At the completion of my retreat in Maui in February – oh my, that now seems a lifetime ago!! and a very long way away from Cape Town, South Africa, where I now find myself! – we were asked to commit to an intention on leaving the retreat - and then to have a piece of red wool tied to our wrists to remind us of this intention.
From Maui I was heading to Europe to facilitate an ISM course called “Threshold to Excellence” – a course based upon how to approach challenging our views of our own inner worlds: -
"The warrior knows that his time upon earth is but short, much too short to waste in indulging in selective perception, and so he strives to stalk his perception and, in doing so, savours every moment of every step he takes towards achieving fluidity of perception and his freedom from his view of the world – his freedom from the madness of the dream."
and it felt important for me to set my intention as a facilitator, a guide, very clearly, so that my approach on this course would be bright and clear.
So the intention I set for myself was to be of service – to serve as a lighthouse, a beacon of hope. I was in Maui, the land of volcanoes after all! :)
Our first lighthouses were actually given to us by Nature herself. Sailors sometimes used landmarks such as glowing volcanoes to guide them.
I knew I would quickly be challenged on this noble intention. LOL! Little did I know in what way I was going to be challenged and in what way I would be needing to “teach best what we need to learn the most” LOL!!
On this particular course we spend much time exploring fear as an emotion and how to tackle it, and when is it a real fear and when is it fear based on an illusion we have created?
The first week of March, from Maui to Vancouver to Vienna to Slovakia to Estonia, I saw very little effect of COVID-19 in airports, cities, people’s behaviour. It was life as normal, with perhaps slightly fewer passengers in airports than usual, but no feeling of anything amiss anywhere. No sense of fear, let alone panic. Very few masks.
On the 8th March I arrived in Estonia, the country hosting the course which was to start 11th March. In the 3 days after my arrival the steep increase in Italy’s reported cases and deaths saw the virus news in Europe start to ramp up dramatically. Some initial guidelines were coming out elsewhere in Europe about social distancing, but this was not to any extent seen by me where I was.
This all changed Friday 13th!
On the way to the course venue I started to see streets emptying. I could feel the fear outside in the city and then inside the course room. We worked extensively with fear as each day I addressed how each person was feeling and how the news was affecting each one. The group intent to tackle the fear got stronger and stronger…. until we arrived at the course Saturday morning!!
I was confronted with a WhatsApp message to all from one of the participants to say that he was in his car returning to his neighbouring country to get tested; that overnight he had started experiencing flu like symptoms; that he wanted them addressed by his home doctor; that it may well be psychosomatic on his side, but his concern was not to affect the rest of us. Noble.
This message triggered off a lot of fear and potential panic for some in the group.
Whilst I stood quietly feeling an enormous inner turmoil about the way forward – with 20 something individuals looking to me for guidance and leadership – I was in the complete unknown here! - in my peripheral vision the image of my little bit of red wool (now in my glasses case on a table) suddenly jumped out at me!
THIS was now the time for my intention to be put to the test!! A beacon of light in these turbulent waters was in NEED!! No time for me to dither and doubt myself!
With that this guidance surfaced for me very strongly
"If then I am to savour every moment of every step, and if this afternoon is to be my last afternoon spent on this earth, I need no time to think about how I would like to spend this time.
The power lies in the moment, in the here and now, and I know from experience that I am a being that is already given to my fate, and, in knowing that, I also know the purpose of that fate.
But what I am doing right now, right here, is putting meaning into that purpose.
By sharing my knowledge with you, the reader, what more can I wish for, than simply to embrace this fleeting moment of chance with every fibre of my being, and to pour into it all of my joy, my warmth and my love?"
I set about sharing with all that if any one wanted to leave and was clear why he/she was leaving, that he/she was not succumbing to some mind-made illusion, they should leave, with all my support. That for any one person who chose to stay, this then was to be my approach for myself: -
I shared - “My focus is on quality of life and not on quantity of life. If this is my last day – and seriously I could walk outside this evening and slip on a banana peel! LOL! I don’t have to wait for a virus – and even if only one person chooses to stay with me, I will continue the course. My approach here is to continue taking my life one announcement at a time” : -)
All but 2 of the group stayed - and completed the course Sunday night. :-)
Sunday morning, we received confirmation our first participant was clear of any virus symptoms. Whew! No 14 day extended stay for me in Europe! Lol! As a precaution we have all stayed connected for the past 14 days since the course - and we are all well.
Now that I am back home, having completed 14 days of self isolation and Day 29 of a country wide lock down (prohibiting even walks outside!), I am SO grateful for the experience I had that weekend in Estonia. It still serves to hold my intent strong and steady - to continue being a lighthouse in a sea of lashing waves – waves of pandemic proportions!
Let us take heart, my friends, let us take courage at this time!
Let us therefore rather focus upon the light instead and set our intent upon a new world in which peace and plenty will bring harmony to all life upon our wonderful and breathtakingly beautiful planet. Let us decide to take heart and courage, for never before in the history of life upon Earth have the stakes been so high, and never before has the opportunity for humanity been so awesome.