Opening The Heart

“It is precisely because we resist the darkness in ourselves that we miss the depths of the loveliness, beauty, brilliance, creativity, and joy that lie at our core.”
~Thomas Moore, Dark Nights of the Soul: A Guide to Finding Your Way Though Life’s Ordeals.

I thought I knew what love was all about and was fairly intuitive about its presence in my life.

Then, I was hit hard by the ravages of COVID-19 last month, and my heart was blown open in new ways.

It was in my struggle with despair—from long, lonely and scary nights gasping for breath—that I came to see the brightness of love shine through so many others who came out of everywhere to help me.

Care packages, homemade meals, prayers, and spiritual counsel CAME TO ME consistently for four to five weeks, validating further the power of love to heal.  Clients I once coached, who had been through COVID themselves, were now calling to support me.  My only job was to open my heart to receive.

Sounds simple, right?  No, it actually takes great humility and vulnerability to surrender to the care of so many others when you cannot physically find the strength to stand at a stove, or even sweep the kitchen floor.  The extreme fatigue of COVID for some is debilitating and wearying to the soul.

People need to understand healing through COVID entails much more than a physical challenge; it is a mental and spiritual one, too, particularly for those like me who have “long COVID.”  I was used to hiking seven miles on weekends and walking five miles a day.  For weeks, I could not walk up a flight of stairs without gasping for breath.  Some days I could barely walk six feet to the kitchen to force myself to eat something for strength, even though I had no appetite.

Many days it felt like a harsh, slow crawl out of a dark, lonely tunnel.  Yet, I knew a new person was emerging through this transformation.

THE FACES OF LOVE
As I proceed forward into the light, this is what I now see:

  • You cannot get through COVID alone, so depending on others and God has meant relinquishing the false sense of self-sufficiency.  I function better as part of a “we” and am so grateful I joined two communities—WBON (Women Business Owners Network) of the Triangle and Triangle Community Church—a few months before I got sick.  Members of those communities carried me through the darkest of times and held me in light and love.  Talk about divine intervention:  The church pastor, Doug Humphrey, called me out of the blue on a day when I hit my lowest of lows, and he led me through a profound, hour-long spiritual teaching that changed my entire concept of what it meant to be loved by God and others. One message in particular stood out, which I shared in my annual Christmas letter to my granddaughter: Life is full of ebb and flow, and our challenge is to learn to find peace and contentment in whatever cycle or season of life we currently face. Feeling gratitude for the simplest things helps a lot. With COVID, that meant celebrating the first time I slept through the night in weeks without awaking with painful coughing.
  • My primary love language has changed.  If you read the popular book, The Five Languages of Love by Dr. Gary Chapman, you will see he lists five ways we best receive love: words of affirmation, quality time, giving gifts, acts of service and physical touch.  Each of us has a predominant way that makes us feel loved, he claims.  Being a writer, my primary language of love used to be “words of affirmation.” Since COVID, it has become “acts of service.” I simply couldn’t physically do what so many have done for me.
  • When others have served, on my behalf, no matter how low or exhausted I was feeling, I saw them in their highest version of themselves, shining great light.

Examples:

1) My friends Dr. Brett Hightower and his wife Mary showed up at my door with a bag full of groceries and flowers.  When I opened the door to catch a sneak peek, at a safe distance apart, what I saw is a beautiful couple who looked like two teenagers in love as their faces lit up with joy at helping out.

2) Jodi Hill Free, president of my WBON networking group, and her husband Jim, also expressed the same joy when they made daily deliveries of home-cooked meals and health supplies.  Jim unexpectedly spent an additional Sunday afternoon  jump starting my car, then testing the battery, after it died from not being used for three weeks.  There were no complaints—just kindness and care.

3) Denise Souza, a friend and local health care professional, brought me all the COVID protocol supplements, a nasal sinus rinse and a nebulizer, along with instructions on how to use them all—which she patiently demonstrated for me on FaceTime standing outside my door as I sloppily practiced over the bathroom sink and kitchen table.

Many others came through but I did not get to see their kind faces as they dropped things off at my door or had things delivered. Yet, in texts and calls, I felt surrounded by a blanket of love.

The big surprise was hearing from those who helped me say that THEY felt grateful for the opportunity to serve.  Those thoughts taught me much about the goodness in world (and I’m staying off all the negativity of mainstream media to keep finding it).

All these lessons of love remind me about what Albert Einstein is said to have remarked—that the single most important decision any of us will ever make is whether or not to believe that the universe is friendly.

MOVING FORWARD IN LOVE
Healing through COVID is an act of self-love, where you must put all the energy on yourself to bring your body back to its full capacity of radiance and strength.  Letting go of judgment and criticism and focusing on love and compassion is key.

I used the time in solitude to pray, meditate, play beautiful healing music, sleep a lot, immerse in online healing programs to let go of past hurts and blocks, and dream new dreams.  No virus was going to totally limit me, although I did adhere to its message to rest far more than I initially planned.

As an act of self-care, I also became more discerning about what and to whom I gave my time to, refusing to get involved in any political discussions around this vicious virus.  Friends who were not vaccinated as well as though who were double vaccinated with booster shots got it.  Interrogating someone with questions about whom, where, what, when and what type of strain is not helpful.  It’s exhausting to keep answering those questions.  What a person impacted by the virus needs is tender loving care and compassion, and often physical help and support.  Would you ask someone newly diagnosed with cancer how he or she got that scary disease?

Bernie Siegel, M.D., author of Love, Medicine and Miracles, taught us much about the healing  power of love.

My focus now is continuing to keep my heart open to all the good graces of love that abound—and to be grateful for all the surprising ways people touch our lives. I hope I can give back more of what I learned to receive.

Thank you all for being part of my journey, and now my physical healing, as I step forward with a deeper understanding of moving through a dark night of the soul to living with an expanded heart.

I have so many inspiring podcast guests and new programs planned for 2022, including my popular vision board workshop, based on using neuroscience to create new dreams.   Email gailjones@claimyourworthiness.com to learn more or to reserve your spot.  Date is tentatively set for Thursday, Jan. 13, 2022, 6 to 7:30 p.m. EST via Zoom.  A separate class time will be created for my UK clients if there is enough interest.

Happy holidays…. wishing you all a new year of embracing unlimited possibilities.

With love and gratitude,

Gail

My friend and photographer, Beth Scanzani, captured this image of a “heartful” cup of latte that reminds her of the deep feelings of love and beauty that she experienced in Paris, years back. The simple photo reminds me of the sweetness of life when we live—and RECEIVE—from the heart.

 

Tags

Share this post

  • Lisa May says:

    Thank you for so beautifully sharing, Gail! I’m so glad your body is healing and that the gifts emerging from the journey are plentiful. We are all in this together! Deep & sincere unity through service is part of the equation back to wholeness & oneness. Have a blessed holiday season, brightly shining that gorgeous heart of yours!

    • Gail Kauranen Jones (“Coach Gail Jones”—Your worthiness expert) says:

      Lisa: Thank YOU for your profound words of wisdom of moving to wholeness and oneness through service. I was so blessed to be the recipient of others’ kind and generous service…changed me forever. Happy holidays to you and yours. With love and gratitude, Gail

  • Doug Campbell says:

    Gail-
    Such a powerful and personal recounting of your experience with Covid! So glad you are healing! Yes, love is always the answer! So glad you had such a loving experience to help you through the darkest days and nights! As the old saying goes, “The gift is in the giving!”
    Doug

    • Gail Kauranen Jones (“Coach Gail Jones”—Your worthiness expert) says:

      Thanks, Doug: It was amazing to see the pure joy people showed in helping me out…and I am beyond grateful for all who checked in on me, you included, even though I couldn’t see your face:( Wishing you and yours a lovely holiday season. Blessings, Gail

  • >