I am sometimes taken to task for sending out these ‘positive’ messages while there is so much evil happening in the world. 

“Don’t you see what’s going on?” they demand.

Of course I see it – that’s why I try to remind myself, and us, of the opposite. This seems to be my assignment these days: to help keep our spirits up while we do the difficult job of shifting our consciousness to a finer plane of being, a higher frequency of vibration. We are at the end of an era and transitioning into the next, and we have to find our way onto this new level without being destroyed by fear, as old patterns break up into chaos, making space for the new patterns that are still being created.

I believe these times are about profound change. 

Nobody ever said it would be easy, but that doesn’t mean we can’t rise to the occasion, especially with the help of everyone and everything we can imagine – and also some we couldn’t imagine, like Covid, for example.

Yes, it is terrifying. But it is also an amazing opportunity for us – all over the globe – to stop and take stock of where we are, who we are, and what can possibly be coming next. Things were way out of hand in the world even before the virus hit, but then the universe gave us this whopper to deal with, and did it to everyone in the world at once!

What a brilliant move!

Everyone has a story to tell of these past few months. Mine is that I had to pack up house and home by myself, in quarantine in a pandemic, and move to a new place still not quite finished! I assumed it would be an impossible job for any woman my age to do alone, but then I did it! 

I wonder how many of us, under all that pressure, have been surprised by our own strength? 

It was probably time for something big to shock us into action, because the environment and our self-respect have been going downhill steadily for a long time now. Personally, I’ve been expecting natural disasters like huge earthquakes and fires to wake us up, so I figure we’ve gotten off relatively easily with Covid 19, even with the inevitable loss of life. The fact is that an estimated 3 million children we have never heard of, worldwide, die of starvation every year and one child dies of hunger every 10 seconds without our even noticing it – long before we ever heard the word Covid.

Tragic deaths are not a new phenomenon.

Given that perspective, the virus and the worldwide quarantine seem a relatively gentle way to get our attention. Every single one of us, from babies to octogenarians, are having to slow down and re-think our priorities during an enforced time-out. Hopefully, we will use this time well and make some fresh choices about the preciousness of life on earth and of one another. 

For me, alone and working day after day through every room and closet in the house, I was essentially doing a life review. Every book, every bowl had a story attached to it, and I laughed and cried as one memory spun into another from all those years of a rich life. 

Friends tell me their stories of digging deep into their childhoods, of grieving past wounds and remembering past loves. So many of us are looking back at our lives, feeling old feelings and getting to know ourselves in new ways because now we have lots of time to do so. 

I bow to the bug.

Have you ever heard of the Chladni patterns with sand on vibrating plates? Look it up! Dr. Chladni experimented with sand and powders placed on a vibrating plate – like a drumhead – which he then “played” with a violin bow. The pitch of the sound vibrated the plate to a particular frequency, setting the sand into motion which was chaotic at first, but then settled into a clear pattern which held its shape as long as that pitch was held. But when the tone was raised in pitch, the sand again went crazy until it formed into a different pattern, even more intricate and beautiful than the one before. And that continued up the scale – pattern followed by chaos followed by a more complicated new pattern…

In physics this is understood as a disintegration period that precedes a stage of higher integration, and may be how the physical universe evolves. (Doing the same thing with Lycopodium powder and Mozart, Dr. Chladni actually got the powder to dance!)

I believe we are in one of those dissolving states now, and have been for quite awhile. On the ground it feels like total disaster – and in ways it is – but more deeply, I suspect it is a phase of transition to a higher order of being that we have to find our way through.

It reminds me of my days performing as a flutist with local chamber music groups, waiting in the wings scared out of my wits every single time. My hands were invariably frozen and I wanted to be anywhere but there. I’ve heard that the great cellist Pablo Casals suffered bad stage-fright before concerts too, enough to wish he had broken his arm the day before so he couldn’t go on! 

But then we’d be announced, I’d take a deep breath, walk onstage with the others and forget to be nervous – and more often than not we played like angels.

A well-known joke from my music days tells of a famous conductor being asked by a stranger on the street how to get to Carnegie Hall, and his answer, in heavily accented English, was,

“Practice!”

That’s what this quarantine may be about for many of us – fear plus practice! We have to get ready to perform in a new era whose time has almost come. It’s actually a good thing that we  have this enforced sheltering-in-place to prepare for it, learning the fingerings and the phrasings, feeling how to listen for one another and studying the score with our whole bodies.

In another way, we are like caterpillars waiting in the cocoon, holding still as cells morph into wings and internal juices mysteriously transform into a butterfly. Like you, I am sheltering in place, watching the world from a new perspective and paying close attention to everything I feel. We are waiting offstage together, preparing ourselves to play a new music in the world that every single one of us has been born to do, whether we know it or not. 

Of course we’re nervous; who wouldn’t be?

But this is not a good time to lose it and go off the wall, as that poor guy in a Tucson grocery store did, screaming obscenities at everyone while his son picked him up like a baby and carried him out bawling. Much better to be grown-ups taking up the mantle of inevitable change, even though the times are testing us hard.

I wager, in the long run we’re strong enough for the tests.

After all, diamonds go through a hell of a lot of pressure before they become gemstones, don’t they?