2020 has been a year of many things. I won’t pretend to know what it has been like for you. I have heard from many that they wish to have a different 2021. But what does this mean exactly? Less suffering with no COVID, police brutality, political division, physical, emotional, social, and economic stress? More joy in gathering with others to commemorate the beginning and ending of life (and everything in between), travel, return to school and work, seeing the smiles of others?
I also wish for a different 2021. And I’m paying attention to where I plant seeds of loving intentions- where I’m forcing something to grow/change, where I’m slowly letting go, patiently waiting for something to take root.
On December 24, I received my first COVID vaccine with a mixture of dread and hope. Dread that I’d be one of the few cases who developed a serious adverse reaction. Hope that this would be a positive step in the fight against COVID. I’m relieved that the only nuisance was a sore arm for a few days, and I’m still diligently tracking symptoms through Vsafe.
I realize that there is still so much uncertainty. Will I build immunity to COVID? How long will the antibodies last? Am I safe to be around patients? Are they safe with me? What does this vaccine mean for us all heading into 2021?
Recognizing the fear and doubt in these questions, I’m aware that these thoughts, emotions and the physical manifestations of uncertainty within are not alone. There is also awe at the timeline and sound scientific data supporting the vaccine’s efficacy, gratitude for meaningful work, incredible colleagues, loving family, health, abundant food, shelter, and so much more.
Most of all, there is a deep bow of reverence to the practices of mindfulness, lovingkindness, compassion, joy, and equanimity with meditation and writing carrying me through some of the darkest times of post-partum depression and anxiety, losing my aunt-mom to cancer, chronic sacro-iliac, gluteal muscle pain, and COVID-19. Though Western medicine and other modalities have been supportive, it is these practices that saved me from sacrificing this heart-mind-body to fear and doubt.
To this end, I’d like to support others in planting loving intentions for 2021. Will you join me here? However you choose to heal and support yourself in 2021, may you remember that love and wisdom are so much larger than fear and doubt. What you plant now affects everyone and everything around you for days, weeks, months, and years to come.
Nisargadatta Maharaj said, “Wisdom tells me I am nothing. Love tells me I am everything. And between the two my life flows.”
May the idea of a separate self dissolve with the wisdom of shared journeys. May love connect you to all.