This blog post is about the clarity I’ve found around the virus and our journey with 2020. We each have to find our own meaning this year, but there are some general thoughts flying around the New Thought and self-help community that are harmful and limiting.
Some of you will not agree with me, some might be aghast at what I wrote, and I hope most of you will feel relief. Keep following what feels expansive to you. It’s okay to feel what you are feeling. And meet yourself where you are.
No “God” but still Heaven
I remember when I discovered that my path in life wasn’t predetermined, set by a God in the sky, but rather mine to choose and create. I felt more responsible, excited, but also a bit tentative. It’s harder when there are more choices, and if there wasn’t a higher wisdom guiding mine, then what?
My views shifted with time from a casual yet fearful relationship to religion to belief in the non-physical, knowing I have a connection to a higher self and wisdom and that there definitely is life beyond this lifetime. Many people I know feel similarly: God isn’t in charge, and we are more than just our physical bodies.
Notice the nuances there? I believe in Guides, but not that my fate is predetermined.
(I fear that I am offending some of my faith-based readers by writing this. That is not my intent; I respect your faith and your alignment with that.)
No, you don’t create your reality 100%, and that’s okay.
Over the last 25 years, I’ve done a lot of personal work, including learning to listen to my intuition, healing painful heart wounds, and learning to embrace my way of being in the world. While I’ve danced with lots of New Thought teachings around the idea that our thoughts and beliefs create our reality, I never made my millions, cured cancer, or solved poverty.
I absolutely believe that our patterns of thoughts affect our lives. But I also know that doesn’t explain why so many people are successful and why so many people are suffering. We each are born into different circumstances. The country, the financial class, the education class, and the race of our families and communities make a difference. We have more influence over our lives than we might realize, but we are also part of a larger world that has a collective mindset that affects us as well.
Notice the nuances? Our thinking matters, and it’s not enough.
The virus is not here to teach us a lesson.
I understand why people think this. They want to think there’s a higher authority that decided this is what the world needs to reset itself. They want to think that if there’s a higher authority, then it’s going to be okay.
The virus happened. Based on how different areas responded, it was worse or better for people. People’s skills, effectiveness, planning, responsiveness, and competency made a difference.
We learned. We learned about our fear and ourselves. We learned about social inequalities and where our social structures are broken. We learned that families matter, and we hate being isolated.
The virus happened, and we learned. But that isn’t a cause and effect statement. The virus doesn’t have a higher intelligence that is here to teach us. It just is. And we responded.
Fast-moving trains kill us.
If you stand in front of a fast-moving train, will you be killed? For most of us, the answer is yes. There might be a rare Yogi someplace who could become transparent enough that the train moves through them. But I am not that skilled and won’t ever be.
But — my intuition and desire to live might help me not be standing on the fast-moving train tracks. Unless my car stalled, and I can’t get out.
I have heard and read and been told by the new thought community, “If you got sick, you invited it.”
So, yeah. How compassionate is that statement? If I followed the safety guidelines of wearing a mask, washing hands, and avoiding large gatherings, and I still got ill, blaming myself isn’t very helpful. I am responsible for my health habits, how I eat, how I think, and how I live. I got sick, I used all the resources I have, and I got better. I learned a lot about the emotional stressors of the virus. I’m glad I had this experience, but I didn’t invite it.
Victim blaming is a fear-based response. Don’t do it. Look at your own fear and work with it.
Good science matters. Expertise matters. Organizations matter.
Becoming a mom, I went down a path of alternative health, unschooling, and attachment parenting. These choices served my family well. I like having homeopathy to get me through acute illnesses. I like the freedom of unschooling. To get to these choices, I pushed against the medical establishment and against schools. Mixed in with those personal choices were mistrust of medicine and schools and organizations.
I still believe that compulsory education needs to be changed and doesn’t serve all the children. But I also now realize that most children don’t get enough at home and school plays a valuable role.
I still believe that holistic health has a role in our healthcare, but it’s simplistic to think that’s enough.
I don’t want to die, and I will be okay when I do
I wish we all knew how okay we will be when we die. It’s a rare person who is okay with the concept of death, which fascinates me. We all die, and yet we all so scared of it. I think what we mean is that we don’t want to die before our time. We want to live full lives and experiences. And we want to die peacefully.
The virus has invited us to realize that we do want to live full, connected lives. People matter, hugs matter, getting together matters.
I think it’s fair to say that at the end of 2020, we feel closer to each other than ever, we value people more, and we want to live. Some of us will have died.
The virus happened, and we learned. But that isn’t a cause and effect statement.
Photo by Robert Seidel on Unsplash