Picture it. New Year’s Eve 2019/2020, Madison Square Garden, N.Y., N.Y. Phish is on stage, the last show of four and they are each on their own platform rising up and down when something becomes obviously wrong as Treys platform stops moving. They continue to play and eventually everyone else safely makes it back on to the stage as Trey remains 25 feet above. They all exit, lights come on and no one in the crowd leaves. We all wait. The “rescue squad” makes their way up to Trey and he is safely lowered to the stage. That should have been the first clue of what 2020 would bring.
This morning at 3:30 a.m. we woke up to our 17yr old beagle pooping in her sleep. Not a great smell to wake you up. We clean it up, get her outside to make sure she’s got nothing left and head back to bed. I have 2 hours before I’ll be getting up for my 6:30am class and I laid there thinking of the class I had planned. After a few minutes I hear the fire station sirens in the distance, and I knew this time of night/morning it was something bad. When I finally got up at 5:30 I went downstairs with my other dog and when I opened the back door I was overwhelmed by thick smoke and thought that must have been a serious fire. It was. Not far from us someone lost their entire house. During a pandemic, someone lost not only everything they own but their sanctuary from the outside world.
This year has packed in a lifetime of emotions. I have experienced the loss of a loved one and the joy of falling in love with my husband all over again. I have felt anger, hope, frustration and joy. I’ve had moments of fear and hopelessness. I have felt such deep connection to people I’ve never met, and I have felt completely alone. In all of these moments I have realized they are just that, moments. Our experiences are a series of pages that make up the story of our lives. We don’t stay on one page for long. There are those times we read a page, but our minds wander, and we realize we didn’t really pay attention to what we just read, so we read it again. It’s easy sometimes to get stuck in that loop.
There are so many people that are struggling right now. Some have lost everything, and some have lost very little. I’ve noticed that often the fear of what one may lose brings about a much louder voice than those who have truly lost everything. Fear is powerful. It can control every aspect of your life and makes you easy to control. Fear keeps the joys of life far from us. Gratitude, gratitude gives us that sense of calm, of peace. When we are grateful we begin to notice more things to be grateful for. We have more compassion, more joy, more love. Gratitude opens us up to us and not them. The fact is we need very little to survive and most of us would be better off if we got rid of these things that tie us down. Those comforts beyond necessity create less comfort and more need to keep and protect them.
This pandemic has brought to light things in us we may not want to acknowledge. Our sense of purpose, what we value, the way we have spent our lives may have very clearly shown themselves. To some it is too uncomfortable to acknowledge and to others it’s been a gift. I have learned a lot about myself during this past year. I have discovered parts of me I appreciate so much more now and have let go of ideas of what I should be doing in my life. I appreciate everything I have and am so grateful for the people that continue to add to my story. I used to get stuck rereading the same page, stuck in an emotion. When you notice that the story just keeps repeating itself, step back and realize it’s just a small piece of something much bigger. Take a deep breath and turn the page.