The Global Opportunity & Blessings of COVID-19

By Michael Stone
 

Spring is proof that there is beauty in new beginnings
— Matshona Dhliwayo
 

Spring is here and with it an unprecedented opportunity, perhaps beyond any that has occurred since the birth of humanity. Today more than 7.5 billion people face a common, non-human threat in the form of the coronavirus. While there is fear, death, uncertainty, even panic, there is also beauty, kindness, and a compassionate birthing of an awakening human heart. One thing is clear, nothing will ever be the same again!

It’s ironic that the most isolating thing we have ever experienced has become the most collective and connecting event in human history. While the consumption machine has slowed down a spacious settledness has touched our beautiful blue planet. The virus has been a great equalizer. No amount of money, power or possession puts one’s value or worthiness above others. Could it be any clearer that everyone and everything is connected? Physical distancing has brought about social connection.
 

We are a profoundly interconnected species, as the global economic and ecological crises reveal in vivid and frightening detail. We must embrace the simple fact that we are dependent on and accountable to one another. 
— Parker Palmer
 

As the terminal busyness of our societies has slowed down a deep stillness and spaciousness have emerged. We can almost feel the planet breathing a sigh of relief. In Venice Italy the dolphins have returned to the canals, in China people have seen the clear blue skies for the first time in years, air pollution has been reduced significantly, and global CO2 levels, the primary contributor to climate change, have been steadily dropping. In the distance, you can almost hear the songbirds singing, “hallelujah.”

The need for isolation has given pause to a tired, fearful, and fragmented world. Many of us have taken the opportunity to reflect, meditate and contemplate on where to go from here? While it appears that the fear we are experiencing is “out there”, on closer examination we can feel and experience this fear as internal, an “in here” phenomenon. This is a good thing because if I recognize the fear is within, I can meet it with a loving and compassionate heart.
 

It’s important that we meet this moment with presence: honoring our fear, 
while awakening the resilience that has been transmitted from our ancestors 
who survived crises in the past. We can choose to raise our awareness — to create mutual support and collaboration, find a new vision, 
and fully embody our potential.
— Thomas Hubl
 

When we shift our attention from a threat outside ourselves to exploring the very nature of the fear within, we realize it is only fear, because I am fearful. All of us have, in our early years, experienced threatening and fear-inducing experiences. These early events have a residual existence in our bodies and our cellular memory. For most of us, these experiences have not been fully integrated and cause us to avoid certain situations, respond with anger or denial, and hold back from taking risks in the present. Our personal fears shape our ways of meeting life and the world. In addition to our own undigested and fearful experiences, we live in a culture that holds past traumatic experiences inside the cultural field which affects and informs us, just as we contribute to it.

Another impact of early trauma and fear-inducing experiences from our youth is that it takes an enormous amount of energy to suppress these past experiences. To fully digest and integrate these fearful experiences from our past we must first stop trying to get rid of them and give them the love and attention they need and deserve. How do we do that?

We get curious when fear arises, and lean into it. Know that this is coming up for healing and it has a story to tell. Feel and locate it in your body. What age is it? Is there a story connected to it? If you see your self at an earlier age, hold that child in your arms and give him or her the love, attention, and nurturing they didn’t get when they needed it. Let go of the story and just give love to this younger you. This is the path to awakening.
 

When emotional distress arises uninvited, we let the storyline go and abide with the energy. We can feel the energy in our bodies. If we can stay with it, neither acting it out nor repressing it, it wakes us up.
— Pema Chodron
 

When we express love, compassion, and kindness towards ourselves, the need to justify or defend ourselves dissolves and fear and worry will usually dissipate. We also move closer to our common-unity with others, our vulnerability opens our heart and we can feel the fear in others. In that mutuality, we down-regulate the fear together and realize our profound interconnection with all of life. We move from an “I” to a “We” experience. We begin to act collectively and collaboratively, rather than independently from a place of separation, isolation, and competition.

I think the appropriate response to the virus is to be grateful. Not for the sickness and death that has come from it, but for stopping and connecting all of humanity, for making us realize all the things we have taken for granted, and for allowing us to step back from our tranquilized routines and question, “what kind of world do we really want to live in? From our solitude and seclusion, we can connect to and call forth a common future of kindness, compassion, and peace?” This is a kairos moment in time when a previously unimagined future is suddenly possible on a global scale. As Mahatma Gandhi said, “The future depends on what you do today.” We can make our actions consistent with this new, previously unimaginable future, and bring it into reality!

We at the Well of Light are here to serve in the awakening of a new common future based on interconnection, co-creation, compassion, respect for all life, a world of peace, harmony and what Thich Naht Hahn has called inter-being… Please let us know how we can better serve and support you in these turbulent times of unprecedented change and possibility…
 

With love and gratitude,
Michael, Meriel & the Well of Light Team
 

Isn’t there a way to break the patterns of the past and tune into our highest future possibility—and to begin to operate from that place?
— Otto Scharmer
 

Note: This article is in no way meant to avoid feeling the immense pain, suffering, disruption, and death that COVID-19 has brought to so many people, families, and communities. It’s only to present an alternative way of holding these events and embracing the healing opportunities they present!
 

Michael is offering a free daily meditation on his website. Click here for all the details.


 


Michael Stone, MSOD, ISOD, is a shamanic teacher and practitioner, and the host and producer of The Shift Network’s Shamanism Global Summit. He spent most of his vocational life as a corporate organizational development consultant, communications specialist and leadership trainer. For over three decades he has worked with Fortune 500 companies, NGOs, and social profit institutions throughout Europe and North America. For the past 10 years, Michael has focused his attention on the social profit sector while deepening his knowledge of shamanism, gender issues, and creative alternatives to current organizational structures and methods of productivity.

Michael is the host of KVMR’s award-winning show, Conversations: Possibilities and Perspectives on Local and Global Issues. It focuses on environmental restoration, spiritual fulfillment, evolutionary cosmology, community building, wellness, and social justice issues. He is also a journalist who contributes to numerous publications, including his own e-newsletter, The Well of Light. Michael has extensive training in somatic movement and is a certified trainer in Trance Dance, Soul Motion, and Gabrielle Roth’s 5Rhythms. He has brought his training in communications, gestalt, meditation, and psychology together with his spiritual and environmental conviction to develop a unique approach to bringing forth a new depth in social, cultural, and environmental awareness.

The new consciousness that is birthing can be scary, freeing, exciting, and horrifying all at the same time. Michael can help people maneuver through their past traumas and darkness in order to create a free space for infinite possibilities. Email Michael here to schedule a coaching session with him (at a quarantine discount).

Click here to visit Michael's website, The Well of Light.
 

Catalyst is produced by The Shift Network to feature inspiring stories and provide information to help shift consciousness and take practical action. To receive Catalyst twice a month, sign up here.

This article appears in: 2020 Catalyst, Issue 8: Navigating the Shutdown

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