Without a single doubt, the biggest live-change COVID has brought for us has been the election of Joe Biden as the new President of the United States of America. It has been a crucial moment where the will of over 75 million Americans was united to make a change not just for the U.S. but, quite frankly, for the whole world.
But there have also been changes on a smaller scale, on the individual scale.
On a personal level, I have friends who got a tubal tying, friends who have divorced, moved out (count me on that group), changed the city where they lived, decided to try a new career path or even undertook treatment for complex conditions like bulimia.
However complicated or painful these decisions have been, they are all doing better. Of course, I understand they have also been privileged for not being sick, for having a job, a house, a healthy family, and that should not be taken lightly. But these are also decisions they could have made before the pandemic and didn’t.
So, why is COVID such a centripetal force despite the fact we are staying home so much more?
To have some light on this regard, I reached out to María Lucía Tarazona, a wellness and tantra mentor who has been a great support and guide for me over the past months. If any of you, kind readers, can feel the scent of incense pouring from my computer to yours, you are right.
This may be a too “hippie” perspective for some people, but it has been the one that has helped me cope with these abnormal months and changes, so I thought it might help other people as well.
From my experience and my friends’ experience, I have seen that COVID has forced us to face the things we have always known about ourselves but never dared to assume: our fears, scars, childhood dreams, and hopes. Undertaking those challenges requires a leap of faith. A leap of faith not necessarily to God (it might be the case for some), but to ourselves. And that is as scary and painful as going to Hell and coming back. But the reward, for those who do, is amazing.
So, what is the leap of faith you need to make?
From your perspective as a mentor, what has been the most significant impact the pandemic has had on people’s development?
The greatest impact the pandemic has had on us as human beings is to make it clear that we have made mistakes when we conceive such essential things as life, its ultimate purpose, and our passage through it. It is an “existential call” that shakes us to ask the point of so much technology and development if we have not even solved the essential riddle of living in peace with each other and the planet. Instead of privileging nature and life, we have become consumed in the race to make money and knead power.
Life stopped to indicate to us that we must go inwards. We were locked up at home to recognize our temple, our dwelling place, our body, our Being. When we go inside and stop, we can do something that humans forget by living on ‘autopilot.’ We are being allowed to rethink ourselves as a species to build from a place of Being and not of Doing. But above all, to realize the drawn models are self-destructing.
Have you seen that it has impacted your spiritual development or another area of individual growth?
This collective call has impacted us in our spiritual development and has magnified what we have been building. It is as if we have been given a magnifying glass to bring to light what was hidden. This ‘forced stop’ has made us face many situations that we usually avoid with an excess of work or denial. Having to face them makes us uncomfortable because this transit requires the inner work we have not been willing to do. In the world of ‘instant gratification,’ it will always be easier to take a pill and forget about it, but this does not mean that it is the solution in the long run.
What makes a person decide to make drastic changes in their lives and, even more, implement them successfully?
Guilt and shame are the greatest control mechanisms that have separated us from our true essence. The guilt we feel for failing ourselves by wanting something and not being able to have it reduces us to a negative cycle that brings more devaluation and leads us to be hard and inflexible with ourselves. Shame is toxic because it keeps us from feeling worthy of fulfillment and inner bliss. Both guilt and shame lead to self-sabotage “because it is better not to try than to keep disappointing myself.”
The antidote to these two lethal weapons is love and compassion. When we fall in love with our process, we get to see the progress instead of counting the mistakes. The strength of love drives us to understand our little failures and be compassionate when we fail to change what we have nurtured for a lifetime. Being compassionate to ourselves leads to the elimination of judgment and frees us from guilt. It makes us more human and more caring for others.
Why is this situation driving so many people to make life changes even though it has forced us to be still for so long?
We have realized that we lost courage for the simple things in life, that we lost our way by chasing our tail. We go around in circles every year, paying and getting deeper into debt to become slaves of our own invention. We have made life difficult for ourselves because we have built a temple to the mind and have not known how to give place to the heart.
Going inwards has made us listen again to that faint voice that whispers and cries out to us to listen to its desires. Connecting with the heart means living from our own truth and accepting the truth of others.
Life is simple, but we have made it difficult for ourselves because we practice the culture of doing: “the more you do, the more you produce and the more you have.” If we return to the essence, we will live from the Self, whose premise tells us: “you are already enough, and you don’t need anything external to be happy.”
What would you recommend to someone who does not feel comfortable with his life but cannot identify what the specific problem is?
For someone unable to identify their discomfort, I would take it to an extreme hypothetical situation. I would tell them that they have 24 hours to live. I would ask them what they would do if they knew their life was about to end.
I would remind them that the joy of living is still intact within, but that they have blocked it by dedicating themselves to doing things that do not respond to an inner call but to external conditioning that made them believe that they had to be happy to be something else.
Whatever the case may be, non-conformity comes from denying ourselves what we are through roles and lives that we unconsciously choose to seek approval or recognition from outside.
Once a person has identified the area of his or her life that needs to change, what strategy can he or she use to figure out the next step?
The strategy is to abandon the processes that are coming from the mind. The path is to return to the heart, feeling, to Being, and finding fulfillment in the world through what you love, serving others from that unique gift that only each one of us can bring into the world.