The world is shaking. My world is shaking. A week ago, I was so sick in covid-19 that I was seriously afraid I would die. Life is kicking my *** pretty hard: even before the pandemic started, I was facing some pretty tough situations in my life where deep fears and old traumas were popping up inside me like those frogs at a funfair (you know, you hit one on the head and another one pops up).
For weeks now I read and hear heartbreaking stories from all over the world where thousands of people are dying a horrible death, without even a loved one by their side. Doctors and nurses bearing an unimaginable burden. Companies going bankrupt. People losing their jobs. More than half of the world’s population living in quarantine. It doesn’t surprise me that the UN has recently classified our global current situation as the biggest crisis since World War II.
So I (and as I’m sure many of you as well) have been looking for relief. I have found news articles of possible vaccines. Funny memes. Uplifting stories of people and companies showing up and helping out in different ways. Netflix. Books. Music. Sunshine. Messages from friends and Zoom gatherings. But still, regardless of the external things I have found that provide a bit of (temporary) relief, I still walk around feeling overwhelmed and incredibly tired.
What I mostly have done for the past month now is rotate between sleeping, hanging in my sofa, eating, reading a book, watching Netflix, putting together a large jigsaw puzzle and sitting behind my computer doing various (job) tasks. Trying to get healthy from covid-19 and regain energy and strength in my body. Crying. Meditating.
The other day I watched a Masterclass given by Martha Beck. She spoke about something a bit unexpected: the process that a caterpillar needs to go through in order to become a butterfly. You know what happens? Before becoming a butterfly, the caterpillar first turns into moosh or whatever you want to call it (gop, guck, gooh). The point is that the caterpillar apparently completely dissolves into something liquid before turning into a butterfly. Besides this being pretty cool, there is a brilliant comparison to be made with us humans in time of crisis. Here goes:
A thing that I, and anyone else feeling like me, can do in this crisis situation right now is to become moosh, just like the caterpillar. To completely surrender to this global crisis, and dissolve. To cocoon and be with what is right now. To allow all feelings that exist within us and welcome them all. To not push any of them away and to sit with all of them, observing each and every one of them. That’s it. Nothing more. According to Martha Beck many of us now find ourselves in Phase One of the Four Phases of Human Metamorphosis. She says:
Here’s the deal: this is the time when we lose our identity and are left temporarily formless: person soup. Most people fight like crazy to keep their identities from dissolving. “This is just a blip”, we tell ourselves when circumstances rock our world. “I’m the same person, and my life will go back to being the way it was.”
I don’t know about you, but I’m definitely person soup right now.
And so I wonder: what can I do when I feel like this? Martha Beck advises:
1. Live one day (or 10 minutes) at a time
2. Cocoon by caring for yourself in physical, immediate ways
3. Talk to others
4. Let yourself grieve (cycling through denial, anger, sadness and acceptance many times)
If you think this sounds frustratingly passive, you’re right. Dissolving isn’t something you do; it’s something that happens to you. The closest you’ll come to controlling it is relaxing and trusting the process.
The mantra that applies to Phase One? It goes like this, and can be repeated over and over:
“I don’t know what the hell is going on…and that is okay.”
Truly letting go. Being 100% OK with not knowing what is going on in my life, what is going to happen, and when/how this is going to end. This might sound easy but believe me, it’s not. To truly surrender to life is something that goes very deep, at least for me. It goes right to the core of my being. And with the help of the teachings from wise people on this earth and massive amounts of stillness, I am these days sometimes able to experience what it’s like in this deep place inside me. You know what I experience when I’m there?
And deep relaxation.
Just for a little moment. Sometimes a bit longer. So right now, in my cocoon here in the suburbs of Stockholm, I find myself moving between different states of being and I feel that this is exactly right. I also realize that exactly this is what living means. It’s not different from what I have been doing my whole life! The only difference is the amount of awareness I bring to it nowadays, and the focus I choose to put on it. As I’m writing this, I feel a huge amount of gratefulness. Of being alive and having the opportunity to experience all of this. And to witness it all. I know I won’t be stuck in Phase One forever. In its own time and completely naturally and without effort, I will move into the next phase at some point. Just as I’ve done before, and just as I will again.
There is very little that makes sense to me right now. But one thing that makes total sense is to turn inwards. Cocoon and become still. And be with what is right now, fully accepting whatever that is. Letting go of fixing anything and trusting life. It’s scary because my ego wants to hold on to a lot of things and Lennart (the voice of my mind) is regularly screaming bloody murder. But there is something deeper pulling at me, telling me that it’s time to wake up. So, I choose to put my focus on that for now. It doesn’t even really feel like a choice to be honest: I strongly feel it’s the only sane and sensible thing for me to do right now.
These are extraordinary times and it feels like we are witnessing just the beginning. I don’t think the world will go back to the way it was before because this crisis is just too big. I believe what we are experiencing marks a shift for us human beings. Exactly what this shift will look like, I have no idea. I can only hope it will create more awareness in people. More authenticity. More vulnerability. More openness. More truth.
…and more Love.
Thank you for reading ♥
Do you want to read more about the Four Stages of Human Metamorphosis? You can read this article on Martha Beck’s website: Growing Wings: The Power Of Change
You can also read her wonderful book: Finding Your Way in a Wild New World
PS – an update: I notice a lot of people reading this text as well as my other posts about having covid-19 (thank you!). If it resonates with you, I’m very grateful if you want to share it in your circles too, so it can reach more people who are struggling right now. Thank you!
Photo: Justin DoCanto – unsplash.com