In March of 2020, life in Antigua, Guatemala (my new hometown) changed dramatically, as it did across the world. We went into a lockdown the likes of which no one had ever seen. Doors around the city were shut and shuttered. Virtually nothing was open — no restaurants, hotels, shops, gyms, parks, pools, churches, or markets. The rules of the lockdown meant that we had to be in our homes by 4pm every day. And no one could leave their home on the weekends at all, from Friday at 4pm until Monday at 6am. To break the curfew would risk jail time.
The expat adventure that my husband Daniel and I had embarked upon a mere three months prior had taken a sharp turn. We shook our heads in disbelief. Not only had our lives changed but the lives of everyone around the world had changed as well. There was global illness, death, fear, and uncertainty raining upon us like a mist.
At first, for me, there was fear. Then grief. Then restlessness. Then curiosity. Where could the silver lining be for me, for the collective us, for the world? I wondered. While I am a staunch proponent of acknowledging our grief, leaning into pain, and honoring our feelings, I am also confident that silver linings abound everywhere. We simply have to train our mind to search for the silver. The practice of searching for silver means to find and focus on the light out of darkness, the hope out of despair, and the positivity out of doom.
1–Daniel and I got to spend a lot of undivided time together. After more than a decade of raising children together and having lived life at a breakneck pace, we finally had time together with time to spare. And we were nourished by love.
2–I was inspired to write another book, since that is what happens to writers with extra time on their hands. Six months later, I have a manuscript called “Spiritual Grief: From Suffering to Higher Healing”, which is ready to publish (and should be available in 2021). I hope it will be helpful to many grievers around the world.
3–With a local friend, we initiated a fundraiser called the “Help Your Neighbor” drive and have been able to raise over $20,000 to assist impoverished families in Guatemala who were devastated by the economic toll of the pandemic in Antigua.
For the world:
As we live into and through these historic events, time will tell what silver linings will emerge. I pray that our collective pause will help us focus on what is truly important: love over greed, contentment over growth, time with loved ones over nonstop busy-ness. And I hope that collectively we will birth an era of higher consciousness and respect for our sacred connections. We really are all united as a global community.
Look and see — where do you see the silver in your life right now?