Shame about happiness (in times of Corona)

19 maart 2020 Suzanne 2020 0

I’m in quarantine, like a lot of people. Some because they’re showing “mild symptoms” and they need to take it easy. Others because they came into contact with someone. Me because I came into the country. Yeah, I’m quarantined here in Naxos. But being ‘locked-up’ with my sea view doesn’t really feel like a punishment.

But how did I get here?

I was working hard in Belgium when everything started to get out of hand. Suddenly it’s raining cancellations: training sessions are cancelled (to be honest, at first I was reacting: ‘Now, don’t exaggerate!’ – maybe I wasn’t the only one!), performances are postponed. On Friday I still teach in EA (School for Integrative Psychotherapy), on Saturday we’re not allowed to teach anymore… Right away we install an online platform and I teach in front of the camera while 18 students are projected on screen in front of me…
In the back of my mind there’s a concern: will I still be able to go home? I was supposed to leave for Naxos beginning of April and stay there quite a while. But will the still let me out and in?

Sunday: I meet my godchild for a photo shoot for his communion. We stay at a safe distance. No kisses (the children don’t mind ;-)). His dad, assumes Belgium will close down completely on Wednesday or Thursday… I get overloaded with information, statistics, … “It’s serious, Suzanne!”.
I have to act now!
A good friend, kicks my ass:
– “Why would you stay?”
– “I have clients on Wednesday. I can’t just cancel them!”
– “Yeah, but if you wait till after Wednesday, to take care of them, you may not be able to leave. And possibly by then they will cancel themselves and it turns out there was no need for you to stay…”
So after another phone call with my sister (because I wouldn’t be able to take care of our mother either) it’s decided in my head: I’m leaving as soon as I can. This is on Tuesday.
Sunday evening I re-book my flights. (Thank you Aegean Airlines for giving the opportunity to reschedule without extra costs).

Monday: I email my clients, tidy my house, bring stuff to the container park, take my car to Aarschot and say goodbye to my mom. Until late in the evening I am packing. What to take? I’m leaving for two and a half months. At least. And normally I have two groups before I come back. Do I have everything? …

Tuesday: A friend takes me to the airport. Tense. Yesterday Greece announced that everyone entering the country must be quarantined for 14 days. How’s that going to be? Can I fly to Naxos? I’ve booked a ridiculously expensive hotel for one night and a flight the next day. Maybe I will have to stay in that hotel for 14 days? I can’t afford that! What if…
The reaction of people around me are diverse. One totally understands, supports, thinks along or wants to send Reiki. The other points out the dangers. What if I get sick there? Health care is much better in Belgium. There is not even Intensive Care on the island!
I also feel different voices inside me. One full of confidence: ‘If something like this is going on, a human being just wants to go home and for you it’s Naxos!’. The other a bit scared: is this the right decision?

At the check-in desk I find a very dear hostess. She spontaneously gives me a ‘priority label’, so my suitcases will come first. Suddenly that opens possibilities. I enter a ‘creative thinking mode’. I call my taxi driver in Athens and tell him to wait for me, that I might not use his services, but that I will pay him anyway. I e-mail the hotel to check whether, given the circumstances, I can get an extension of the cancellation period. Normally I have to cancel before noon, otherwise I will lose my money. I ask if I can wait until 4pm.
Plan B (taking the boat) becomes plan A. Plan A (a flight tomorrow) becomes plan B – because today we are sure of today, not tomorrow.

During the flight nothing is reported. On arrival we have to fill in a form before we can get off. I’m rather quick to fill it out (and ‘coincidentally’ got a seat in row 6!) so I am among the first on the bus that takes us to the gate. With 20 people on it, it leaves already. I expect to have a fever check or an interview, but I can just keep going. When I arrive at the luggage belt, my suitcase already slides by. George is waiting for me. He checks while driving if everything’s okay with the ferry. I call the hotel to cancel my room. I get on the boat without any problems. Re-book my flight to just any date. I can cancel later.
I message several people that I succeeded, I find a seat far away from everyone (there are not that many people on the boat) and get installed for the next hours. We sail along Syros so it is almost one hour in the night when I get home. Tired but happy.



Wednesday: it is wonderful to wake up with a sea view. Blue sky. The wind blowing. You’d almost forget what’s going on in the world.



So yes, I’m lucky.
I hear stories which are very different.
Of people who don’t get home.
People who have to be quarantined because so many colleagues are infected.
People working overtime.
People who wanted to go to another country because their daughter is giving birth but they can’t leave.
People who work in care and are not allowed to stay at home.
People who feel lonely.
People who are completely in fear.
People who feel abandoned.
People who no longer get the care they normally need.
People who have to manage and take decisions with great impact, both humanly and economically.
People who are watching over their son, who is in bed with a fever. Is it the virus? There’s no more testing, so all you can do is wait and hope it doesn’t get worse.
People who had prepared their goodbyes with care and now can’t even get a proper funeral.
People who are suffering.
People dying.

And I’m sitting here. On my island. I’m so lucky.

So lucky I’m ashamed. Or even feel guilty. As if I could have done more if I’d stayed in Belgium. As if I’d run away from my responsibilities. I only took myself in consideration.
But then there’s that other voice: “That’s not true. You’ve thought about the impact on other people. Only you chose for yourself.
And let that be the message I want to declare. That people choose for themselves. And that means something different for everyone. (If I were a doctor or a nurse, I would make very different choices now).
And from that genuine choice for yourself, you can connect. Really connect.
And real connection is possible in different ways.
I think of sharing stories, pictures, some light energy. I’m going to meditate and send compassion. That’s not action in the front line, but I hope it can contribute to a psychological and energetic support.

Even in these times, can I just share my happiness?!

Thursday 19.03.20

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