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“In every tree there is a soul, in every man maybe.” T. Okawa

“At any meaningful turning point in life, we must face our deepest fears in order to grow. And typically a turning point can feel like the worst thing that could happen to us… We have to stop despite the fears of the stock market crashing and in spite of the common belief that everything must keep expanding, so that we must avoid all possibilities of a major descent.

And yet, we may have already reached that point where individual travel is being restricted for the benefit of all. Where instead of rushing about, flying about, we are being asked, not just to stop and hold in place, but in a way to turn inward. For we don’t know how long all the journeys of life must come to a stop. Not just that people have to cancel vacations. But pilgrimages to holy places become dangerous…

The real aim of any pilgrimage is to arrive at the place of the deep self and soul. And all those holy places outside us are at some level symbolic of the holy place inside ourselves that we are intended to find on this strange journey of life.” — Michael Meade

The world is facing a tidal wave of unknown proportions, a pandemic that could kill us or someone we love. We can’t travel or even go to work. We are told not to leave our domiciles except when we must. Whether we want to or not, we must circumscribe our life and spend a lot of time alone.

Some people travel to stay one step ahead of their anxieties and boredom. Stopping anywhere feels like a trap because staying in one place begins to show you who you are. Only constant movement banishes that fearful looking glass. We live a preoccupied extroverted life on purpose. We don’t want to see ourselves.

Now we face an enforced withdrawal from the world, because of the threat of a dangerous, weaponized virus. Michael Meade is pointing out the advantages of such isolation. We have an opportunity to listen to inner voices that range from fear of death to creative impulses. Maybe we will reflect on our lives, maybe we will write or question who we have become over the years. Maybe we will discover an inner sacred place. Perhaps we will find something soulful in us.

Those places that we frequented when we could go out are symbolic of something in us. Those who search for places with sacred energies now have an unexpected chance to discover those energies inside themselves. They are offered the chance to feed and water their soul quite unexpectedly. The world grows quieter, factories stop pouring toxins into the air. Nature heaves a sigh of relief.

Nobody knows how long this respite will last, but suddenly the world is no longer hurtling along a path of consumption and distraction. We are sitting in our corner on a global time-out. Not a moment too soon.

Maybe we could use this time to find a bit more depth and meaning in our sojourn on planet Earth. We might actually profit from this time. We’re not accustomed to a slow paced life, a life that aids and abets meditation and reflection. We might see this moment as an unanticipated gift to the soul.

There is no doubt that this is a time of suffering for many people, and yet for some of us it’s an opportunity. It’s not just a time to get through with all the distractions we can muster, so we can get back to our normal way of coping.

We have decided to stay here in San Miguel rather than run for cover, although the wave of infection is predicted to hit here soon. Where is safe, after all? It’s impossible to quantify. North Americans here who are running for cover are predicting violence in the streets when everyone is out of work, but that’s not a certainty. In fact there is little certainty anywhere right now. I doubt if Mexico could handle this situation worse than the American administration if they tried.

We’ll take our chances here, living our days very quietly, taking no chances but hoping for the best. We live in interesting times.

Written by

I occasionally write fiction and also about creativity, loving, language learning and travel. I’m a longtime painter and reader.

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