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From Covid to Carl – How a Fish Taught Me Emotional Resilience

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At the height of the pandemic about a year ago, I found myself emotionally crumbling. My anxiety and fear-state were so intense, that I was unable to function. It was a full-on case of burnout. I decided to live with my children for support, but I stopped home every day to spend time in my house and care for my cat and my collection of fish.

During one of my visits, I happened to notice a tiny speck darting around my fish tank. At first, I wondered what could have possibly gotten into my tank, and then I realized that the speck looked just like my big Molly fish named Gritty. Yes, Gritty was a girl and she had babies!

Luckily, I had a small fry tank and after a few frustrating moments of trying to net a very fast speck, the little fish was safe. I did some research and found out that Molly fish can have between 10-60 babies! If the fry are not separated, she (and the other fish) will eat them. It was then I realized that this tiny little speck was the only fish that survived. He was a miracle at a time when miracles were few and far between.

I was so inspired by this amazing event, that I decided to name “him” Covid and he became my metaphor. Covid lived in isolation for 5 months until he was big enough to be in general population with the other fish. On the day I released Covid from his isolation tank, I changed his name to Carl, which means freedom.

Coincidently, this was the same amount of time I needed to recover from the burnout that was causing so much of my anxiety and fear, so I felt like I had gained some freedom too!

Carl just had his first birthday! He survived the past year, just like you and me. And that is something to celebrate.

Emotional Energy Scale

Watching Carl got me thinking about the Map of Consciousness® that David R. Hawkins, M.D., Ph.D. illustrates in his book Power vs. Force. I think of this map as a scale to help you figure out how your emotions affect your energy (you can find the map here). When you are energetically vibrating at the top of the scale, you have feelings of enlightenment, peace, joy and love.

On the other hand, when you are vibrating at the bottom of the scale, you experience feelings of shame, guilt, fear and anger. The goal is to keep your energy vibrating towards the top of the scale so you can tap into universal energy and the potential and power that lives inside of you. This gives you the energetic momentum to manifest anything you desire.

As I watched Carl swim around in his little isolation tank last spring, I wondered if he was feeling lonely and scared. Was he mad at his Momma because she wanted to eat him? Was he sad that his siblings were gone? When I released him into general population, I wondered if he was afraid that the other fish were going to be mean to him.  Was he worried that he had missed out on lots of fun because he had been isolated for so long?

Be a fish

My Spidey-senses tell me that Carl just really exists high on the energy scale, living in emotional freedom and loving the fact that he is safe, his needs are being met and that he is big enough to hold his own. It seems silly that a fish would worry about those other kinds of things.

You, on the other hand, do it all the time!

You are swimming along having a great day, vibrating high on the energetic scale and living in the flow. Then something in your external world happens and triggers the negative feelings that live inside you, and before you know it you find yourself falling to the bottom of the scale. This is just part of the experience of being human. You cannot stop it—no one can.

You probably feel judgment from yourself and others for the experiences that manifest in your daily life. Judgement is one of the main culprits that causes people to fall to the bottom of the scale and then stay there for prolonged periods.

We are also good at “hijacking” our emotions, “faking it” till we make it. But pretending to be on the high end of the emotional energy scale isn’t the same as actually being there. You can’t go around this by focusing on the positive.

However, you can choose how far you fall on the energetic scale and how long you stay down there. This is known as your “bounceback-ability” factor. How fast will you be able to bounce back up to the top of the scale?

Just Keep Swimming

It’s been a year since Carl was born, and he is happily swimming around getting bigger every day. As we all look to get “back to normal,” I can’t help but wonder what that really means. Can you really go back? Do you even want to?

Rather than going back, I encourage you to look forward and continue to grow, carrying your new wisdom and your new choices forward. I know I am!

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