March 24, 2020
The other night I was having a bit of an adult temper tantrum.
As most of you know, in the midst of this pandemic, I launched a book. Yes, I know, it sounds like the beginning of a bad joke and I sorta wish it was, but it’s not. All of my speaking engagements have been cancelled/postponed. My in-person book launch has now moved to a virtual launch. I am learning more than I knew before about social media and Instagram and LInked in.
And that is just why my temper tantrum occurred.
“I can’t figure this out! Why isn’t this working?! I linked my Instagram to my Facebook page but when I post on Insta it doesn’t appear on Facebook. What is going on? And don’t tell me to google it. I already have and I did what I was told and it’s still not working!” All of these outbursts accompanied by huffs and puffs and sighs and groans. Both my son and my daughter were looking at me like I’d lost it. Truth be told, I kinda had.
Suddenly I hear my daughter say, “Ema, you know, I don’t get it. You’re so calm about the coronavirus and everything else that’s happening in the world and you’re freaking out about your Instagram account. Really?! What’s up with that??
The three of us burst into laughter.
She was right.
Deep mommy breath inhale. Deep mommy breath exhale.
Our kids are so wise and can be our best teachers, if we listen. I heard her message loud and clear, “Amy, relax, you’ll figure it out. Put things in perspective. Oh, and by the way, why are you calm about the coronavirus?”
I harkened back to another conversation I had a week earlier with a friend who asked me something similar, “You sound so calm? How are you remaining so calm?”
It gave me pause. I had noticed that I was feeling exceptionally calm amidst this chaos. Why was that? Was it because I had been practicing good self-care: eating well, exercising, meditating, and going outside in nature? Maybe. However, it felt like there was something deeper that was keeping me grounded and calm.
Slowly, the answer appeared to me, “because once you’ve lost a child, nothing else matters.” Now, let me unpack that because that is what I mean, and that is not what I mean. I believe that everything matters…and nothing matters. Everything that we do matters, the words we say to another person, the smile in our eyes, the hate in our hearts, all of it matters. And after the death of a child, the rest of your life is put into a very different perspective — nothing else matters. It has been just over a year since Yossi’s death and this perspective, for me, has come to mean that regardless of what life throws me, I will (somehow) survive. I will find a way to make it through the unimaginable. I remember saying to my two remaining children after their brother died,
“I don’t know HOW we will get through this;
I just know THAT we will get through it.”
Not that I mean to belittle the serious nature of this pandemic. We must be vigilant. We must stay home. We must take precautions. We must listen to the scientists. And, at the end of the day, as much as we like to think that we are in control, we are not. As my good friend Susan likes to say, “There is Someone up there directing traffic.”
After all of our preparations, might we be able to make space for surrender? Not in the sense of giving up but rather in the sense of giving over. I imagine that might be hard for many of (most of) us to live into. I’d like to suggest that an actual sense of liberation emerges once you know that you have done all that you possibly can, and then you let it go — the worry, the fear, the anxiety, the uncertainty.
We are empowered to do all that we can…and then we are invited to realize that we are not in power.
So, there you have it. A long-winded answer to my grounded-ness and calm. Of course, there have been moments of anxiety along the way but luckily right now, they do not last long and they do not define my experience.
I’m wondering how you might use your life experiences to move into a space of calm? What do you and can you do to stay grounded? I’d love to hear from you. Please hit respond to share what you’re doing to help navigate this pandemic.
Sending out blessings for safety and health, appreciation to first-responders and health care professionals, and gratitude for the many gifts in our lives — that means YOU, dear reader.