My Boat on this Ocean
Updated: Oct 12, 2020
Let’s come together and lift each other up, cheer each other on as we are sailing on our boats in the ocean of life together.
We are in week 7 of the pandemic, or what I call The Great Pause. I have heard people saying that we are not in the same boat, but in the same storm. I've been thinking that we are actually in our own boats on the same ocean. An ocean can be very different from one place to the next and depending on the boat you are in, each a different experience of the water. I do believe that each of our experiences is exactly as they should be, and we should allow any feelings that we each have in our new ocean. We have had time now to move past the initial phase of panic—stocking up on groceries and toilet paper—and move to new phases. The experience has become unique for each of us—although we are in this together. What is clear to me is that no matter how much empathy and compassion I feel for those around me, I cannot understand or judge their experience. This virus has put the whole world in a situation where we are all experiencing a similar situation, and yet each country, culture, state, neighborhood, family, and person is having their own journey. I believe that this Great Pause will make long term changes for most of us and we will all look back having experienced this together, and have a connection that is unexplainable.
My gratitude is that my foundation of Unity, new thought, and the guidance of the 12 steps of recovery have given me a strong and safe boat to ride on this pandemic ocean. As the weeks have gone by, I have gone through all sorts of emotional weather—various storms and calm waters. What I keep coming back to, as I have written about before, is powerlessness. I so want to fix things, to make it all better for those around me—but I can’t. The news is overwhelming, with mixed messages and angry sides and it makes me feel uncomfortable. I want to make sense of it all and I don’t like all the conflict and anger. I can see there is such potential for this to bring people together. But there it is—my desire to have it be a way that feels good to me. It comes back to being in our own boat—I only have the wheel of my own boat now and always.
What if I didn’t know about everything that streams through our TVs and devices? What if I could only see what is in my house, or outside my door? My question then is what is going on for me, and how am I in this moment? If I take a moment to breath and feel my body and slow my mind, I find that I am peaceful and grateful. There has been a feeling of what I would call survivor’s guilt recently. I know my experience is very different from many others, and I am thankful that the Great Pause has been good for me. I have been working from home and working more hours than I was when I was going to work, but I am on a slower, more grounded pace. I have created a routine that is more aligned with rest and creativity. I have found a routine with my husband that has given us a chance to connect in new and wonderful ways. When I take the time to check in with myself and appreciate my life I can see a beauty in living that I had not felt before because I was on overdrive. But, then my mind starts to think about all the other people who are not still working, the ones who are sick, the ones who are scared and angry. My heart starts to beat fast and my anxiety starts to kick in as my mind spins to try to figure out how I can fix the pain out there.
And then I remember that even before the pandemic years ago, I was in my own terrible storm of unhappiness and unmanageability. I remember the answer to inner peace is in my heart and mind. No matter where I go—there I am. It is my own mind and attitude that make it a storm or calm water—I have had an opportunity to learn to choose differently. I could not fix the outer world then, and I cannot fix it today. I am calmer in this pandemic because I am making choices that are keeping me from fear. I am making choices about what I do and the protection for myself that I can take when I am out in the world. I am learning to be okay with not knowing or having to know the answers. This is my own unique experience and I cannot judge another’s experience. Even in writing this I want to make sure that I do not feel that I know any better for someone else. I can only share my own journey and reflect on how much gratitude I feel for where I am today.
When I talk about recovery and the concept of “Recover Your Soul”—that is a unique path for each of us. We each have a personal journey to find happiness, self love and acceptance if we want to take it. The steps of spiritual recovery are simple but not easy. We all have something that we use to check out from our feelings. We all have patterns that hurt ourselves and those around us. We all have the opportunity to take responsibility for what is ours to do and let go of trying to change the world around us—to fix it or make it more comfortable for us. We all have the opportunity to surrender our egos and self-will and turn it over to our own Higher Power, to the truth and love in all of us. I do not know any better than anyone else, and I have such gratitude for the guidance I have received from so many writers, podcasters, ministers, friends and people sharing at meetings. It is through those many light-bulb moments I have found the ability to weather this storm and feel safe. I know this too shall pass.