I wasn’t planning on writing anything about the coronavirus. The truth is, I am finding it hard to focus on anything in this present moment.
The uncertainty has me unsettled.
The present is constantly overshadowed by thoughts of the future. What if my friends or family get the virus? What if our city goes into full lockdown mode? How is the world going to recover?
Feeling overwhelmed, I turned to my journal and reflected on past moments of uncertainty.
I started making a list of things to remember, things that could ground me, bring perspective and return me to the present.
I wanted to send these to you in an email in case there is something in here that resonates with you — but also because I’d love to hear how you are coping.
Here are a few items from the list:
Meditation. Impermanence, or anicca as it is called in the Buddhist tradition, is the idea that things are constantly changing. And that we can observe that change without becoming consumed by it. A core concept behind Vipassana meditation and mindfulness is to experience the feeling of anicca in your own body by becoming aware of your bodily sensations without reacting to them with desire or aversion. Practicing this during meditation helps prepare us so that when we are met with unexpected sensations or experiences in our everyday lives, we are better prepared to experience them with a healthy level of perspective and equanimity. I have been returning to meditation regularly these past few weeks to help recenter me.
Practice gratitude. This may sound counter-intuitive when it seems like there’s more to be scared, angry or anxious about. But I come back to these words from Brother David Steindl-Rast: “I didn't say we can be grateful for everything. I said we can be grateful in every given moment…” It is not that we need to be grateful for the virus or the school closings or the delayed travel plans. But every single moment has something that we can give thanks for, if we open ourselves up to it. Our breath — which reminds us that we have the opportunity to be here and be present — is a perfect example.
Journaling. Just writing things down does wonders to help me sort through and get to the bottom of how I am actually feeling. This email is a perfect example. It started with a rant answering the seemingly simple question I am prompted with every time I open my journaling app: “Hey Dave, how are you feeling today?” Getting these thoughts out of my head and onto the page is a way of acknowledging the thoughts that are racing around my head. And as I acknowledge the thoughts, I notice that they begin to quiet.
Support each other. In difficult times, it’s easy to think we are alone, especially with the currently prescribed “social distancing”. Reach out to those you care about — but instead of just trading fears and anxieties, try bringing a positive element to the conversation. Let your loved ones know you are thinking about them and tell them something you appreciate about them. Spreading the love is a great way to feel the love. Support others and you will feel supported.
I’d love to hear, how do you stay grounded in times of uncertainty?
Begin your day feeling grounded and inspired.
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