“If I had known then what I know now, I would have lived life differently.” – MGH
I cannot imagine that there are very many people who would not resonate with that statement. If you are out there, I hope you have written many a wise piece for the rest of us who are living uneasily with the consequences of the choices we made decades ago. Regret and remorse, anger and sadness, longing and wishing all weave themselves through the years of the unwise or dangerous or stupid or naive choices now behind us.
Of course, we are who we are now because of all of them, yes? We have learned from our choices. The good ones and the not so good ones.
These days, weeks, months of pandemic distancing, isolation and separation are showing us just where all of those choices have brought us. Have they brought us wisdom? Resilience? Perspective? Perhaps. Hopefully so. We know a lot now. But we’ve also found out that we’re not finished learning how to live. We’re discovering that these moments, these perilous, unpredictable months have been giving us a chance we might never have had otherwise.
The chance to do life differently. The chance to be nurtured by our very spirits into a wisdom we would not have found as deeply or miraculously in any other way. Or as quickly.
We have had to do life differently in spite of ourselves for months now. Follow orders. Obey the rules. Go against all that we know and cherish most. Sift through the ridiculous to find the truth. Live in the fog of change that has no clear end. Swim in strange waters, fighting the undertow of our fears. (Oh, wait, that doesn’t work…has anyone been really swimming???)
We are cocooning in these days! We are wrapped in strong silk, waiting to break through the constrictions that bind us within that safe covering. And all the while, growing, growing, reaching toward what we will become…some day.
In our cocooning, our sometimes desperate longing for each others’ physical touch is growing our capacity for a more genuine love, one that is even wider and deeper, even more authentic and charitable.
The faces whose mouths we cannot see through the masks now depend on our ability to read eyes. And on being able to hear the muffled words that we all need so desperately to hear.
The chrysalis of our spirits right now is being re-formed. It is alive and lively! Microscopic changes are emerging every day beyond our seeing. We are being re-imagined!
I was in an emergency room overnight two weeks ago, and in those hours, I found a peace that was beyond my imagining. I was seen by a cardiologist this week, and to my amazement, all is well! As long as I do what I must do to keep it that way.
My erratic Nordic pole walking is now becoming a disciplined way of life. Doing life differently.
My daily meditations are not just a way to a peaceful day; they are growing the power of peace into a sturdy foundation. Doing life differently.
There is more purpose yet to my life. I suspect I may live a good deal longer than I thought I would. And that has become a gift that I didn’t even realize I really wanted. It’s another chance, if you will, to “do life differently.” It is a chance given to every one of us in these unimaginably hard days.
We can do more, be more than ever. Our purpose continues, and it is already changing and adapting and finding new ways for us to meet this crazy, evolving world.
This time of cocooning…of living within that nurturing, protective chrysalis that has been wrapped around us…is pure grace if we let it do its work.
Yes, we long for its work to be done. Yes, we long to re-enter life fully. We know that it will be different.
Isn’t that what life is? Always different? Always changing?
Yes, the changes have arrived at warp speed this time. But we are capable. We are getting a great big shove into a world of the spirit that is empowering us to “live life differently now.”
So we live the cocoon life for now. Those of us who are elders and the compromised know that it will be longer for us. But the reward in the end will be all the more stunning because the waiting has been so long.
We are all learning how to cocoon so that when we burst out of its confinement, we will be rebirthed to live that life that we so wanted to live differently before.
And that is good! Oh, that is so very good!
(Photo credit: Bakim Desai on Unsplash)