*Editor’s note: We all have different realities. It is important to acknowledge not everyone can see this time as a gift. However, Elephant Journal articles represent the personal views of the authors, and can not possibly reflect Elephant Journal as a whole. Disagree with an Op-Ed or opinion? We’re happy to share your experience here.
Coronavirus is an opportunity for us to practice choosing an empowering perspective.
In response to any circumstance, we always have the option to choose that it’s happening for us or it’s happening to us. The default societal response to a global epidemic is that it is happening to us, that we are the victim of it. However, just because this is the most common response, it doesn’t mean that it’s the right one. There is no right perspective. It is equally valid to say that it is happening to us as it is to say that it is happening for us.
So, the question becomes: which perspective is more empowering?
When I believe that this is happening to us/me, I feel powerless. I feel contracted. I feel small.
When I believe that this is happening for me/us, I begin to feel expansive. I get curious about how this could be happening for the collective benefit. How it could be an opportunity for growth. I remember my freedom to choose how I react to this and I feel empowered.
So, thank you, Coronavirus, for giving us all a massive opportunity to create an empowering context and choose the perspective that everything is happening for us.
Here are six reasons Coronavirus is happening for us collectively, not to us.
1. It is reminding us to expand and not contract.
It’s no coincidence to me that we call it “contracting” a disease/virus. In response to any challenge, we always have two choices: to contract or to expand. And what has everyone been doing in response to Coronavirus? Contracting in fear of contracting the virus. And in this contraction, our stress response is activated and our immune systems are lowered and…we become more likely to contract the virus.
But we do not have to contract in either sense of the word. We can expand into acceptance, love, understanding, and trust. By choosing to see that this is happening for us collectively, we get to expand. Coronavirus is giving all of us an opportunity to strengthen our muscles of surrender, acceptance, trust, and love. It is giving us an opportunity to expand our self-love, expand our care for each other, and expand our gratitude for our and each other’s lives.
So thank you, Coronavirus, for reminding us all to expand and not contract.
2. Coronavirus is reminding us how interconnected we all are, and showing us how any one of us can change the world.
Albeit in an undesirable fashion, Coronavirus has demonstrated for all of us how any one of us is connected to all the rest of us. This virus started with one person. And because of how interdependent and interconnected we all are, it has spread to the rest of the world. This shows each of us the far-reaching potential of our impact.
If a virus can start with one human and travel to the rest of the world, so can consciousness. One awakened being. One person who lives as love, regardless of circumstances, can change the lives of every other person on the planet. If they spread their enlightenment to just three other people, and those three people spread it to three people, and so on, then the world can be transformed in just a matter of weeks.
So thank you, Coronavirus, for showing us how powerful we each are.
3. It is asking us to live more consciously and sustainably.
Coronavirus, SARS, MERS, bird flu, mad cow disease, and swine flu all are contagious diseases that jump from animals to humans.
Bird flu came from a chicken factory farm. Swine flu came from a pig factory farm. Mad cow disease came from a cow factory farm. Coronavirus came from a wet market in China (where they slaughter dozens of species of animals in close proximity).
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns: “…3 out of every 4 new or emerging infectious diseases in people come from animals.”
As Gene Baur states in his article, Coronavirus and the karmic interconnectedness of humans and animals, “While animal-borne illnesses continue to threaten human health, agribusiness has a vested interest in preventing consumers from thinking about it — under the oversight of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).”
The blatant connection between animal agriculture and the illnesses that have racked the human population, again and again, is being obscured. Because it is such an inconvenient truth, it is not being talked about.
It seems to me that Coronavirus is one of the ways that a greater intelligence (the biosphere, collective consciousness, Mother Earth—whatever you want to call it!) is cautioning the human population against our inhumane treatment of animals.
When a parent disciplines a child and the child doesn’t listen, the parent often has to enforce stronger discipline.
Likewise, when the human population continues to insist upon eating animals even as it grows exponentially, we will face consequences.
We didn’t listen after the bird flu. We didn’t listen after swine flu or mad cow disease or SARS or MERS.
Coronavirus is another attempt to get across the message: it is not safe or sustainable or humane or at all okay for 7.7 billion humans to eat animals.
Gene Baur goes on in to say in his article:
“In the U.S., almost ten billion animals are exploited and slaughtered every year. Most live short miserable lives in overcrowded factory farms, which are a breeding ground for disease, including emerging pathogens and virulent strains of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
In addition to foodborne illness and environmental pollution, animal agriculture can also incite global pandemics like H1N1, which was initially called ‘swine flu’ because it was linked to a similar disease in pigs, but its connection to animal agriculture has since been largely obscured.
Our disrespectful treatment of other animals and the earth has consequences, and when they are harmed, ultimately, so are we. All life on Earth is connected, and it’s in our interest to act accordingly.”
Coronavirus is silently encouraging us to “invest in plant-based agriculture and grow crops to feed people instead of farm animals, which would feed more people with less land and fewer resources, allowing rainforests and other vital ecosystems to be preserved, along with biodiversity and the earth’s natural capacity for regulating greenhouse gasses and other environmental threats.”
So thank you, Coronavirus, for showing us the error of our ways and encouraging us to live more compassionately and sustainably.
4. It is re-prioritizing home, family, and health.
Parents who would normally work all day are being asked to stay home with their kids. Friends are quarantining themselves together. People all over are having to figure out how to entertain themselves and each other. More games are being played. More dance parties are being had. More meals are being cooked at home, more fires lit, more snuggles had.
Coronavirus is asking us all to stay in, to ground in, to slow down, to connect with each other.
The normal panic and guilt that we feel for “not doing enough” is eased. We feel collective permission to slow down, be creative, and express concern for one another.
So thank you, Coronavirus, for giving us this opportunity to bond with ourselves, go inward, and be nurtured.
5. The environment is benefitting.
This collective slow-down and lock-down is giving the earth an opportunity to restore itself to some degree.
“China’s coronavirus lockdown likely saved tens of thousands of lives by slashing air pollution from factories and vehicles, according to a new analysis by a Stanford University scientist,” states Jeff McMahon in a Forbes article, Study: Coronavirus Lockdown Likely Saved 77,000 Lives In China Just By Reducing Pollution.
“The COVID-19 outbreak hit countries like Italy really hard, forcing country officials to intervene and ask citizens to go into lockdown. As a result, people stayed indoors, business shuttered their windows, cars stayed parked and families hunkered down to protect themselves from getting sick. The Venice canal, typically bogged down with tourists in gondolas and cruise ships, is now crystal clear,” states Meghan Wray of Global News.
So thank you, Coronavirus, for reducing pollution and saving lives as a result.
6. It is reminding us to be grateful for what we do have.
Contrast is always our greatest teacher. Sometimes we don’t stop to express our full gratitude for our loved ones until we realize the real possibility that they might not be around forever.
Coronavirus is reminding us to be grateful for and protective of the elderly. It is giving us all an opportunity to show up for each other and creating a sense of urgency for us to share our love with each other.
So thank you, Coronavirus for reminding us all of the fragility and impermanence of life and encouraging us to make our love known now.
So there you go, there are six reasons why Coronavirus is happening for us, not to us. And just remember, this isn’t the truth, it’s simply the only perspective that gives us power and peace.