The things you can learn from a virus. In late spring of 2021, months after I had COVID for the first time, I received Reiki and an energy reading from the dynamic and delightful Kayla Lappin. Kayla told me she still felt the presence of the virus in my legs, and encouraged me to take some time in meditation to inquire what the virus had come to teach me.
The concept of virus as teacher was new to me. I had a strictly physiological view of viruses--living organisms that require a host for survival, they enter the human body by chance and perform their genetically scripted duty of using human cells as nurseries to create more of themselves. It had never crossed my mind that a virus might have a lesson for its host.
Still, I had received many profound messages by following Kayla's suggestions, so the next time I entered my meditative state, I tuned into the COVID-19 cells that remained in my body and asked them, what are you here to teach me? Do you have a message for me? The answer was immediate, and so loud I would not have been surprised if others in my home had been able to hear it: your timeline is irrelevant.
Ah, so viruses are blunt. Gotcha. Don't sugar-coat it. Just lay it on me.
My timeline, something to which I was desperately clinging at this point, was irrelevant. The words hit me like a load of bricks dropped from a great height, landing squarely in the center of my chest. They rattled my bones and left a deep ache where they had hit. Oof. No denying it, that one hurt. Yet I could not, in good faith, deny all awareness of this as a lesson in my life.
In 2021, I was still working to understand and manifest my healing--body and soul. (You'll find evidence of this journey in blog posts from that time frame.) I had accepted some aspects of the soul upgrade I'd been...offered? Required to participate in? Earned. I had accepted some aspects of the harsh delivery of my lessons which I had earned. But some understandings were still months, even years, away.
These included the true inevitability of divine timing. I was learning to rest at this time, had accepted that I had worked myself ill, and was exploring how to reconnect with and listen to my body. I'd learned how to meditate. I was spelunking through the dark caves of my scarcity mindset. I was beginning to realize that my voice was a gift, and I was meant to use it in minor and massive ways to serve a purpose that was just starting to crystalize in front of me. It all felt very expansive and a bit thrilling. But truth be told, most of what I was doing as the pandemic reached its one year anniversary was in service to my own timeline.
I wasn't resting for rest's sake. I wasn't cultivating a relationship with my body because it is a wonder of creation which happens to house my deepest knowing. I wasn't even exploring my purpose for spiritually sound reasons. I was trying to figure out how to hurry the fuck up. I had felt ill for nearly four years. I was over it. I was in the valley of the shadow of death, and I was ready to exit, thank you very much. Rod and staff, blah, blah, blah. Which way to the door?
In this moment, lying on my bedroom floor talking to an invasive genetic force in my body, I began to understand a terrible truth. The very truth that had been spoken to me in the most unequivocal of ways. Your timeline is irrelevant. You'll stay in this valley as long as it takes to reach the other side. The fact that you think you're done here, that you want out, that you've got some silly thought in your egoic human mind about how long it takes to traverse this space, matters not. You'll be well again when you're well again. Your body will recover from COVID, and anything else that happens to it, when it's recovered. You'll be finished with this lesson when you've truly learned it. What you think about how long that should take is less than comical; it is immaterial. In essence, your timeline doesn't even exist.
This was an understanding with a weight like a herd of elephants balanced on a ten-penny nail. Humbling is far too mild a word for the realization that your desire for the unfoldment of your dreams is truly inconsequential. Yet, for all its weight, this comprehension had a distinct edge of freedom to it. Controlling the timeline, like controlling most anything, is labor-intensive. And nothing consumes more energy than an exercise in futility. If I could accept this offering from the virus making its home in my cells, I could have all of that energy back. Instantly. While this did little to soften the direct hit to my ego, it did give the message a gleam of true appeal.
In that moment, I truly understood. I couldn't make feeling better happen. I couldn't really make much of anything happen, at least not according to the timelines my mind created. What was available to me (and what is available to us all, in every moment) was the ability to take actions aligned with my desired outcomes. Beyond those actions, I could only allow the unfolding according to a timeline that was most assuredly not mine. I could rest, and meditate, and continue clarifying my purpose, and build an honest relationship with my body, but it was time to release my attachment to these actions as a means to an end. Or, more correctly, it was time to revise the end. These choices were a means to an end, but the end was regaining my health. Not regaining it sooner. There is no sooner. There is only divine timing. And, as it turns out, the divine and I rarely share a timetable.
In that moment, I truly did understand. I've not lost that understanding, but neither have I lost my humanity. Which means that I occasionally experience a sort of temporary amnesia surrounding the function of divinity. From time to time I identify a little too strongly with my human ego. I neglect the apply the lessons I've learned (see: my recent piece on surrender). I get overly enthusiastic about things my human mind has created. Like timelines.
My body has healed so spectacularly since my conversation with COVID. With each passing season I can look back and say "I could not have done that 3, 6, 12 months ago." The purpose that was a glimmer in the haze in 2021 is a raging fire that illuminates every area of my life today. I know precisely where it sits in my body, how to stoke it and allow it to warm me when I feel chilled. I am now so versed in meditation that I can lead others to powerful shifts through this practice. There have been many more lessons, and I have striven to remain an attentive pupil, open to and welcoming of my learning.
All of which is wonderous, and none of which shields me from the basic nature of my humanity. I am a divine soul...in a human body. And in the mind that lives within that body timelines are created, expectations fast on their heels. When I'm not paying close enough attention, I become attached to these. I slip effortlessly into believing my role in creation is to choose not only what, but when and how. I find myself in some valley or another, feeling angry because I am ready to emerge again into the light, but I cannot see my way out. I begin to expend my energy trying to enforce my timeline.
Case in point: as I have expanded within myself, my business has evolved along with me. As we have both progressed, that which I do not know has become increasingly clear. I am a powerful coach, an engaging speaker, a valued mentor. What I am most assuredly not is a marketing expert. I've known for nearly two years that I needed serious professional guidance in this area. Back to the caves of scarcity I went, battling belief systems in the dark until I was ready to invest money I was not earning into a partnership with a marketing firm. Dutifully I did my assignments, crafting core values for my business, creating lists of keywords, learning what it meant to create graphics that resonated with my brand. I changed the way I was showing up on social media and in my communities, both virtual and local.
The work was fun, satisfying in its own right. But my sense of joy was stifled. The more of these interesting and entertaining tasks I completed, the more frustrated I became. Even as I watched the hard evidence accumulate, proving that my actions were moving me towards my goals, I felt increasingly desperate. The work was working. Statistics don't lie. Results were piling up around me, showing me that there was a return on my investment, that I was progressing. But it didn't feel like it was working.
In fact, it felt an awful lot like that spring of 2021. Ah, yes. There's the problem. I was doing #allthethings, this time for my business instead of for my health. But I was doing them with that same misguided energy. I wasn't creating on Canva, posting on Instagram, expressing core values and using keywords to align more deeply with my purpose, to reach more of the women I can inspire and liberate. I was doing these things to hurry the fuck up. To hurry up and realize my timeline. You know, the one that's irrelevant?
I really, truly understand, though it appears that I'd forgotten for a moment. I understand that there IS a timeline. It's just not mine. The measurable progress shows me that I'm moving across the valley floor, but has no bearing on how long the valley might be. I understand that my job in creation is the what. The when and how are in larger hands. Wiser hands. More powerful hands. And all of that energy I've been expending trying to control the timeline? I've got it back now. I can relax, keeping a soft gaze on the true ends to which my means will lead: serving my purpose and raising my sisters high. I can use that energy now for better things. Perhaps I'll use a bit to write COVID a thank-you card.