In her eleven plus years on this Earth, my beautiful and inspiring dog Abbie has been speared by a buck(very nearly ending her life), survived two vicious attacks from other dogs(one of which left her with over 50 stitches), consumed an iron packet at the bottom of a dog treat bag that also almost killed her, badly cut her side open on a briar patch(also requiring stitches), cut her paws open twice on glass at the park and even ate a batch of pot edible cookies(Yup another trip to the Pet ER!). Yet, despite enduring so many dramatic and life-threatening events in her journey, after every incident she has bounced back even stronger and more resilient then before. Like the glorious mountains that she hikes nearly each day alongside me, Abbie’s life is a testament to the power of will, courage and faith in the face of adversity. My gratitude could never be expressed in words for the infinite blessings and profound teachings that she has shared with me. Truly, Abbie is the essence of living spirit.
(An excerpt from my book COVID-19 and Humanity’s Spiritual Awakening)
John, a friend of mine from Colorado, shared his dreams with me on a (socially distanced) yet inspiring hike through the mountains together. In the year leading up to the pandemic, this highly talented sound engineer and music booker spent around 80 hours a week working at a music venue. While he found his work satisfying, he confided in me that the long hours and breakneck pace of booking bands six nights a week and running sound for those same acts had taken a toll on him emotionally. Like many skilled workers in the entertainment industry, John suddenly found himself unemployed when all bars and music venues were forced to shut down as COVID-19 began its rampage through the United States. But he was one of the lucky ones.
In contrast to the countless millions of frustrated and desperate laid off workers that would follow, John experienced a smooth transition to the unemployment rolls. He related to me that the time away from his job has provided him with greater balance and fulfillment in his life. It has also strengthened his relationship with his wife and filled him with more gratitude for all the positive things in his life. Most of all, his hiatus from the daily grind, has given John the courage to chase his dreams and live life to the fullest. His dream is to move off to a remote and beautiful track of land his mother owns outside of Moab, Utah. In inspiring fashion, my friend and his wife have decided that there is no better time than now to pursue their dream and take a courageous leap into the unknown!
During this period of crisis, stories like John’s are growing with greater frequency. With far more time to spend contemplating our lives, many people are coming to the realization that now is the perfect time to finally pursue their dreams. With death staring us in the face and with the highest percentage of people out of work since the Great Depression, this moment has carved out an existential crossroads that we are all being called to navigate. Some of the questions we may be asking ourselves are as follows:
Once this crisis ends, do I really want to rejoin the “rat race” once more?
How might following a different path enrich me spiritually?
Is it really too late to change directions and follow my dreams?
How can I contribute to the uplifting of the human race?
As more of us begin asking these questions, we will inevitably come to find our answers through spirited moments of contemplation. And in these precious moments, the answers we seek will become clear as day like it has for my friend John. Despite its tragic death toll, COVID-19 has also been something of a blessing for many people who have felt “trapped” in the capitalist machine for far too long. The conditions are ripe to pour one’s time and energy into pursuits that more meaningfully serve the highest qualities of the human spirit. For other people, like my brother soul, Alex, this pandemic and the ensuing economic collapse has only confirmed for him that he wants to take decisive steps in the next year to leave his well-paying engineering job and follow his dreams of becoming a wood-worker and co-founding an off the grid peaceful community with other like-minded beings.
In his mind, the economic system has badly failed far too many people and he would like the opportunity to show that a better way is possible. He envisions a community that serves the dual aims of providing a space fully conducive to spiritual growth while being grounded in the spirit of service. A beautiful and noble dream indeed! So beautiful and noble, in fact, that I hope to co-found this very community with him!
It is fully within our power to shift our perspective during these times from one of “doom and gloom”, to that of seeing this moment as a rare opportunity to follow our dreams through the grace of suffering. If we can manage to flip the dial of our awareness from pessimism to hope there is no limit to how far we can evolve in our consciousness and in our union with the One that has been called by many names.