Returning to Heart in the Time of Coronavirus

When my son was five years old, he got very sick. I called the doctor after hours and explained the symptoms over the phone. He paused and then said, “Tell me, Mom, what do you think?”

“I think there’s something wrong. He’s not himself,” I said.

“I trust a mother’s intuition,” he replied. “Take him to the hospital, and I’ll meet you there.”

My son had pneumonia. They sent him home to rest, and for five eerie days my little Tasmanian Devil lay nearly motionless on the couch. My mother’s intuition told me he’d be okay in the long run—that we just had to get through this scary, unsettling time—but every fiber of my being wished we could speed up that process.

After several days, I watched as my son sat up slowly. Some toy had caught his attention, and he rolled off the couch and beat on it for a few minutes. Wearing himself out quickly, he returned to his pillow and blanket, but my heart soared. He was on the mend. He’d be back to his old self in no time, running from here to there, turning up the volume in our house, and breaking things.

This past week, I’ve been wracked with worry about my grown children as Covid-19 spreads across the cities in which they live and their places of business shutter. I’ve been checking in constantly with my friends and family members to make sure they’re okay. I’ve been seriously considering the possibility that my business might not rebound from this as all my revenue streams shut down. And I’ve been feeling the weight of isolation as someone who loves being around other people.

I have not been okay. I have not been myself. But my intuition tells me I will be. I will recover from this. We all will. In the meantime, we need to rest and rebuild our strength. We need to protect our energy and our health, because nothing depletes those two things like worry and stress. We need to know that this, too, will pass and we’ll be okay, but we gotta take care of each other. We’re all going to have those moments when we’re the ones lying motionless on the couch, and we’ll need our friends and family to read to us and sing to us and soothe us. Because tomorrow, it might be our turn to comfort them.

I’m the one always waxing poetic about cultivating our brilliant ideas and encouraging our inner artists, but this week, I did not do that. I moved out of my heart and into my mind as I frantically sought solutions and weighed questions. And last night, I lay awake feeling panicky and unable to sleep.

Then I remembered my son and how sometimes we’re not in control and we don’t know how long something will last and we can’t just wish things away. But we can be present and watchful and nurturing and creative. And we can feel ourselves grow stronger as our hearts recall what matters most.

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