Finding the Silver Lining
By Bonnie McLean
What causes a silver lining? The clouds are blocking the sun but the sun shines through anyway. Creates one of the most beautiful spectacles in nature…..usually thick dark clouds that are heavy with rain.
This past year has certainly provided us with a lot of storm clouds. We had the pandemic. Then Hurricane Sally and the bridge closure. I know I certainly had my share! This is my year anniversary of a 6 week bout with Covid. I was in the hospital for two of those weeks, including a few days in intensive care. I had damage from Hurricane Sally- my fence, my roof, and my car. The week after I got my car back from the repairs, it was totaled on the Garcon Point detour. This has been a very expensive year!
But there have been blessings too, lots of them! I will start with my Covid experience. This was the most miserable I have felt in my life. Most of it is a blur. All I wanted to do was sleep. There was a point when I felt I could be leaving this earth. But here were some things that brought me back. The doctors were wonderful. They gave me all the treatments available even though they were considered experimental at the time. One of my caregivers saw me sleeping all the time. I hope he is here. He looked me straight in the eyes and said, “This virus wants to kill you. And the way it does that is it makes you want to just lie there. If you want to live, you are going to have to make yourself move, make yourself breathe. You can’t wait for someone else to remind you to do these things. You have to make yourself breathe deeply and make yourself move. That was one of the hardest things I have ever done. But I listened and really made an effort.
There was a period of time that I went into this peaceful place where it felt ok if I did leave my body. I was not afraid. In fact, with the political climate at the time and the frightening state of the world, I have to admit leaving felt like a relief. But even though I was in isolation and hardly saw anybody, I didn’t feel alone, I felt people’s prayers. They were like warm waves of love. I said, “ No, I am not leaving my peeps.” I learned later that there were indeed a lot of people praying for me. One person even called a nunnery and asked them to put me on their prayer list. I have always believed in prayer, but now I KNOW!
What came out of this experience was a deep sense of gratitude:
Things I had taken for granted like being able to get up in the morning and go about my day, being able to oxygenate my body with my breath. Seeing the sunshine. Having the energy to go about my day. Being able to go to work.
My friends, family, and community. Healthcare workers, front line responders, law enforcement
Those unseen helpers who are there waiting to be invited to assist us if we only ask.
I’m even beginning to feel grateful that I had Covid. I just read an article published in The Atlantic by Katerine Wu. “Whenever the body encounters a pathogen like the coronavirus, it’s reminded of the threat. That coaxes cells into reinvigorating their defenses and sharpening their coronavirus-detecting skills,’ which prolongs the duration of protection. A post-inoculation infection can serve, more or less, as a ‘booster for the vaccine,’ Laura Su, an immunologist at the University of Pennsylvania, told Wu. Nicole Baumgarth, an immunologist at the University of California, Davis, added that continuously training immune cells can be a really good thing.”
My experience with Covid also got me to focus on my own health and why I got Covid and why it was so severe. I learned that my history of a genetic mutation I have, my blood type ( A), my history of Epstein Barr, and aspects of my lifestyle, such as having a sweet tooth, played parts in having this illness. Learning this and what I can to about these things has been a wake-up call and has probably given me better health and a longer life.
As far as my car accident, my Toyota Yaris was not only totaled, it totaled the Jeep Cherokee that I hit. The blessing was that no one was injured. This was a mother and 4 small children that I hit! More confirmation about angels! They had to have been there! I replaced my 5 speed Yaris with a newer one that is automatic! I’m coming up in the world!:).
And even the broken bridge has turned out to be a blessing. The detour motivated me to find a place to see patients in Pensacola. I am now seeing patients at Empathic Practice and loving it! This is a holistic practice with a lot of diversity. I love working with the young people. And I’m 7 blocks from my home!
These are the kinds of silver linings that are the most brilliant when the clouds are the darkest.
Going through these hardships in general as also brought me back to my own spiritual roots. Alberto Villoldo, one of my shamanic teachers, has talked for some time about the ancient prophecies from South America. The indigenous people of South America have been talking about the New Pachacuti for some time. They say we are moving from an age of darkness into an age of Light. Unlike our culture which likes our comfort and strives to stay in our comfort zones, many other cultures, including the indigenous people of South America, accept the death and birth necessary for transformation. They see our old ways dying as necessary for new ways to be birthed. But they tell us that, as the old dies, we have to consciously participate in the birthing of a new world of Light and Love. We do this by learning to be more comfortable with change, by visualizing how we would like our future to be, and by acting as if we are already living in a loving, healthy, happy, and peaceful world.
Maya Angelou said, “ Nothing can dim the light that shines from within.”