When the global pandemic became our shared reality, I experienced a deep sense of loss. I could feel the fear and grief that enveloped this planet. And while I didn’t know anyone who was sick from COVID-19, the stories about those who were losing loved ones to the virus brought me to tears over and over again.
Since I wasn’t directly impacted by the loss of a loved one or the terror of being infected, feeling my own grief felt selfish. And yet, I was experiencing grief about losing the social life that feeds my soul.
After weeks of sheltering in place, I have a clearer concept of how much I value the people in my life. Although we meet online, it is not the same as meeting in person. I miss meeting with my clients in my downtown office. I miss hanging out with my friends. And I miss hugging.
More than anything I miss hugging.
And the fear has been crushing. Will I lose someone I love to this virus? Will the world economy collapse?
But I am slowly, if sometimes reluctantly, adapting to my new circumstances.
I have learned to sanitize more things than I care to mention. It’s not just about washing my hands after all. I also have to remember to clean my groceries before I put them in the refrigerator. Thinking about the ways viruses can be transmitted is exhausting.
Now I see that our collective efforts are in fact helping to “flatten the curve.” That is particularly evident in California’s Bay Area where the enforcement of “social distancing” was swift. Unlike other cities that were slow to respond, San Francisco and the surrounding Bay Area cities are considered a national model for limiting the spread of COVID-19.
And for that I am grateful.
I am grateful that the state I live in has taken effective steps to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus. And I am grateful for so much more.
In fact, once I find even one thing to be grateful for, I am soon thinking about a lot of other things I am grateful for.
Spring for instance. New leaves are appearing on the trees and so many beautiful flowers are blooming around my house. The birds are busy building nests and lizards are sunning themselves on rocks. Nature’s exuberant display of new life is infectious. It fills my heart with optimism for the future.
But I can be grateful regardless of what the future holds.
Because in this present moment, I have so many blessings. So much to be grateful for.
Today I am healthy. Today all my physical needs are met. And most of all I have love in my life and in my heart.
Gratitude has a way of enlarging our blessings. For that reason I make a gratitude list every night before I go to sleep. Doing so, not only helps me sleep more soundly, it also puts a spring in my step when I wake up the next morning.
I don’t know what challenges you currently face. Although I have no doubt that the pandemic has touched your life in some way, only you know what emotions that has created for you. Only you know how much you are suffering.
But I do know this one thing. No matter what you are dealing with today, gratitude can lighten your load. Once you have cried as much as you need to cry, might you find it in yourself to make your own gratitude list?
If so, you might find some inspiration from these 37 tips on keeping a gratitude journal. My tip is number seven on the list.