Silver Linings

Reflections during uncertain times by Leila Atbi

“The obstacle is the way” by Ryan Holiday, this is the title of one of my latest reads. It was in my reading list for few months and I only had the opportunity to start reading it about a week ago.

Great timing.

It is about the ancient art of turning adversity into an advantage; and the current collective situation we are experiencing is a God given example of just that, if we choose to look at it as such.

You certainly have your own perception of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is one event, but each one of us is living through it differently. Worldwide, thousands have unfortunately lost their lives, and thousands of others are battling for theirs. Small and medium businesses are experiencing unprecedented challenges with many having to consider closing down. Besides the sadness and worry, the rest of us are quarantined or on social isolation. There are those who experience it as a source of annoyance, boredom, deprivation, constraint, limitation or even a curse.

However, it is not all on the negative side of the spectrum. I know of many people, myself included, who feel that this pandemic has come with its own silver linings: an opportunity to slow down, reset, reflect, meditate, declutter our inner and outer spaces, to learn and grow, reconnect with our own selves and with our loved ones. A gifted time to listen and feel, express our kindness, generosity and humanity in supporting others around us as much as we can. Ultimately, it is an opportunity to discern what really matters, from all that doesn’t and most probably never truly did.

Look around, feel your surroundings, hear the recovered serenity.  I did today, on my morning walk. Our planet is taking a break. Less cars and airplanes. Less pollution, less noise, less frenzy of the modern lifestyle, less consumerism, less greed, less ego as we are all in it together.

Suddenly the clouds dissipated in Shanghai, water canals became cleaner and clearer in Venice, swans and ducks are back on the once deserted lakes, dolphins are visiting canals and seashores, wild geese are fearlessly landing on tarmacs and neighbors are reveling in each other’s musical talents in Italy, Spain and elsewhere. People can now see the blue color of the sky like never before, children are reunited with their parents under one roof, sharing homemade meals, playing and enjoying quality moments together, teens are rediscovering musical instruments, baking and painting.

Like you, I want to understand and somehow make sense of what is happening to us. Here’s how I perceive it:

We have messed up our environment, and our beloved Earth took over. It orchestrated it all with one of its tiniest inhabitants, for us to change our ways forever. This will mark our history in golden letters for future generations to remember. The irony is that it’s not even a living organism, but an (RNA) code with the metaphorical mission to disintegrate our greed and insanity and recode at the core, our human values of compassion and gratitude.

Life won’t be the same anymore. We will never again take for granted a handshake, a party with friends, a coffee served on a terrace or a conference with hundreds of delegates under one roof. Above all, we will live responsibly, honor and respect that Earth is our home, and home to all forms of life, equally.

In the meantime, stay home, be safe and take care of yourself and your loved ones. This too shall pass.

Artwork credit to YevgeniaWatts