This pandemic has all of us thinking about our mortality.
Whether we are considering the possibility of our own death, the death of our loved ones, or just horrified about the number of deaths in general, it’s horrible and terrifying.
And yet because death, in general, typically guides me to sit with the energy of the element of Metal, I can also feel something of the beauty and preciousness of it.
Eastern Philosophy teaches that Metal not only relates to death, but also the lungs, which this virus so viciously attacks. Metal is ultimately about letting go of what no longer serves us so that we can live (or die) in a way that recognizes the innate value and preciousness of our life.
Inhaling and exhaling.
While all of this death feels like too much, it also feels like a natural part of a cycle, one we’ve been avoiding in our culture for decades.
We’ve been living in one big inhalation. Consumption, greed, taking in more than we need, serving the needs of a few but not all. We’ve stopped respecting the natural order of things. We have forgotten the exhale. The out-breath. The release. The letting go.
The pendulum is swinging.
We’ve all known for years, if not decades, that we can’t sustain this. The Earth cannot sustain our excessive consumption. But we wouldn’t slow down. Maybe we couldn’t slow down. Didn’t know how to slow down.
We let ourselves believe we were doing “our part.” Maybe we brought the cloth bag to the store. Carried the reusable water bottle. Scheduled a yoga class into our daily routine of running-around. Maybe we turned off our cell phone during dinner.
Now we get a mandatory time-out. To be with ourselves. To be with our people, our thoughts. And Her. The Earth.
My hope is that this does something. Wakes us up. Makes us realize that while this virus is destroying our lungs, we are the virus that has been destroying the lungs of the Earth for decades. The Amazon, the Ocean. She’s been breathing fire, and still we keep going. An entire continent has been on fire for months. California’s annual fires are now expected.
We must think globally. This is not a “Chinese Virus.” There is no “Other” to blame this time. There never was. This is our virus. A virus of humanity. Our lungs are literally bleeding. We have to grieve. Not only this virus, all of the death, but who we have become as a people. Maybe who we've always been, for as long as most of us have been alive. Disconnected from the Earth. Productive at the expense of any sort of receptivity. Consumptive.
There is no glossing over this. This is on all of us.
It’s on me.
It’s on you.
We are accountable. For ourselves. For our planet. For each other. Responsible for our next breath that has the potential to kill.
The Metal element can be cold and hard and unrelenting, unyielding. But ultimately it’s needed for us to become the most beautiful version of ourselves. To live into our preciousness. With death, with loss, with letting go comes a time for gestation and hope. And ultimately, hopefully, rebirth.
I hope that we can be reborn as a people who can live on this planet in a way that doesn’t simultaneously destroy both her and us.
So I am sitting with each breath. Letting myself exhale. And hoping that maybe there’s some possibility, now, that couldn't have existed before this. That maybe, all of this death and fear of death brings with it a possibility for life that we couldn’t have even imagined before.
For now, I put my hands on the Earth. And I breathe. And I grieve. And I hope.
But mostly, I surrender.
To all of it.