The last year has seen many of us grieving the loss of loved ones and looking for strength amidst tragedy. Here are a few stories from readers of Heartfulness Magazine about their experiences.
Resilience in the Time of Covid
This past year has been riddled with new and difficult experiences for everyone on the planet. Some days have seemed very dark, and it can be hard to find the strength to push through. I have been fortunate to live with my parents while safely continuing my education online. I believe resilience lies in hope for the brighter days ahead. I have found a few things that have helped me to feel grounded and sanguine amidst this global pandemic.
My mom and I often walk our dog together and we love to talk about possibilities for the future, no matter how unlikely they may seem. I think dreaming and imagining the best-case-scenario for our lives is very important, because it is easy to get caught up in current circumstances or relive past failures. These conversations helped me to stay in a growth mindset, along with my meditation practice. During these walks, we notice the mosses, the strange mushrooms on logs, trillium flowers in the spring … all these reminders that life has a way of moving forward despite a long winter. Last month, the new growth in our flowerbeds froze completely, and I worried that the bleeding hearts would not blossom. But the next day, they thawed! Now we have beautiful pink heart-shaped flowers.
By observing nature, whether hiking or painting a landscape, I have always felt more at ease and resilient, with infinite wonders to contemplate.
What Is in the Air?
I keep hearing it everywhere. The virus is in the air now. The sickness is in the air.
It’s a risky affair. The air is limitless. It cannot be contained. What do I do then?
I lost a friend, then my grandmother, and then a teacher. How do you speak to someone who has lost a loved one? How do I allow myself to feel grief ? How do I feel comfortable with the idea that my biggest contribution is to get vaccinated and stay at home?
What is my intention of being resilient and staying grateful in a time like this? Does intention precede action? Should I plunge into the action of being resilient and practice gratitude, and let the intention speak for itself ?
- I picked up paintbrushes again. They had gathered a fine layer of dust by years of lying around packed in a cupboard. I am no artist, but I painted 25 postcards. I rearranged sensational words of newspaper articles to form meaningful phrases.
- My family and I have an unspoken agreement to watch a movie together. It’s quality time where we’re all in it together.
- I’m capturing everything in short videos. Life has slowed down, yet the days seem to blur into the same routine and uncertainty. I capture the mother bird feeding her chicks, the drops of rain falling from the roof, my father brewing masala chai for my mother – the casual magic of the day. Suddenly, every moment seems magical and filled with stories, if you allow your imagination to go wild.
- Meditation has become an anchor, which seems the only non-negotiable thing from my earlier routine. It existed before, exists now, and will exist in the future. I am grateful for this anchor in a rough ocean filled with waves of emotions.
- Finally, I write love letters to myself. I wish to give myself the same empathy, time, space, and love as I give to others.
From sickness in the air, I wish to anchor the idea of “love is in the air.” Resilience and gratitude follow.
People You Take for Granted
Like many South Asian immigrants living in the United States, my parents lived in India with my brother. I visited them in January 2020, right before the pandemic hit. In January 2021, both my parents got Covid. My mom passed away within a couple of days. My dad suffered with Covid complications and passed away in April.
Parents are the reason for our existence in this world. Almost all of us feel that our parents will live forever until the day comes when they are no longer with us. I don’t think I will ever have closure, as I did not see them physically when they passed on.
There will always be a void when I think of my parents’ home, which is now empty.
The Pure Joy of Existence
Life is beautiful. Its beauty is coded in the ancient wisdom of Sat-Chit-Ananda. The shift from misery to happiness is not about achieving or gaining something. It’s simply about being awakened to our own truth. All our lives we identify with our titles and our bodies – big and small, beautiful and ugly, old and young – and we feel a distinction in ourselves from others. We feel either superior or inferior to others, we categorize ourselves into different classes, colors, nations, belief systems, ideologies … the list is endless. It’s only when the ego dissolves that we experience unity with our higher Self and bliss prevails. Once we’re awakened to our own light the shift happens. We realize that we are pure consciousness experiencing only a part of our eternal existence in this physical dimension.
Today’s pandemic has delivered this message to us too profoundly. The need of the hour is to rebuild the connection with our own Self and our environment, too. Do you remember the last time the full moon in the sky amazed you, or a beautiful wildflower caught your attention? It’s not only an invisible virus that is powerful; the tiny joys of our lives conceal within them an unfathomable potential to awaken our healing.
We receive what we seek authentically and radiate vibrantly. Let’s seek and receive blessings today. And that will happen once we cherish what we already have. Our surroundings, the house we live in, the work we do, our own healthy physical bodies, and our relationships. Let’s appreciate these and count our blessings today. When we listen to our inner whispers we discover that so much within is healed.
The Beauty of Impermanence
See how the last yellow leaf fell and was swirled away?
And the tiny root that peeped out of the hard nut!
See the white expanse of freshly fallen snow?
And the hope of spring just a little below the slush!
See that tiny little movement even in a mountain?
And a tiny little stillness in the flowing river!
That is the real beauty.
That is the beauty of Nature.
Illustrations by KASHISH KALWANI