Welcome to my occasional newsletter. I will share some exciting news about my new book next month, once all the holiday festivities have passed.
For this edition, I want to share my personal experience of being infected recently with Covid-19. I do feel that, amongst all the formal narratives around the virus, there is a more subtle experience, a spiritual one, that we are having as a species and I hope that by sharing my story I can add a slightly different context and perspective.
First of all, there is a slight irony in that I met the virus on an outdoor retreat focusing on permaculture and re-wilding. I talked with someone who felt unwell but who was an unwitting carrier of covid, who felt reassured enough by repeated negative lateral flow tests to stay on the retreat.
I have always felt that I would experience the virus personally, that it was necessary for me in some way; so I had a strange sense of relief when I felt symptoms emerge a few days after my return home and a positive PCR test confirmed that it was covid-19.
For 3 days and nights, (reminiscent of many myths including the descent of Innana into the Underworld) I existed without food, movement, thought or emotion. I had perhaps hoped for some deep sharing of consciousness with this virus, a journey to meet its essence and desires, but instead I was greeted by an abyss. For me, the virus was like a machine, an algorithm if you like, following only that most basic instinct to occupy and survive, to take what it needed without extinguishing the source of that nourishment.
Thankfully, my immune system responded fully and by the end of the 3 days I emerged from this abyss-like cocoon and began the journey to full recovery of my physical energy.
My overriding sense of the 3 days in the abyss was that it was a form of death, the annihilation of the version of me that existed prior to the virus. As I emerged, I regathered various aspects of myself from my previous life, but each one became a choice. I embraced my family and home without hesitation, a wonderful and instinctive reconnection with those I love the most. Other aspects were less clear and some of the gifts I received as part of my return were letting go rather than bringing in. I realised that I was working too hard, that my identity was informed more by the shadows and trails of support I left with other people than from the personal path I walked. It was time to reclaim my essence beyond the measurable roles I fulfilled.
I was already looking at easing back from my work, but post covid-19 this drive became overwhelming and I took fervent steps to free-up time for me so I could start focusing on the drivers that will inspire me in the next phase of my life – sustainable living – while still holding onto a core of the therapy work I still love and enjoy.
There is a delicious circular irony here, that the re-wilding retreat where I started this particular journey is also the place to which my primary focus will shortly return. Is that a co-incidence? I suspect not. My sense is that Spirit is showing me what I need to see, that if Covid-19 is a product of an out of balance world, a world where our reverence for nature and trust in our bodies is waning fast, then re-finding a more respectful relationship to the natural world is an essential part of the solution.
That was my journey. I hope it adds some value to those of you who have met the virus in some form and are perhaps looking for your own interpretation of the experience. I still have many unanswered questions in the wider sense, which I will share:
What does it mean when someone has covid but is asymptomatic?
Why do some people have covid and leave their physical bodies? Is it simply the virus overwhelming their body or is there a spiritual decision point as part of the dynamic?
What is ‘long covid’? Is there a spiritual aspect to this or is it just a difficult experience at the physical?
Is there any meaning in the places or the people that pass the virus to us?
Does the virus push us to act more compassionately as a species? Is the vulnerability of the rich nations to virus variants generated by all countries a sign that our futures really are all interlinked? Is this a message for the way we must work together with other pressing global priorities?
These are questions for which I would not dare offer any answers but I hope they give you something to reflect upon, if you wish. The pandemic is an issue that affects us all in some way, so feeling into how we relate to this species level dynamic is perhaps necessary, even if we come to no firm conclusions.
It’s too big an issue to simply explore as a physical phenomenon.
As always, if you resonate with what you read and feel inclined to share it with others, please feel free to do so.