Rowena and Jeevan


Rowena Roberts in conversation with
Jeevan Noel

Jeevan is Rowena’s cousin on her mother’s side, and the youngest of their generation at the age of 27. He lives in Bellingham, Washington DC, USA, and started working as a nursing assistant in a hospice just as Covid-19 appeared on the scene.

Note 1: March-May

I’m doing okay… pretty good, actually. I go running every day with a friend – keeping socially distant – and, since the gyms closed, I swim in the ocean. That’s something that I’m going to keep afterwards, ocean swimming. It’s so cold! But beautiful.

I was well prepared for this. Not that I saw it coming; in fact (laughs), one of my tutors was talking about this new virus that was spreading in China, and I was getting impatient in class, wondering why on earth she was wasting our time talking about something on the other side of the world! But… all the years of struggle with mental health have given me coping strategies. Running, swimming, meditation. My spiritual journey.

Now? My commitment to working in health care is even stronger. I’m glad to be doing this work. I hope this will help me get into grad school. I want to serve.

Note 2: May-July

Eckhart Tolle tells us that we can use uncertainty as a way to go deeper within. I think that’s the lesson that we need to learn to help us through this time – through life, really.

Two months ago, I would never have guessed that I could do this much physically and not fall apart. I’m training, without a coach, at world-class triathlon level: 73 miles of running, 380 miles of biking each week, and swimming, which I can’t measure in a lake or the ocean. And all the time I’m wondering: is this for nothing? Will I ever be able to compete? They’ve cancelled all the races this year.

It makes me anxious that this is out of my control. But the training itself is super-helpful for my anxiety. I need to detach from the outcome. It’s hard to, though.

I know that this world is not supposed to make me happy. Happiness, or maybe wholeness, stability, is within me. We grasp for everything out there, but… when I train, I, Jeevan Noel, can’t physically go this far; I go inwards for my strength, to my source.

This time brings us inwards. I think it’s where we need to go.

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