When I was 7 or 8 years old (maybe 5 or 6) my parents got me a toy medical kit. It was a small red suitcase which consisted of syringes, stethoscope, thermometer, tablets, and other things you would usually assume a doctor would carry. It also contained a prescription card – nice colorful piece of cardboard in which the doctor was supposed to note down information about the patient. Since there was only one card, I didn`t want to use it, instead, I copied all the information to several other papers and used them instead. Somehow, this medical kit survived for decades- even surviving all the house moves and life events. Three decades later, my 8-year-old nephew found it and completely fell in love with it. He was overjoyed when I told him that he could keep it and I told him that it was almost 30 years old. (I think he understood the value of it and is taking care of it very well). While he was playing with it, I noticed the card that I preserved all those years ago, still shining like a new card, never used – never used for 30 years! I wondered how many more things am I going to ‘save’ and not use until someone else takes over or worse – gets thrown away. I looked at my own collection of clothes, all in a box ever since I left my day job – not getting used – perhaps never will be worn again. What exactly is the use of it all? Should I even buy any more clothes? All for what? How should I use the time and resources that I have? Should I simply ‘save’ and store all my skills and not give it a shot at writing or starting that business that I always dreamt about? Often we get lost in the daily drama of others and replay the same painful scenarios over and over without moving forward. How much time are we actually wasting? In another 30 years, I would wonder what I did with my skills or my time. Would I even live that long? Why do we end up wasting days and even months obsessing over useless drama?
I have always wondered what it would be like to have a diamond ring. It sounded like something rich people would have. When I was buying jewelry for my wedding, I spotted this shiny little ring, it caught my eye and turned out to be a diamond ring. It sounded relatively cheap to me so decided to buy it (later I discovered that I got the prices mixed up with all the other jewelry that was getting exchanged and bought, it was too late by then..sigh). Anyway, almost a decade later, I realized that I have worn it less than 10 times! Less than 10 times! Seriously! What`s the point of having these if you don`t even use it…. right?
These are strange times, no one`s arguing about that. For me personally, this has been the year that I learned the toughest lessons. I experienced ‘growth’ in many areas of my life. I began to reevaluate what I really need, how I spend my time, who I spend my time with, and most importantly the quality of the thoughts in my head. All the ‘experts’ advise us to pick the people that you spend time with and be mindful of what you feed your mind, but when you are stuck at work and just trying to survive endless tasks from work and family life, you often forget to make priorities (not to mention being obligated to go to office Christmas parties to talk about office politics and other small talks I hate…ugh). Many people realized how much you can actually save from not going to work –especially for those useless meetings. Of course work from home only applies to a privileged few, and is not a practical option to many. Still, there are options if you really look. The bosses who were hell-bent on not giving anyone flexible work hours actually found that the level of productivity was much better and less costly- again these are few exceptions that actually worked. The point is, things have to change. We saw how food and access to medical care was a basic need that everyone should have access to, but did not. We saw that online education was practical (again, there are issues to be addressed) but many did not even have access to the internet. At the same time, I personally found many new teachers (subject-specific as well as spiritual) because they started zoom meetings and uploading videos due to Covid -19. I am no expert to write about all the societal changes that should take place in the future, but personally, I made quite a few decisions that I would not have made if it wasn`t for Covid-19. I decided to actually use my skills (among other things) and to be of service (volunteer work for an online spiritual community), I decided not to buy any more clothes (I was inspired by earthfashionist as well), I decided to make a donation to some charity every month, I decided to spend less time with people who ‘give off a negative vibe’ (if you know what I mean) and most importantly, I decided to spend a lot of time learning and practicing spiritual principles.
I will leave you with something I learned from BK Shivani (spiritual teacher) which goes something like this – keep your balance sheet clean, you don’t carry your title, job, or materialistic things (when you die), and you certainly don’t want to carry regret, resentment, and anger (when you die) – let go of it all, practice detachment and experience inner peace.