By Laura Davis
PROMPT — During COVID-19 ...
What kind of person do I want to be?
I want to be a person who plants my feet in the earth and looks up at the sky, the trees, the ocean. This morning as I swam laps in the pool, I breathed and with each breath saw the still dark sky turn to light—blacks and greys and streaks of white—yes, the sky was still there. It is so easy to fall into the belief that the sky is falling, but there it was, greeting me with every breath.
I want to be a person who finds a way to serve in this crisis. I want to take what I know and what I can offer and stretch it out in the world as a handhold, a steadying force, a way to write through uncertainty.
I want to be a person who accepts impermanence, who takes comfort in the truth of the Five Remembrances: I am of the nature to become old; I cannot avoid aging. I am of the nature to become ill; I cannot avoid illness. I am of the nature to die; I cannot avoid death. I will be separated and parted from all this is dear and beloved to me. I am the owner of my actions. Whatever actions I do good and bad, I am the heir of these actions. These words are true, and they were true before the coronavirus set so many of us spinning. Illness and death are part of life, but so is living. I want to be a person who continues to reach out instead of pulling in.
I want to be a person who keeps laughing. Who doesn’t forget that humor has a place in an uncertain world, a world that may or may not be in peril.
I want to be a person who remembers love. Who finds the ground beneath my feet and the breath in my belly. Who stays embodied, who acknowledges fear, but continues to acknowledge joy and awe and gratitude.
I want to be a person who serves my community, who helps, who does what I can to ease the suffering, not just of my precious knot of family, but to others whose resources—on every level—are less plentiful than mine.
I want to be a person who feels the sensuous touch of my hands every time I put them under a sink and lather. I want to remember to send lovingkindness to myself, my family, my neighbors, my students, and to people all across the world every time I wash my hands.
I want to be a person who draws on the inner resources I’ve spent a lifetime developing—and develop new ones along the way.
I want to be a person who faces the reality of what is occurring, who doesn’t turn away, but who doesn’t get spun up in the contagion of panic.
I want to be a person who keeps working on opening my heart, just what I was doing before this virus upended my life.
I want to be a person who stays present, who stays here, no matter what the future brings. I want to meet each moment with humanity, with presence, with vitality, creativity, and an open heart.
I don’t want to roll up in fear. It’s way too lonely.
I have spent my life building community. That’s what I want to be part of. That’s what I want to create. That’s what I want to rest in. We need each other now more than ever.
Laura Davis is a six-time HarperCollins author. Her books, including The Courage to Heal and I Thought We’d Never Speak Again have been translated into 11 languages and sold 1.8 million copies. Laura leads writing workshops that focus on writing as a tool for healing and transformation. Her latest offering is an international online class: Tuesdays with Laura: Writing Through the Pandemic. http://www.lauradavis.net/tuesdayswithlaura