From the desk of Teresa Jordan – Last night I purposely breathed in starlight. I noticed when I let the dog out that the stars were particularly bright and crisp. It was very cold, so I bundled up and joined the dog for a late night ramble.
Here’s the thing about stars that I am sure many of us have experienced. At first you see hundreds. They are bright and look big and form some easy-to-spot constellations – you get captivated by the slightly glittering sparkle. But once you really settle into stargazing and simply look up all the rest slowly comes into focus. Behind the shiny hundreds, the millions of the milky way start to come into focus.
And so there, being left behind by my dog, presumably looking to relieve himself in privacy, I breathed in the starlight. I leaned back against the fence and just quietly looked up. Trying to be mindful that in this moment there was an eternal certainty and an expansive universe quietly outside of the somewhat anxious day-to-day life.
I looked until the millions of stars started to come into view and knew that some of that starshine was landing on me. I breathed it in. Wise people would say that the entire course of a life is in the present moment because it is all we truly have to live in. And just for a moment, I simply breathed in the stars.
What I am learning most in this pandemic is that there are very few experts in response, strategizing, surviving and thriving in all that this pandemic is throwing at us. No one is doing a perfect job at home schooling kids, sanitizing groceries and coming up with constant witty conversation with suddenly completely available significant others. We have seen many televised experts learn and grow and change their recommendations. We read also that the anxiety of pandemic is making us all less able to be productive and engaged. And we have all seen the videos where workers from home forget to turn off their cameras before they reveal that they are not in fact wearing pants.
So here is the thing, I think – we just need to let go of an idea of how to perfectly navigate the sea of challenges posed in pandemic times. All we can do is navigate what is right, by what we know at the time of our decision. Let go of the idea of perfection or the idea that we need to be fearless. What will happen however, is moments of heroism, moments of superpowers and moments of knowing exactly what is right for right now.
It is all a little like that night sky – pandemic looks like a hundred overwhelming challenges from health to finance to anxiety to safety. Then if take a moment, the millions of people and positives can come into view. The people who are taking care of their neighbours, the people who are creating opportunities online, the people coming to work and brightening the days of those we support, the people sending positive thoughts, trying new recipes, learning new things, sewing masks or maybe not doing any of that, but still making it through.
So I breathed the starlight in, I forced myself to lay aside the worries and my shortcomings – the unknowns and the pressures – and I just took in the stars. And I went in the house, still not a pandemic expert, not a complete superhero in all things domestic, nor even an expert on how to use my own oven, but someone ready to face another day with a little sparkle. The dog – while also having spent time in the starlight – appeared unchanged, but that is OK too – we are all in this together.
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