A friend asked me how I was surviving the negative financial effects of the COVID-19 virus. I explained my use of, and gratitude for, computer-based video conferencing software that allows me to continue to see patients and provide therapy services for individuals, couples, and families. I also shared my gratefulness for the MN Senate, which approved a bill that prohibits excluding or reducing coverages for mental healthcare services provided through telemedicine.

That said, classes and other group events normally held at SpiritWoods have come to a halt. No longer are we able to gather, learn, and build community in the easy ways we used to.

What a strange time… This pandemic has dramatically applied the brakes to all our lives. We seem to have been ignoring ourselves, each other, this Earth and all its inhabitants for so long in spite of the many evidences of our harmful ways. In this time we are forced to just stop. Look at what we are doing… or not doing.

Ironically, the coronavirus provides us with a profound opportunity for self examination — to assess the frenetic pace of living. It’s hard to listen when we are so busy, hustling to uphold the comforts and conveniences that scaffold our lives, saying, “I’ve always had reasons to be out and about; a steady stream of obligations as well as amusing and entertaining pursuits for distraction.” Now as we shelter in place, we are called to trust more in being with what is, letting go of distractions and the impulse to stay busy.

What if we’re being given the opportunity to assess our priorities, our relationship with ourselves and others, and our relationship with the Earth? What if we see this as an opportunity to identify and focus on what is truly important, not just what seems urgent? Even lawmakers in Washington are forced to suppress their instincts for partisan gridlock to reduce the economic damage the coronavirus has in store for us. Maybe if we seize these opportunities, we can find our way back to the first fire within ourselves, our relationships and our Earth — to that which lights up the current moment and reveals powerful new ways to enter the future.

— Dr. Mary Freitag

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