“Tamara, are you nuts? You’re going to write about the upside of this crazy killing-machine called COVID-19?!” Yes, I guess I am. Why? Whenever I feel challenged by something, I hear the words, ‘find the benefit’ ringing in my head. I listened to the same words when we discovered our son had Lyme disease, and four days later, my husband was told: “You have stage-4 cancer.”
Therefore, today, while sheltering-in-place, I say to my first responder husband as he’s leaving for another 24-hour shift at the firehouse, “Stay safe, my love. I’ll see you tomorrow morning.” Bursts of fear run through me as I see him leaving, knowing that he’ll be assisting yet another scared, upset, and very sick person infected with the virus, yet I hear the words again, ‘find the benefit.’
Here I sit counting benefits of this microorganism that has taken the focus of all people around the world.
For the past ten years, I’ve operated from the conviction that life is happening for me, not to me. In other words, God, the Universe, and all of life has my back, is working for me, not against me. With this optimistic view on life, I have found true peace and gratitude for how life shows up, precisely the way it does. I used to try to be grateful for what I was experiencing, now I live in gratitude much of the time.
People often tell me, “Tamara, someday my wish is to see life like you do, with so much calm and joy. But how do you do it? How’d you get to this place of peace? What’s your secret?”
There’s no secret, just many small steps along the way: journaling what I’m grateful for; thanking nature for being such a grounding source; compassion for myself and others.
I imagine every small step I’ve taken as a drop of water that has been forming a divine ocean of peace within me.
I admit, some days, the smallest actions I take seem like an enormous leap. Yet, by taking one tiny step per day, I realize I can choose to take my journey into peace at any moment.
I choose peace. Even though this world crisis poses a threat to my family and friends, I still decide on inner peace.
So, what are the five benefits of coronavirus?
- (1) #ClapBecauseWeCare
- At 7:00 PM every evening for one full minute, New York City residents stick their heads out their windows and stand on their balconies to clap, holler, and yelp in gratitude for all the First Responders, the health care providers, and all those stores and restaurants that remain open to give us the essentials that we need to survive. Maybe the Big Apple will not be seen as such a cold-hearted place after all?
- (2) Family Time
- Our daughter, a computer software engineer, has created virtual games for us to play as a family. So inventive and wonderfully fun!!
- Several couples in my psychotherapy practice have reported feeling closer to one another. Since they’re both working from home, they have more time to do things together, like walking, reading, and communicating in a more relaxed way.
- Grace Wong, age 16, as quoted by Buzz Feed News, sums it up the best by saying, “If there’s anything this self-isolation has taught me so far, it’s this: It’s never too late to bond with family and awaken new interests.”
- (3) Environment
- The news has reported cleaner waters and visits from dolphins in Venice, Italy, improved air quality in lock-down areas around the world, and reduced consumption of coal in China. Yay!
- (4) Cook, Clean and Organize
- Cooking has become exciting for me again. I have finally mastered the use of my Instant Pot, and I love it! From hors d’oeuvres to desserts, I am delighting in creating a new culinary surprise for my family every day.
- So many friends and family have shared that they have finally taken the time to clean their homes deeply and to organize their closets, drawers, photos, etc. On Zoom calls, they give me a tour of their dwellings, so picked-up, nicely arranged, and sparkly.
- (5) Self-Care Practices
- With more time available, people are taking virtual classes in weight lifting, aerobics, spinning, Tai Chi, Qi Gong, and yoga classes.
- They are meditating, bird-watching, contemplating, reading, and taking long scented indulgent baths.
- Many are much more open and interested in trying new things: being still, self-exploration, and finally being able to focus on the most important question they could ever ask, “Who am I?.”
When I read over this list, it makes me smile. I hope it’s a feel-good read for you, too. I intend to continue my focus on choosing peace and calm during this world crisis!
Are there any surprising gifts that you’re experiencing during this pivotal time? We’d love to hear from you in the comments or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Wishing you calm,
Tamara & David