Hello Everyone, Welcome to the podcast “Close to the Bone.” I’m Carl Vreeland.

At last, I’m back. Months in the making, I’m finally settling into my newly renovated home. I’ve really missed having a home and an office/studio space. But such is life, things crop up, and we must roll with the changes, and at times we must prioritize in order to get things accomplished. That said, thank you for continuing to listen to the podcast and reading whatever transcriptions and writings I’ve been able to post on my blog page and elsewhere. Well, onwards and upwards.

This is episode #38, it’s called, “The Gifts of COVID-19.”

As with every challenge in life, there are lessons. Unless of course we choose to not look for them. It is easier to walk through life, just blaming others for all the inconveniences and adversities we encounter. But I believe most of us want to take the former approach. But to be clear, I’m not saying that the Universe or God necessarily creates challenges for the purpose of teaching us something, no, I’m saying that we can usually find a lesson somewhere. Meaning, we can always take difficult opportunities and turn them into learning experiences. It’s sort of the opposite of adopting the victim mentality; you know; it’s his fault, men are brutes, she’s to blame, women are manipulative, Jesus hates me, God is punishing me, it’s my destiny to suffer, it’s my karma, it’s because I am a sinner as to why bad things happen to me, the government is out to get us, etcetera. You get the gist. How can we possibly learn anything and grow from this standpoint? Yes, things happen due to neglect, mistakes, abuse, and the actions of hateful, selfish people. Yes, shit happens all the time, but when we personalize everything, when everything becomes a personal affront, that’s when we become the victim, and remain one. And of course, we turn angry, resentful, cynical, and bitter.

So, all that said, what have we learned from this pandemic? Well, as I see it, the pandemic has showed us in spades that nothing is stable in life. Everything is fleeting, there is no solid ground, nothing is secure, everything changes, and we are powerless over nature. The virus has made it clear, and it should have shattered the walls of denial. And if it hasn’t, then I imagine your walls of denial are thick and fatally impenetrable. Either that, or you were awake already. But supposing you weren’t awake yet? Well. . .

I’m reminded of a D.H. Lawrence quote: “Search for nothing any more, nothing except truth. Be very still, and try and get at the truth. And the first question to ask yourself is: How great a liar am I?” Powerful words. In my view, the only way to the truth is to get honest with ourselves. Yes, as humans, in the Cosmic sense, it’s hard to admit that we are powerless. But as we’ve seen during the pandemic; change, loss, illness, and death are a part of life, and there was little or nothing we could about it. And there was little or nothing we could do about how people treated to handle it and the lockdowns and mandates; mask, no mask, vaccine, no vaccine, believe the science, or not, trust the government or not. We were powerless. Yet, many of us, drove ourselves mad over wanting things as we believed, and still believe they should be treated and handled. We can’t change people, that should’ve been lesson number one.

COVID-19, and the craziness we’ve seen in the world due to it, is a clear indication of ignorance, and a sure sign of the unawareness among many. Our display has been a folly of immense proportion, a farce no doubt. We are a silly species. But is there hope for us? Who knows. But, if we are to survive, we can’t give up hope. We must forge ahead, and hopefully learn the lessons, grow, progress, work together, stop being angry, stop fighting, stop trying to be right, stop playing the victim, let go of the past, be civil, be respectful, be understanding and forgiving of one another, let go of the grudges, and stop the madness. Can’t you see the insanity? It’s everywhere. And it’s up to us to say, “The buck stops here, I’m done playing this game. No more tit for tat. No more having to have things my way. No more anger. No more resentments.” Yes, we can rise above the noise and insanity. But it takes a willingness, great effort, humility, humbleness, and a surrendering to something bigger than us. As long as we remain self-righteous, arrogant, guarded, and angry, well. . . then there is little hope for us.

On the other hand, if we are unable to change, then the least we can do is step away from the madness, that in itself is a step toward the betterment of the world. It’s not an act of giving up, it’s a knowing of our limitations. One could say; if you can’t be part of the solution, at least don’t be part of the problem. And that’s OK. Stepping away is a sign of strength in this context, doing the right thing. And perhaps by stepping away from the chaos, in time, we’ll see things differently. “Don’t just sit there, do something” doesn’t apply here. Do as the Buddhist’s suggest in cases such as these. “Don’t just do something, sit there.”

So, the question remains, what have we learned from the pandemic and the lockdowns? We are hearing many stories out there for sure. What’s your story? What gifts has COVID-19 given you? A birth of a baby? Maybe you’ve realized that you were spending to many hours working, and too little time with your family, or that you hate your job. And that sweating the small stuff is a waste of time, that life is short, that life is fragile, that you should cherish and nurture your friendships. Maybe you’ve come to see that helping others brings you peace and joy. And that, one can change the world for the better by getting angry less and forgiving more. And do you see now that we are no match for nature. That we are powerless over many things, like people, change, loss, and death?

No doubt, it’s been a tough ride. Many of us have lost jobs, businesses, and most of all, loved ones. And there was nothing we could about it. Powerless again. So, do we give up? Do we fall apart? Do we live in fear? Well, not if we want to live and love again. As I see it, living in fear prevents us from moving on, from being whole again, from well-being. Acceptance is what will makes us whole again. Accepting what is, and trusting the Universe, God, a Higher Power, Nature, the Cosmos, will free us from the bondage of fear. Yes, a freedom from fear, liberates us. All the same, it’s not that we won’t ever experience fear, it’s that we’ll no longer be afraid of fear.

Certainly, we need to grieve, mourn, and reflect. And surely we need each other. Let us be a comfort to each other, to someone. This gesture alone will help us in our time of sorrow. Indeed, we help ourselves by helping others. This was a lesson I learned in the last two years, no doubt a gift bestowed upon me.

Well, that’s all I have. As always, thank you for listening. And if you found this episode helpful, please share it with others. And of course, if you’re enjoying the podcast, and the podcast transcripts on my blog, please subscribe to my free newsletter on my website. Just go to and go to the support page. You can also leave a Star-Rating or Review on Apple Podcasts as well. It’s a simple and effective way to support the podcast. Thanks again and be well.

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