Sunday, April 5, 2020

On the other side of fear...

NOTE: Thank you for taking the time to read this. I write this out of no personal interest. I don't care about clicks, views, social media followers. I write this as a humble servant of love. I write this as a fellow human being, whose life has been so profoundly transformed by love that I've dedicated my life to be love's servant. And I know that even if 99.9999% of the people who bother to read this get absolutely nothing from it, it's still worth it for that 0.0001%.

I've neglected this blog for over 2 years now. A lot has happened in my life since then. Almost all positive. Quite frankly, miraculous. In January of this year I was lead back to this place and noticed that my last post had been 2 years. I felt like I was due to create a new post, provide an update. In the 2 years since my last entry I've seen lifelong dreams manifest. Incredibly grateful.

Then came the pandemic.

I've always been somewhat of a global news junky. I don't watch American cable news. If I watch American news it's my local news channels to find out things going on in my area. And even that I rarely do. Mostly just for the weather. Quite frankly, my life has been so much more peaceful since tuning out those voices. But I have been paying attention to the news from China since December. I was well aware of the novel coronavirus COVID-19. I started making preparations for my home for a prolonged shutdown of life here in the US since February, gradually stocking up on non-perishable food items, etc.

As the virus reached and began spreading literally in my backyard (not a day goes by where I don't hear ambulance sirens now; I live less than 2 miles from a hospital), I felt that the time had come for this new blog post. But yet, I didn't post it. I knew the time was near, but just wasn't quite ready yet.

Now the time has come. Now I feel I have the full message that I'm meant to put in this spot. Now is my time to shine. Now is the time for love to shine.

I'm not going to sugarcoat things. This pandemic is devastating in so many ways, and it hasn't even gotten close to peaking yet. Many who may go by completely untouched by the virus will suffer from hunger and desperation. I composed this on April 5. I don't see a slow down in the United States any earlier than June. This is an unprecedented global crisis with no easy solutions.This are going to get worse before they start to get better. I'm fully prepared for this reality.

Even over a week before they closed schools here in Florida I was stressed about what was coming. I found myself breaking out crying at random times. The stress, the panic, the fear - it's all tangible. This is a once in a lifetime event. And it's our time to shine.

Like just about every single person out there, I've gone through the gamut of negative feelings and emotions. Two weeks ago a profound, perspective shattering spiritual experience I had in 2006 was brought to my memory. I won't go into full details about that experience because it's not all relevant. But here's the gist.

In 2006 I went through an experience that I can only liken to a near death experience, only I was fully alive and still went about my daily life. I only compare it to a near death experience because the things I felt, saw, heard, they're all brought back to life when I listen to people explain their near death experiences. I tasted beyond the veil.

I got to that place after reading a news story that deeply disturbed me. It was based around the panic of that time - global terrorism. I spent a whole night face down on the floor weeping. I recognized how insignificant I was, in spite of my arrogance and thinking I had everything figured out. I realized that I know absolutely nothing. I was in the presence of the Almighty, and it completely overwhelmed me.

After going through that night of weeping, death to ego, the veil was lifted. I spent a good 3 or 5 days fully aware of heaven. I learned more over that time period than I had in my entire life to that point. Every question I asked, I received an immediate answer. I literally saw the grand tapestry of life before my very eyes as I sat at the red light on Prospect Road at Powerline Road in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, while on my way to work. A divine manuscript greater than anything all of the greatest storytellers in history could craft if they all worked together.

From that point I stopped believing in coincidences. Every single person we encounter in life is placed there for a reason. It could be our families or the cashier at the grocery store. It was from seeing and experiencing this that I committed to leaving a residue of love and light as many places as possible. And I fall oh, so short of this grand goal. Oh, do I ever. But even the times I fall short I fully believe are working to help me learn and grow and get closer to my potential.

I was so humbled during this experience, so in awe of the Spirit I felt that I dare not even speak my own name. I remember visiting a church while this was going on. Afterwards a man greeted me and introduced himself. He asked me my name. I had to write it down. He probably thought I was a nutjob. And I probably was. But that was just the place where I had to be at that time.

Everything I experienced in 2006 was so real that I felt frustrated with words. Words simply could not capture how real what I felt was. Is. I eventually came to grips with the fact that words are a very powerful medium. It's how we share experiences with each other. Oh, and where words fail, love fills the void.

Through this experience I gained a much broader perspective. I gained an eternal perspective. I gained an understanding of how short our time on this earth is, and ultimately love is all that remains.

But anyway, I never understood why I went through that. I mean, I know it was all just a part of my personal growth. But I felt like, "Why me? Who am I? What have I done to be granted the privilege of experiencing such a thing here on earth?" When this was brought to my memory about two weeks ago, I feel like I have somewhat of an answer. It was for here and now. It was for such times as these, that no one could have imagine we would have to live through.

Fast forward to last weekend.

The stress had been slowly building in me. I drank way more than I'm proud to admit. I was depressed. I would break out crying at random. All of those fears, I feel them, too. I won't speak them here, but I know. I'm not immune to the panic.

Last Friday night/Saturday morning I was awoken at 2:30 AM to two quick dry coughs. Next thing I know, my whole body is trembling. "Here we go," I said. Before I knew it, I was shivering uncontrollably. I felt a slight burning in my chest. I texted my family that I'm self-isolating in my room for 2 weeks. Then I asked my wife to make me some tea.

The tea is the key.

A number of years back I had kidney stones. I twice had to have the stones crushed and a stent inserted. Not a pleasant experience. It was during that time that I discovered Yogi kava stress relief tea. And me being me, I started reading into kava kava. To those unfamiliar, it's a root indigenous to the South Pacific that traditionally was be used to make a drink for ceremonial purposes. It relaxes you. There are now kava bars all over. The drink itself tastes like dirt and it can have an analgesic effect. But the Yogi brand tea also has other spices and is more palatable.

So, a number of months back, after not having had it in a few years now, I bought a box of that kava tea. I also bought a bunch of other teas, all of which have sat there unopened for months. So there I am, coming down with COVID-19, freaking out, I ask my wife to make me some tea without specifying what kind. She goes downstairs, opens that box of kava tea, makes me a cup and brings it to me. I drink it, and within minutes the shivering and trembling began to subside. I didn't quite fall back to sleep easily, but I was calmer and also able to recognize that I didn't have a fever.

It wasn't until later that day that I was able to identify that I was experiencing a panic attack. I was only able to identify it by the way my body responded to that tea. That tea that I likely never would have even had in my house had I not gone through the scourge of kidney stones years earlier. That tea that sat in my house, unopened, that my wife simply grabbed and made for me.

That was the first step in regaining my perspective. Now, the anxiety didn't just magically disappear. If only it were that easy. I've felt like a halo around my head, stress overload. I've since identified that the light burn in my chest is not my lungs, but my heart. Then still find myself trembling, to the point where I can barely walk down my stairs. Shoot, I had to go make some kava tea even while typing this. But right there, in that little thing, in that moment of reflecting on what I've gone through this far, I was reminded of the divine hand at work in all. God is in the details. We just need to pay attention, otherwise we overlook it.

In order for me to manage this stress and anxiety, I've simply had to cut back on news consumption. The news feeds the fear. I still check from time to time, just to see where things stand. But I had to ask myself, am I consuming the news or is the news consuming me?

Look, I'm not going to be one of those "It's no worse than the regular seasonal flu" guys. Even if COVID-19 does, in fact, end up killing less people than the regular flu does this year, there are very real, understandable reasons to fear it. For starters, we feel more confident in our ability to recover from the flu. We know how to treat it in most cases. This new virus is exactly that -- new. There is no vaccine, and we don't know how to fully treat it yet. Plus there's the fact of how contagious it is, and those who do end up dying from it often die in a hospital, alone. No family by their side to see them off. It's a frightening thought. It's like a death lottery that none of us want to win.

I will, however, say this: There is reason for hope. Death rates for this virus are going to be inaccurate no matter what. I've been following the news in Italy and Spain over the past month. I'm well aware of the number of dead vs. number of confirmed positive cases. But the true death rate is number of dead vs. number of infected. And from what little we do know of this frightening new virus, we know that many people never show any symptoms of infection. Many only have minor symptoms. Those people are infected but will likely never be tested, meaning all of these people don't show up in the statistics of "Confirmed Positive" cases. We can't yet know what the true infection rate is, but it undoubtedly is much higher than the official number. Which means the death rate is also much lower.

Doctors and scientists have been putting their minds together racing for a treatment, cure, vaccine. Australia has started giving healthcare workers the TB vaccine after finding that people who've had the TB vaccine may have a stronger immunity against COVID-19. Researchers at Monash Univeristy in Australia have also found that a common anti-parasitic drug kills COVID-19 within 48 hours in a lab setting. They still need to test it in humans and find the right dose, but there is hope. Link

We are still in for a long, bumpy ride. This is going to be painful. Just the stress is putting us all through collective trauma. Many will mourn before this is over. And in the US we're looking at a matter of weeks before we start to see a gradual downtick, and months before we can even think about life getting back to how it was before. The hardest days are still ahead of us. This is a virus that moves slowly within each body but spreads quickly. We cannot take it lightly. At this point we're simply buying time until the virus can either pass through each person infected (in one way or another) or until a real, effective treatment can be clinically tested and made available for mass distribution.

But I wasn't ready to compose this last week because this blog is about my adventures in light and love. The opposite of love isn't hate, it's fear. I cannot allow this spot to be a place to feed fear. Perfect love casts away fear. This spot is dedicated to spreading love. I had to go through days of fear and panic to be able to get to this place. And I still have to struggle with it every waking minute of everyday. I wish I could just sleep for 3 months and have someone wake me when the worst is over.

Yet here I sit, on the other side of fear.

On the other side of fear I'm reminded of that time when I pretty much died and tasted heaven. Perfect love. Perfect love is all I experienced. It was all around me. The entire universe is a love song to us. Everything in creation. Love is the life force behind it all.

I still have no idea what the world, or even my personal world, will look like in 6 months. I may lose loved ones. I may even go myself. But on the other side of fear, I have hope. I see new opportunities opening up that I may have been less inclined to pursue prior to this. New doors being opened. Gold is purified by fire, steel is forged by it. I can allow myself to be crippled by fear, or I can focus on love and hope.

Deep down inside, in spite of the pain and anguish we're currently going through and have yet to even suffer, I trust what I was shown during that experience in 2006. My life is in good hands. I have a good, loving God who can and will use all things to work for good for those that love Him and are called according to His purpose. Well, shit....that's me.

We're going to make it through this. Just hold on. There is hope, right there on the other side of fear. I cannot promise it will be easy. I cannot promise you'll make it through untouched. I very well may not make it through untouched. But deep down, I know that there's a bigger plan still. This is not the end of the world. It may be the end of the world as we knew it. Things may never be the same. But the universe's default setting is life. Life always seems to find a way.

We will make it through this. We will make it through, to the other side of fear. Amor conquista todo. Love conquers all.

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