COVID-19: A personal note from Mo
The other night my 2 1/2-year-old daughter woke up screaming and trembling in fear. "What's wrong, honey?" I asked. Her response, "Sa..sa..soomeone in my bed." I tried to comfort her, "No one is in your bed, it's just your imagination." I rubbed her back for a while, watched her eyes close, and then quietly snuck out of the room. A few minutes later I heard, "Daddy. Daddy! Daddy!!!" with more fear and panic.
After five more times of the same cycle - crying, comforting, sneaking out of the room, crying again, it was clear she was not going to sleep in her bed alone. Mommy had a severe headache, so I took her to our guest bedroom, laid out some pillows along the edge of the bed, and we got in the bed - she pressed up against me tightly and together we slept without any more interruption throughout the night. The next morning, my wife and I were talking about the experience. It was the first time our daughter had night terrors. Reflecting on it, I was struck by how her deeply her belief was her reality... nothing I could say or do at that moment could change that. She just needed to be held close, know that she was not alone, and feel my warmth.
Like many of you, I've been watching the coronavirus closely. At times, I find myself cringing in fear and dread. A good bit of what we do at Mindful Leader is in-person events, I have family in Iran, aging parents, I live in an international hub, and just the other day a case was reported here - it is so easy to get caught up in catastrophizing. And then I look at something like this. This dashboard from John Hopkins showing the global cases by the center for systems science and engineering looks straight up out of a zombie apocalypse movie. Every time I look at it I feel a deep sadness and fear, I think of the incredible suffering across the world, and how much this will impact the poor and vulnerable globally.
On one hand, folks like Elon Musk are saying the panic is dumb. On the other hand, folks like Ray Dalio are saying this is a black swan once in 100 years event. It's unclear still what impact this virus will have. I find myself thinking its somewhere in-between. But what is crystal clear is that with most of us are already in a state of anxiety and stress from work, the environment, politics, injustice, the pressures of having kids, and aging parents... this is not going to help.
The fear is real and what people believe will become their reality. Just like my daughter we want to be held, supported, and feel like we're not alone. Meanwhile, what's being prescribed is the opposite... social distancing, to isolate ourselves, quarantine, and stay home.
I'm hopeful that maybe this pandemic will help us realize how interconnected we all are; how the health and wellness of human beings everywhere impacts all of us and that we are all in this together. In this moment of crisis, with the challenges to come, this work is more important than ever.
Sending you a virtual elbow bump.
President of Mindful Leader
President of Mindful Leader