Yesterday marked one year since Huntington Beach was shut down because of COVID. My daughter and I went downtown to eat some corned beef and cabbage in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day and as soon as we finished our meal, the police came by and told the owners to close shop. Huntington Beach has a spring break-type vibe on any normal Tuesday, so to see it shut down at 7:00 pm on such a huge drinker’s holiday was surreal. Little did we know how this momentous occasion would change everything.
One of the most interesting things this year was the argument about how best to handle the outbreak of the virus – mask or no mask, shutdown or no shutdown – and the seriousness of it. There were/are conspiracies all over social media, making us question what is real. Fear became the normal operating system. Fear of getting sick and dying. Fear of losing one's job. Fear of what it would mean if one person was president over another. Fear of the unknown. The list goes on and on. And all of this spilled over into a deep mistrust of ‘the other,’ even our neighbors.
I write about Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey often and there’s a reason for that – it's a universal map of transformation. Universal. And for the first time in my lifetime, I was experiencing something that was truly universal and affected us all, worldwide. The Hero’s Journey starts with “answering the call to adventure.” This is the beginning of a cycle where we are ready for change but perhaps, we don’t know it, or, if we do, are reluctant to take that leap. Let's face it, we humans like to be comfortable. We would rather put up with the devil we know than the devil we don’t know. So, we compromise ourselves and our values and remain stuck in order to remain in that place of comfort. But what can happen is that the universe will finally say, “you’ve been comfortable for too long and now it’s time for you to go through a cycle of transformation so you can learn and grow and make the changes you know in your soul you need to make. Hold on tight!” And then we get a tap on our back that pushes us off that cliff into the Unknown.
This is where we were/are as a collective human race. We watch as injustice riddles our neighborhoods, cities, states, countries, but we feel helpless to stop any of it. The System feels too big, too entrenched. There are so many that benefit from The System, which is why it becomes stronger and stronger. Remember the movie The Neverending Story? The villain in that story was The Nothing, the formless, faceless cloud that was consuming everything and anything in its path. It fed off of the fear and despair of the people of Fantasia and grew stronger every day. It’s a perfect analogy. Our fear feeds the very System that keeps us stuck and unhappy in the first place.
When our ways of being get so entrenched that not only are we unwilling to make a change, we begin to create more and more disfunction to exacerbate the tyranny that we’ve already created, change must happen – for better or worse.
After we answer the call to adventure, whether we are pushed by the Universe or we consciously choose to answer the call, we move from the Known World into the Unknown World. What usually happens is that we move into a place of intense fear. Our ego doesn’t feel safe. It creates all sorts of nightmarish images of what might occur if we can’t get back into the Known World. It's all conjecture, of course, because in the Unknown World, anything is possible.
We are now in a place where we get to choose what we want to create. Do we really want to create a world that resembles the Known World that we just came from or do we want to create something magnificent based on everything we've learned through this trial in the Unknown World? We have a choice.
We’ve been forced to face our deepest darkest fears that pluck at the very foundation of what makes us human, our fears of safety and survival. Perhaps, for the first time, we felt completely and utterly out of control. We’ve managed these feelings, and although we may have been alone in our homes, we weren’t alone in how we felt. Everyone around the world was feeling some element of this same thing. How extraordinary! This is the first time that we have been able to identify with our neighbor as well as someone on the other side of the world. We are all one, and for the first time, this concept was brought mainstream.
It's time for us to decide how we will move forward. Will we create a world of continued separation and ‘otherness’ or will we create a world based on inclusiveness and camaraderie? Love or hate? Greed or generosity? Separateness or oneness?
It's time to put aside our arguments, no matter how necessary they have felt at one time or another. It’s time for us to come together with one goal in mind – creating a world based on love, compassion, understanding, nonjudgment, inclusivity, equality, generosity, oneness, with only the highest goals in mind. It’s time for us to dream our biggest, boldest dream of what it would be like to create Heaven on Earth. Set aside our mind’s propensity for “logic” and allow our inner children to take the mic because they know that anything is possible. Heaven on Earth IS possible and each and every one of us can contribute to this vision by doing nothing more than embodying the characteristics necessary for such a transformation. We are energetic beings and because energy can’t be created or destroyed, our energetic signature affects the energy of the world. Imagine if we put our energy towards love instead of fear?
We are brought back to our origins in Sunday School – Love thy Neighbor as Yourself. And I would take that a step further because I think the real pandemic is the lack of love for ourselves. When we truly care and love ourselves, it naturally spills over to our neighbors. This “simple” tenant that has been with us since the beginning of time, is the start of something beautiful. Rise above the petty arguments that, when you look through the eyes of your soul and your inner child, don’t matter. They just don’t. Rise above and see that there is only one way forward and that is through LOVE.
Peace, love, and light to you.