The longer we are isolated the more we want to be together. But we do not gather because we love the people we are isolating ourselves from. That is why we are isolating. So the coronavirus is showing us new ways to express our love, creative ways, ingenious ways, joyful ways that expand the bounds of cocreativity and redefine togetherness away from the five-sensory understanding as physical proximity to the multisensory experience that is far beyond that.
The coronavirus is showing us how shallow were so many of our relationships that we thought were deep. Before the coronavirus reshaped our lives, we exchanged countless hugs, blew countless air kisses, and smiled countless smiles without inner warmth. Now, in our isolation, we are beginning to see that togetherness is more than these things. When I was addicted to sex I thought it was the ultimate experience of togetherness until I realized that the women I was attracted to and who were attracted to me did not care about me any more than I cared about them, and I did not care about them. They were all replaceable to me, and I was replaceable to all of them.
Said more accurately, I was not able to distinguish love from fear, and so I thought that need was love and finding and having was love fulfilled. Now we are each, in our own way, beginning to see that many of the experiences we thought were love fulfilled were actually need fulfilled. When need is satisfied, it returns, often soon. We did not recognize this important clue that what we felt was more than it appeared to be. It was an insatiable need to fill an emptiness, to mask a deep pain that would not leave and would not lessen. That is the pain of powerlessness.
The pain of powerlessness is the pain not being chosen for the team. It is wanting to belong and not belonging, wanting to be loved and not feeling lovable, wanting to love and not feeling able to love, not wanting others to see you the way you see yourself or they would not want to be with you. It is feeling intrinsically defective, inherently flawed. All of us have the pain of powerlessness. When we do not recognize it as an internal dynamic, we experience it as caused by the world, and the remedy for it is to change the world. When consciousness of this dynamic is entirely lacking, the result is an irresistible hunger that will not cease. It is the hunger for meaning, for admiration, for understanding, for love disguised as hunger for food, shopping, alcohol, sex, and success, among many others.
These things come into focus in isolation. We long for others, not for what others can do for us or to us. We long for the closeness that is absent when we are absent from our lives. We see the value of others, and it is beyond all that we could have imagined. We see Italians singing to one another from balconies; Swiss villagers projecting flags of other countries onto a mountain, thanking all of us that we are with them in the world; we see New Yorkers filling the concrete canyons of their city with cheers for nurses, doctors, ambulance drivers, hospital janitors, technicians, and all who have the courage to risk their lives for others; we see brave, bold, and beautiful individuals around the world of every culture and color risking their health and lives for the benefit of others, and we love them all. We see their beauty and strength, and we long to as courageous and compassionate.
We can be. We will be. When is for us to decide. They have made their decisions. Now we can make ours. The coronavirus is showing us all of this.
This is the miracle of the coronavirus.