It’s been a year. A whole year of my life. Happy covidversary to me.
Exactly one year ago I was so acutely ill that I thought I was going to die. And here I am, 52 weeks later, feeling fragile and super strong at the same time. I have moved from counting minutes, to counting hours, then days, weeks and months of covid-19 and its seemingly never-ending effects on my life.
A fellow long-hauler wrote: this is the mediation retreat I never signed up for. I can relate to that! From day one I realized that awareness is a major key in dealing with everything that Long Covid threw at me and after a while I paired it with acceptance. This is the way I’ve lived for a whole year. With awareness about all the inexplicable symptoms and how they affected my body, mind and soul. And with acceptance (well, most of the time anyway) for the fact that I could not change any of it.
I gave my body what I believed it needed; some vitamins and minerals, lots of water and tea but above all: REST. No sugar, no alcohol, no pushing anything. I tried to actively work with my mind to not drown in panic, depression, fear or anger. I felt all of it but allowed these feelings to move through me as best as I could. Many times I used Netflix as a resource to stop thinking and feeling for a while, which worked brilliantly. Also, letting go became a daily practice for me. Letting go of everything I longed to do and instead focus on resting. Counting spoons ‘til eternity, it felt like. And in the midst of all of this, I could sometimes connect with a deep space inside me. The space where it’s always calm, where there is no illness, where everything is so effortlessly in balance with nature. My Being. Essence. Soul.
What is the thing with a year, I wonder? Why does it feel special? I’ve spent the last couple of days going back and forth between not wanting it to feel special and realizing that a part of me does feel it’s special anyway. Time is such a weird phenomenon. It feels like I should write something incredibly profound on my covidversary but the thing is, though, that I can’t think of anything. Because what has been, has been, and I can’t change any of it. It’s as simple as that. I moved through this past year with an utterly destroyed body and every emotion a human being possibly can have and I have my Corona Chronicles to remember it all. But today is today, and now is Now. Life isn’t happening in the past, nor in the future. It sounds like such a cliché but is an incredibly deep truth. One that I can feel on a whole new level these days, deep inside my body.
Eckhart Tolle has been an amazing resource for me, especially this past year. His Instagram recently featured a piece he said about life and living. He said:
Life is now. Life has nothing to do with what’s going on in your life.
It has nothing to do with past and future or what your relationships are or what your financial situation is, or your living situation is, or even your health situation is. That is all your life situation, that is not life. Your life situation exists in time, past and future. Life is now.
And when you become comfortable with what is here and now, you’re stepping out of your life situation, into life.
Long Covid is still part of my life situation; today it manifests itself mostly in continued lung issues. But more and more, these are not hindering me too much from living relatively ‘normal’ again. What’s part of my life, right now, is an effortless calm and flow that I can connect with inside my body. I don’t feel like this 24/7, though, and I never will. That’s reserved for enlightened people like Eckhart Tolle, I believe.
To be able to sometimes connect with this flow and feel not only calm but also an incredible aliveness inside me, that is the gift of Long Covid for me. That is what has made this whole immensely challenging year worth it somehow; to feel a connection with my body in a way I’ve never felt before. And I have found so much wisdom there, so much guidance. The human body is such a miracle – look at how ill it can be and how, with time, it can find its way to healing.
Immediately I want to write that this is the case for me, and what I sincerely hope for every long-hauler out there. I am however acutely aware that so many people are living today whose bodies will not find their way to healing during their lifetime. So many diseases out there and so many people battling something that does not have a cure yet. I am very aware of my privilege that Long Covid became my battle because even though this has no cure yet either, I’m convinced that healing from it is possible if given enough time. I would not trade this for the world with anyone facing a terminal illness.
So, here I am at this moment. Fragile and super strong, as I wrote above. My body physically feels fragile, still. I can experience moments when the enormity of my journey this past year grabs hold of me. When it does, I feel vulnerable, bruised and exhausted for a while. But then it shifts, and I feel a strength like never before. Not so much physically (yet), but as a person. I feel grounded and experience clarity in a new way. So much crap has vanished from my life. I long to work with people again, pick up my holistic counseling-practice and continue my Somatic Experiencing® trauma therapist training. I will continue to write, as it feeds my soul. And I will dance more. Laugh more. Drink even more tea (if that’s possible). Read books. Walk outside in the sun. Explore my country and travel abroad when the world opens up again. Enjoy my family. Connect with friends. Meditate. Practice yin yoga. Watch The West Wing for the gazillionth time (it’s THAT good, people!). Teach Dutch at the Uni here in Sweden. Go to the movies again (I love going to the cinema). Enjoy good food. The list goes on and on. The common denominator? JOY!
Thank you for following me on my journey. As always, I hope my writing means something positive to you. I wish you joy and effortless calm in your life, wherever you are and whatever your life situation is.
With love ♥
Photo: Sharon McCutcheon – unsplash.com