After a long absence from posting anything on social media, I now feel called to put down in words my reflections on the challenges and changes we are going through right now in Italy.  I am choosing to do so in English so that all my friends and family abroad can be reached. As it often happens when one navigates shocking events in life, our being can travel through many stages. In this Coronavirus tsunami, I went through a few:

Disbelief. I thought this virus was like many others, so why should we worry about it more than a seasonal flu? I thought the media was exaggerating to feed their negative news cycles and that people were falling for it big time! I observed that many of us take comfort in thinking that what happens else where in the world can not happen here. “Away from the eyes, away from the heart” we say in Italy. Even though I felt sorry for the Chinese population when I heard about the violent spreading of the virus, I didn’t feel  that something so foreign and unlikely would present itself here. In this disbelief limbo where feelings floated in no particular direction, I was also filled with inquiries.  “What if our reality was shaken by uncontrollable events? I think I am grounded and feel safe and protected, but how much would it take to shake my reality? How strong and stabIe am I really?”

Anger. We have been bombarded with negative news every single day. Many numbers were correct and I realized that people needed to be informed, but I also believe the job of a journalist comes with great responsibilities. It should be based on a solid morale. When the goal moves away from informing the people and gears toward creating “shocking news” to incite more views and sell more papers, then it becomes a dangerous weapon. Many individuals suffer from anxiety;  by installing fear we are only causing more confusion and separation.  We are weakening the Immune System of the Collective. At the same time we saw videos and read articles which came from nearby countries, filled with teasing and disrespectful materials about Italy and her  citizens. We love to travel to those same countries, and when they were attacked in the past, when their cities were mourning, we cried and prayed for all those HUMANS suffering. I wasn’t angry because of the misconception and stereotypes, but for the disappointment in seeing our lack of unity. I kept thinking, “Are we still here? Why is there still such a strong sense of Me and You? Why can‘t we understand there is only a We?

In fact, this emotional state brought me to expand the lens on what was happening on a world wide stage, not just across a few countries. Is this an opportunity for us to stop and work together? If we were all to face the same challenges as people, wouldn‘t we be more empathetic to each other?

It is no longer time to think “my country-your country”, it is no longer the time to observe worldwide issues such as environmental emergencies or poverty and believe it is someone else‘s problem to solve. These crises can be viewed as an opportunity to move towards a state of Union. Nothing more than a forced separation can make you appreciate the love and support we can generate when we are together.

Last year I experienced through my own body what many are living today. I ended up in the ICU or hospital resuscitation for 8 days because of pneumonia. It was the most surreal and scary experience of my life. I felt my Prana, my Life-force suddenly leaving my body. It felt like I was attached to the dimension I knew as Life by a thin string. Once out of danger, I stayed two more weeks in the hospital and was able to receive visitors. In that space, I truly became the observer and was able to see all my relations under a very different light. All the judgments and the mental complaints I had towards the people in my Life dissolved, all the unnecessary veils came off, and all that was left was the beauty of every soul I was fortunate to have near by.

Another force which lifted my heart and my entire physical being were your Prayers. I could feel them lifting me up and making that thin thread of connection to life stronger and stronger so that I could climb back up to surface through a golden strong rope.  I am grateful for this Angry phase because it forced me to look inward and move into the next phase….

Fear. This feeling was (and is at times) a big one. Even if I feel grounded and strong, flashbacks to last year and the knowing that many people are going through the same thing shake my foundation.  My family and I were lucky enough to retreat to the mountains and nurture our Family time together. A commitment to unplug and create an empty space from where we could get a wider perspective was much needed. The reflections which bubbled up during this wave made me realize that Love and union proved once again to be strong medicine against fear. I simply stopped and asked myself, ” Are you okay now? Is your family okay now?” The answer was, YES. Once I realized this, I started accepting the need to adapt to and discover new rhythms. There was actually something very liberating about having to STOP. It has become so foreign to us, but again, I felt I knew how to navigate it from my own experience last year.

After my recovery, I started asking myself, “What happened to me? What brought me to a state of complete exhaustion and yet unable to heed or hear those repeated warnings?”  The answer was clear in hindsight: I had no empty space, I was doing and planning too much, so much so, that my breath was literally taken away from me. I missed out on the daily pearls of Life in front of me too busy planning for the future.  It still hurts admitting this. I needed to be faced with the possibility of losing everything in order to stop.  I needed to be isolated to truly understand how to set new rules which would respect my soul, my body, my family and loved ones.

So here we are…a mirror for each other.   And since so many things in history repeat themselves until we learn the lesson, I wanted to share my humble reflections with you.  I hope that perhaps what I learned in a clearer, quieter space, will help   change your focus.

Mother Nature is screaming STOP.  Now is the time to observe the rhythms we had in our lives before the virus. Did we work long days? Did we always have a list of to do things which exceeded the possibility of accomplishing them? Did we create some empty space? Did we take care of ourselves properly? Try to slow down your daily activities and dedicate a little more time to observing how you navigate your day; the quality of your thoughts; your movement and your speech.

We are forced to stay at home and for many of us this means with our family members. Do you feel this as a heavy task or are you taking this as an opportunity? For those of you who have children and if you normally just see them in the morning and at night, here’s a chance to be present with them and dedicate time to being together. I know many of you have to work from the house these days and it’s not easy with kids running around, but it doesn’t last forever so take it as a unique opportunity.

Our state of mind and our energy influences those around us.  We must try to do your best to keep our thoughts positive and focus on the resolution together. Let us learn from this shared awareness so that we face our future knowing we are all connected.