ways in which we can support one another and our capacity to live long and healthy lives, by practicing each and every day behaviors that support the collective community – especially those of us who are the most vulnerable because of the inequalities that have been baked so deeply into our society for hundreds of years.

Really and truly, I wonder what my life would be like, and how I would treat my fellow Earth-beings if every time I saw someone, or an animal, or plant, I thought to myself “Thank you for being here!!” and meant it with my whole heart. This is my North Star right now. Because I am utterly thankful to exist right now. I am overwhelmed with how amazing it is to have a body that functions, that can take to the places I need to get to with limbs that can walk and run and dance freely. With each breath I take, I am asking myself what I might have been taking for granted before this COVID-19 experience took hold of the planet. There is a lot!

I have taken for granted, on many different levels, the many many individuals upon whom I am totally dependent for my survival, for one thing. And that really is the underlying message of the “Science of Social Justice” that I hope to continue to explore as it keeps taking shape alongside of the intense changes this world is going through…that social justice and well-being are one and the same thing!! They are truly two sides of the same coin. We cannot have well-being for some, and not for others. That the health of our bodies and communities and nations are one and the same thing. I get the feeling that perhaps now more than ever, this message is truly pertinent to the times we are living in.

Phenomenal art my “Mystic Mama” (my favorite astrolger ever!!!): www.mysticmama.com

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