Within Our Covid-19 Cocoons

Our life together is being reimagined within our Covid-19 cocoons.

I know I am feeling possibilities I did not 60 days ago; I wonder if you too have been nudged toward something new in the space of being removed from “busyness” as usual.

New rhythms for daily life have been born for many of us while sheltering in place. Perhaps the slower, more deliberate — even drawn out — pace of moving through each day has delighted you in ways that surprise you. Perhaps your heart has been awakened in the spaciousness of an empty calendar that first annoyed you, but now holds a mysterious alluring aliveness.

And now — or sometime in the not-so-distant future — we will emerge from the intensity of this experience, changed by it forever.

One of my spiritual teachers, Richard Rohr, offers a framework for the spiritual journey that includes three distinct phases: order, disorder and reorder. This feels like a useful frame in which to view our collective experience of navigating a pandemic.

Having shared an unprecedented experience of disorder across our human race at the same time, we now face the experience of reorder together.

I am encouraged by the potential this holds for collective healing of hurting human hearts, systems and our challenged Mother Earth.

It is a time of hope to be seized and embodied with all we are capable of giving it.

Hope moves us into new patterns. It is the human engine of dynamic becoming.

I reflect today on dynamic becoming by considering how this pattern of order, disorder, and reorder was guided and held compassionately by God in my own life over the last decade. The end of this month marks 10 years since I was called out of my 30-year career and moved on to a path not of my own making.

Well, of course, I didn’t see it as a path not of my own making at the time.

I had a plan. A good one. I would leave less desirable conditions for more desirable conditions, on my terms.

By the grace of God, my plan did not bear the fruit I intended and instead opened up into a season of spiritual seeking that led me first to painting in 2011 and then to the Living School for Action and Contemplation in 2012.

There I was introduced to the Christian Mystics who companioned me on this unfolding mysterious path through art and poetry and sacred writing.

As I consider my own holy emergence from quarantine, I recall each of the sacred teachers who helped steady me through my early tentative and timid steps on this path of dynamic becoming. These wise voices, along with the history of their human lives on this earth, continue to guide me and sustain me in what James Finley refers to as “stabilized clarity” in the midst of the unforeseeable future that is our changeless reality.

If I stay sincere in my vulnerable attentiveness to God — if I stay receptively open to the indication of God’s will, based on the feedback I get from my situation — then, in the sincerity, God is and God will continue to lead and to guide me.

James Finley

Here is a short slideshow “Lord, That I May See: Awakening Hearts Emerging in 2020” honoring the Christian Mystics who have been my guides through times of uncertainty. I created the heart icons that are the visual thread of this piece by weaving together strips from watercolor paintings I’ve done over the last 10 years.

These icons are symbolic of our interrupted lives, now rewoven together in new possibilities for healing in this time of great hope and Love.

Wherever this finds you in your own awareness of dynamic becoming, may you find the courage and companionship needed to stay faithful to your own awakening heart.

Mary, Mother of God. Pray for us.

Author: Julie Ann Stevens

My art flows from the patterns & paths of my lived experience which ⏤ like yours ⏤ are at once deeply personal and entirely universal.

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