Whilst the majority of the world looks back on possibly the toughest year in the last 5 generations, I’m encouraged to reflect on the clarity this year brought. The year that was the catalyst to change the way we live, eat and work. COVID might have shortened the lives of 1.7m people worldwide, but have we stopped to consider the gifts that COVID brought us?
Many years ago, friend and mentor, David R Patient (1961-2017) wrote an article; “The Gifts of Aids”.
Not that COVID and AIDS are comparable, but the topics in David’s article are ominously apt to that, which I believe, 2020 and COVID has brought us. As a tribute to David and the work he did in his time on earth, I’ve used his topics, tying them to that which 2020 presented to us.
Tonight, I’ve lit a candle for each gift, and I am overwhelmed with a sense of peace, gratitude and graceful anticipation of what lies ahead.
The gift of Intimacy
Sometimes life just happens, we work, we commute, we stress and lose touch of those that are closest to us. Not because we want to, but simply because of the busy lives we lead. Focussed on that extra bit in the bank, the next promotion, keeping a client happy. Lockdown has forced us to stay home, to be in the company of our loved ones 24/7. I know of so many who have stood on the brink of breakup, and now actually having had the time to spend with their loved one. Rekindling the intimacy, they once had and being able to focus on each other’s needs.
The gift of Surrender
Having recently written a post “Surrender to Love”, COVID has forced us to surrender to “what is”. Surely this is a sign that there is a greater power that can force nations to “submit”. The time has come for us to become aware of our own biases, expectations and perceived entrapments, and as you acknowledge them and surrender in faith, you too will move towards oneness with the Universe.
The gift of Community
In the village where I live, we have a large population of foreign migratory workers. The effect of a hard lockdown meant that these people could not work. And whilst our government provided relief in the form of food parcels and social grants, these migrants were not entitled to it. Within a few hours of realizing that this the case, every convenience store arranged donation boxes. People united in empathy and a segregated community became one.
The gift of Service
Do you remember clapping at 8 pm every night? What happened to our enthusiasm and genuine gratitude to those who have placed their lives danger, by being the frontline first responders? In heart and mind, I bow my head in gratitude to every single person, nurse, doctor, policeman, and every other person, whom, knowing the dangers, still attended their jobs in service of others.
The gift of Wisdom
If there was one big opportunity that this year brought, it was pushing people out of their comfort zones. Whether you were forced to reinvent yourself and pursue a whole new career or found the time to study or learn a new skill, or simply knowing were to ‘unmute’ yourself on zoom.
The gift of Presence
Anyone that has attended any form of mindfulness exercise might have heard the expression: “be present”. Knowing that yesterday is but a memory, tomorrow doesn’t exist, and all that we have is ‘now’. That’s all we have. By making the best of ‘now’, you cultivate a habit of living a fulfilled life.
The gift of Meaning
I called it the ‘COVID needle’ that popped every boil that has been festering for the last few decades, that brought deeply rooted hatred and racism, bigotry and corruption to the surface. We got to realize that we can never go back to “normal” because “normal” was never right. We realized all that is wrong, and now have the means to move beyond politics, religion, cultures.
The gift of Love
At the beginning of the year, Johann and I responded to an urgent call to foster a very abused basset. Needless to say, we failed as foster parents, though we are pretty good adoptive parents, and SuShee cultivated a tremendous sense of empathy and love for this little broken soul. A few months later, with Lulu on our one side and SuShee on the other, we witness thousands of ‘happy endings’, with homes opening their doors and animal shelters closing theirs.
The gift of Gratitude
For me, this is my highlight. Both my folks tested positive earlier this year, mom was tremendously ill, and through the grace of God and the unsurpassed dedication of the physicians that took care of her, they celebrated my birthday with me at the end of this year. I can only imagine that this is only one of tens of millions of similar stories.
The gift of God
Many have turned to God, whatever you may presume Him or Her to be. Be it for the first time in their lives or rekindling an estranged relationship. Though it might have been through desperation or fear of the unknown, somehow through all the hardship and tears, we are accepted freely and loved unconditionally.
To find oneness in everything that is around us, and in God, life becomes beautiful, purposeful and blissful.
My wish to each of you is to reflect on this year and to find the goodness that it brought, in the polarity of the not-so-good. Tell your story. Spread your prana.
May you and yours be blessed abundantly this Christmas, whether you celebrate or not, our love will be with you.
Monet & Johann
and of course, the kids… SuShee, Lulu, Gemma & Mischief