Experiences Shape Us: Fear stops us from growing and evolving -Together we conquer.

It seems that all we read and hear about these days is news on COVID-19, numbers of significant loss, the infected, the affected – it is simply grim all around.  So, what have we learned? When all of this is said and done, after this soon fades away where does it leave you?

Our respective heads of government are doing their best to create a plan of action, one that will hopefully keep us all afloat financially during these difficult times. Beyond finances, they each cleverly have come up with slogans and hashtags to help communities get through this safely such as: #StayingHomeSavesLives #StrongerTogether2020, We can do this #AloneTogether, it is our hope that this assistance will last until such time that we are able to leave our caves and back to some normalcy – they offer us tools: wash your hands, maintain physical distancing and of course stay home – but that’s just it they are survival tools.  Do you want to be surviving or do you want to be excelling? Do you want to stay afloat or do you want to come out on top? It seems that social media is consumed with reprimanding their respective government(s) demanding details on how each will be assisting communities and nations financially and yes, this is extremely important and in some cases whatever your circumstance, this assistance may be detrimental. It may be inevitable in certain circumstances to seek financial support to survive, but for most; is this where you want to be? Is this how you want to live; always looking for handouts (for lack of a better word), to have to rely on someone or an entity to provide you financial freedom? I often find myself giving advice to couples, my daughter, friends and family that they must depend on themselves – to never have to rely on anyone else but themselves. This must come from watching my single mother while growing up, and just observing how she tackled life all on her own –having no surviving parents from a very young age, she literally had to do it all on her own; a quality I believe, I acquired and for which I am most grateful.

It would have been very easy for me to make excuses for myself as to why I should fail financially at life, having been raised by a single mother not having access to that extra financial support –but instead, my life although not extravagant, was definitely not a deprived life.  Despite the lacks in my life – it was from lack that I learned to go after and create for myself the outcomes and successes in my life as a career woman, as a mother, as a wife – no crutches, no excuses.

Now, here we are experiencing and being witnesses to some unprecedented moments that for some, its outcome has left them with much sorrow and significant losses – this has definitely affected us all worldwide and continues to affect us in the most negative and profound way; its aftermath never to be forgotten. It is difficult to find a silver lining during these challenging times, especially while we are still living it, not knowing its final outcome, my mind constantly racing with thoughts of where will it leave me? What must I prepare for if not for myself, for my family, for my children? So I dig deep, I pray for guidance, strength, and that my family and I come out on top in the face of this storm.

In my previous blog on “Your Success Depends on How Well You Organize Your Thoughts”, I wrote about how world leaders have to organize a plan and share with us on a daily basis the details of this plan, how we, as a whole will best execute this plan.  They share with us tools to survive whether it is how we must wash and sanitize our hands, avoid touching our faces and the importance of social distancing; to avoid going out except for essential needs – these are just survival tools so that we simply survive this pandemic. My apologies if it I am being repetitive with my message – this is intentional, it’s a matter of life and death that something as simple as washing and sanitizing your hands consistently and social distancing, saves lives. After all the washing and all the sanitizing, once this black cloud clears up, where does it leave you?  What have you done for yourself to prepare for its aftermath? Did you sit in fear? Did you spend endless hours on social media making friends you will never actually get to meet? While connecting through social media, might play an essential role for your mental health and well-being (an abundance of caution as the opposite may occur) ,what connections have you made that will help you successfully come out on top or that will leave you better than where you were right before this mess started?

As we live through this moment of crisis and learn to navigate through these rough times, it is expected that we look to our leaders for answers on how to survive, how to keep ourselves and our families safe. Through their well-organized plan, our respective leaders will lead us to safety, and hopefully that horizon won’t be too far. But, that’s just it, that’s as far as that relationship and obligation from our leaders goes – we must do the rest of our living ourselves. What will you do for yourself or better yet when was the last time you did something for yourself – unsupported, all on your own? We must not look to our leaders to get ourselves out of this financial mess. We have a responsibility to ourselves and to our families to do this on our own, to lead our families out of our financial mess, granted in some cases probably out of circumstance, you might be limited to what you can do (although I was not taught this) but turning to your government to make all the wrongs in your life right, is not the most fireproof plan there is and if this is your plan then, you must dig a little deeper. We all have gifts, unexplored talents –we are unique individuals with limitless gifts and I am confident that when push comes to shove, we can all independently and successfully get out of this mess. The most poignant message in all of this that is uttered by every leader and the media is; “what we do now affects the numbers on where we are in flattening the curve tomorrow.” “What we do now …“– such profound words on so many levels, don’t you think?

Where is the silver lining you ask? That once you come out of this, you treat this circumstance as an opportunity to reshape your life or maybe you’re already taking action and are using this time in isolation to organize your life – that you view this as entering the second act in your life, to a more successful you. I say this with the utmost love and respect, (acknowledging that so many have suffered significant losses and my heart goes out to you) but after you have mourned your losses that you give yourself permission to not stay in that darkness – you deserve so much more. Ever since news of the pandemic broke out, I have been making it a point to watch the Prime Minister and Premier of my country and city come out and share the devastating numbers affecting my country of the significant losses, they also share important messages on what we can do as a society to keep each other safe, and they make it a point to mention all community heroes making a difference in our daily lives helping us in this battle. The message is always #TOGETHER.

Some of us have been in quarantine or in voluntary isolation for weeks now and although some of us get to work from home, most of us are just sitting in fear it seems. Listen, I get that we are living in uncertain times – not knowing how we will come out of this on the other end, certainly is scary, especially if you are going at it alone. If there is one obvious positive in all this is that we are more united than ever; it is, in the worst of times that the best in us comes out it seems, and that is beautiful. We must meet our fear together, with courage and heaping spoons of kindness. The funny thing about fear after all this, (if anything at all) is that you will either be desensitized from fear or you will become more fearful. I hope you choose the former. The common denominator for all of us going through this crisis is, fear. Are you prepared to invite more of it in your life or less? It is my experience with fear that one eventually tires of it – there comes a point in your life where you will say; “I’m done with fear”, you then, surrender to your calmness, surrender to faith and win your power back.

Given these challenging times, I can’t help but to have my message intertwine with what is happening around the world today; the title and quote I chose for this blog would seem to be an oxymoron, that despite this current crisis affecting us all economically, physically, emotionally, psychologically; a moment where our faith is tested, that we come out strong, that we use this time to organize and shape our lives, our future; to have a second chance at life and it’s success solely depending on how hard we work together. I’d like to share a wonderful quote by Deepak Chopra that says; “Even when you think you have your life all mapped out, things happen that shape your destiny in ways you might never have imagined;” such a fitting quote, for the derailment and disruption many of us have suffered and are currently suffering as a result of this crisis. It’s all about perspective isn’t? Will you rise to the occasion and embrace the challenge despite the current crisis, or will you view the challenge as defeat and accept failure. Do you use this time as a time to innovate and find a new dream? I know it is especially hard to think you will come out of this financially successful when you are merely trying to survive and stay alive. My message is simple: make the necessary adjustments, view challenges as opportunities, embrace change, get organized and stay focused – in the end it’s your decision and what you choose to do that will shape your life, tomorrow.        

Proper health and preparedness will get us through and keep us healthy during this pandemic crisis. My daily routine particularly if I must go out for essential needs is: I sanitize my hands when entering my car, I sanitize again before entering any building, wipe down surfaces such as carts, ATM machines, return to my car and sanitize my hands again before entering my car. If I bring purchases – I do not bring them in my home on the same day except for items that need to be refrigerated which get wiped and left in my garage fridge to be consumed in later days. I leave all other items in bins outside my veranda to be wiped off with disinfectant wipes outside (items will remain outside in bins for days before bringing them inside my home.) I then, enter my home, take my shoes off right outside, go straight to the sink and thoroughly wash my hands.  I also sanitize my hands. And then there is the change of clothes. What once was a 20 minute trip to the grocery store now takes me 2 hours (I timed it) no exaggeration. I wipe counters as many times throughout the day and wash and rewash my hands because I have simply lost track of when and if I missed washing my hands. Neurotic – a little perhaps? This is my new norm. I don’t see an end to this madness any time soon so I must accept it as my life now. Am I tired? Sure. Am I bored spending days at home at a time? Of course, but this boredom, this inconvenience pales in comparison when I think of the risks our frontline workers are faced with on a daily basis, my “inconvenience” in all this is quite small – but it definitely plays a big part as a whole in keeping those front line workers safe. My being responsible and choosing to stay home while boring and neurotic saves lives. And no, this will not be forever, but I must do my share now so that tomorrow won’t be too far.

When I think about all that is happening around us, the significant losses suffered, I also think about witnessing the coming together of so many people from all walks of life, risking their lives for strangers, the whole experience minus the losses, has been nothing short of inspiring and quite frankly something this planet has needed in a long time. To see, business leaders, innovators, front line workers team together, work around the clock to get us through the dark days is quite beautiful to watch and to know that I belong to such a world where we all care for one another regardless of race, colour, religion, economic status, to be able to place faith in the hands of strangers for the safety of all is beautiful – an experience that will forever be remembered.  Yes, many businesses have suffered but it is wonderful to see communities doing their best to continue to safely support them in some way as a thank you as they risk their lives to serve us to better weather the storm.  

My message today, was not meant to instill any more fear than what you must already be feeling right now. Many of us are feeling the early effects of what this pandemic has brought with it; losses, fear, isolation – grim all around. Aside from the significant losses suffered, what will this crisis leave in it’s path? What’s on the other side? I will share with you what my wish is in all this:

That on the day the earth stood still, we all learned;

That from a world full of narcissists and selfishness;

We now, have a world full of philanthropists; a world filled with empathy and compassion for one another;

That our leaders have learned to be more caring more compassionate; true visionaries offering inspiration in the worst of times;

In a world that was once filled with hate, there is now an overflow of love;

Where entertainers and athletes were once worshiped as heroes;

We now celebrate our front line workers particularly those in our health sector that have risked everything to keep us safe when me most needed them and helped us win the war– the true heroes;

In a world where most were so self-involved, we now recognize that we love to connect and reach out to simply say hi and;

Show our love for one another; recognizing that small gestures are everything;

That we allow the fear that is currently driving us, guide us and help us see and understand that;

It is the small things that matter, no amount of money will get you out of this;

That we realize we are in it together, that we must learn to rely on others for the safety of;

Our families, the young and old, for me and for you;

 It is this common fear that unites us;

Despite distancing, we learn to work together to keep each other safe;

That in all this, we learn to be more caring towards our planet rather than destroy it;

That the time spent together has perhaps taught us to become caring parents; thoughtful children; compassionate employers, and all around better human beings;

That once we shed the cloak of fear and;

We put on the new lens of hope, courage, love, kindness, empathy, compassion; we will have learned that;

We can accomplish a lot together – all while the world stood still.

What will you remember about the year 2020? For me, it was the year that the world came to a halt, all moments big and small came to a complete stop. When birthday parties could not be celebrated with friends and family; wedding anniversaries, weddings for that matter and those once-in-a-lifetime moments missed, cancelled, replaced with a great deal of uncertainty, a year special holidays were non-existent. It was the year that we all had to learn to live without the things we took for granted. The year we learned the value of family and love – never to be taken for granted. The year 2020, will forever be a connection you hold with people across miles with whom you currently share this vast planet with, a scar that although may slightly fade with time, will forever hold your memory captive. It is a year that has made its mark for sure, not through our hearts but for the many connections made, the losses suffered and the unity witnessed. A moment in history best described as extraordinary times, in which we saw people at their best.

As we adjust our lifestyles and brace ourselves for more uncomfortable days, weeks, months ahead, let’s think about moments in history when the suffering was a whole lot more than having to stay at home and share space with loved ones for an extended period of time (time spent reconnecting), a time spent watching TV on our comfy couches for long hours, a time being plugged in to social media for an unhealthy amount of time, and maybe  time spent sleeping in or staying up later than normal whatever that normal was. Through this journey, this inconvenience, we  learn to recognize that perhaps it was time necessary to mend relationships that needed mending this includes relationships with yourself, with God;  the universe – whatever you refer to as your higher-self, it was a time when the planet healed as we all stay indoors and mourned our losses.

Today, every time I walk out my front door to run a simple errand I know what I will be up against, the risk I take to ensure my family’s safety and welfare – so I am careful. I also think about the front line workers and the risks they take for all of us – so I am careful. For those of you having to run out for your quick short survival errand, I ask that you pack a lot of patience, empathy, compassion for those suffering losses daily, and for those risking their lives for us and our loved ones all over the world, so that we might have a little comfort while we stay at home, all the while these heroes help ease this universal crisis during these unprecedented and challenging times – be grateful. 

 The next time you are free to walk out your front door recognize and appreciate that, that very freedom, was provided to you by the coming together of folks around the world who cared enough to risk their lives for you; a freedom provided to you with a whole lot of kindness, compassion and empathy.  No, our current circumstance is not easy, but it’s not for always – be kind.

Today is Easter Monday, and for most, it is especially tough not being able to spend time with family especially for those of us who are not able to see our parents due to social distancing. It is out of love, that we make these painful sacrifices to not be able to physically spend time together, something we will forever remember as a painful moment in time that put things in perspective. For those of you fortunate enough to have your parents live with you, please hug them extra hard this Easter and every day on behalf of the rest of us who wish we could. Whether you celebrate Easter, Passover or whatever wonderful holiday you might be fortunate to celebrate, embrace it, hug your loved ones dear and express how grateful you are to have them in your life. Life is meant to be lived, it is meant to be experienced, more importantly it is meant to be loved – let’s not ever forget that again.

It is my wish that we all come out strong, safe and healthy. If you are currently in a place of darkness, I extend my hand to you and ask that you not stay there for long as nothing is to be gained from a place of worry or fear. If you are done living in fear, if you are done, with being a victim in all this, then shake off the grimness of the past and embrace the brightness of your tomorrow. Hey, look, we are all in this mess together. None of us escaped the harshness of this darkness – this has affected us all. So, let us extend a hand to our fellow friends, our fellow colleagues, family and yes to our neighbours. I would like to express my sincere and heartfelt thanks to the innovators from a vast variety of industries and all front line workers from our grocery stores owners and clerks, restaurants bringing our favorite meals to our front doors, farmers, bakers, delivery services, police officers, public transit workers and of course, to all our medical front line workers risking their lives every day who find themselves in the unique position as being the heart; the machine, that keeps the world in motion when the world had to stop. Your act of bravery and kindness will forever bind us together, thank you, thank you, thank you.

We are facing the greatest challenge yet and I know we will overcome it, we will do it together. That this experience while tragic, has served to restore our faith in each other, ourselves, the universe and God. With love, kindness and compassion, we learn we can conquer the world, supporting one another –together we win. Each and every one of us has a responsibility and a role to play in keeping our families, our loved ones and each other safe, we each have a responsibility in protecting our front line workers, so I ask a simple thing from all of you right now for your safety and for the safety of those around you, and that is that you stay home, we will survive this, we will succeed #AloneTogether.

My thoughts and prayers are with you and your families during these uncertain and difficult times, my hope is that you remain safe and healthy, remembering that love and togetherness conquers all .

Remember to offer love to everyone, be kind always including your loyal and faithful pets!

Until our next visit together, remember to stay kind and true to yourself.

To the powerful you,

Ana Spano

If you enjoyed this post, I’d be very grateful if you’d help it spread by emailing it to a friend, or sharing it on Twitter or LinkedIn. Thank you!

5 thoughts on “Experiences Shape Us: Fear stops us from growing and evolving -Together we conquer.

  1. thanks for sending ! its a refreshing read – ive been talking to a few clients about the fear issue – they are so anxious and fearful they cannot function –
    we have to respect this virus, be careful and be diligent but not be afraid – otherwise it will win .
    stay safe my friend !
    much love
    ________________________________

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A moving account. I particularly enjoyed what you hope will change in the world. The Deepak Chopra quote resonated with me as this is true on so many levels. This sickness has humbled us. I hope that when we return we will respect our environment and remember we are guests not masters. Love this site and will follow.

    Like

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