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This Week's Support

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Weekly MIndfulness Support - Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

“Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes, Turn and Face the Strange…” David Bowie Hello and welcome to this glorious Friday, April 3, 2020! This is a rare and precious day that is consistently changing. I can’t help it, every time I think about change, Bowie’s song finds its way into my head. While I have no intention of dissecting the meaning of his song, I do want to investigate ch-ch-ch-change, and how we cope. We are in a time of significant change! In writing this, I am in no way intending to sugarcoat COVID-19. There are millions of people suffering. The struggles and hardships are evident. People, both young and old, are dying. People, healthy people, with no underlying health conditions, are dying. Some are seeing their life’s work disintegrate with no certainty as to whether any stimulus package will help them. For the first time, many unsuspecting people are fearing if there will be enough food and other supplies in the stores. For some, people who thrive on physical proximity and social groups, the isolation may in fact be more damaging to their well-being than the virus. There are still others – store clerks, doctors, nurses – who put themselves at risk in trying to help us maintain our health and a semblance of “normal” life. This shit is real! One thing is for sure, COVID-19 is happening and there is no way around it. The more we resist this truth, the more we will suffer. I believe the first step towards any [unwanted] change, is acceptance. For many, sometimes myself included, this idea can leave a nasty taste in the mouth. Regardless, acceptance is the key. Suffering increases when we argue with reality. As Byron Katie says, “When you argue with reality, you lose, but only 100% of the time!” Accepting the situation does not mean that you must like it or even approve of it. Acceptance simply means that you understand that whatever is happening in this moment, is in fact reality. In mindfulness, we call this “wise acceptance.” The third step in Alcoholics Anonymous suggests, “We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God, as we understood Him.” I’m not making any normative claims here, but I choose to interpret God’s will as, Reality. That which is happening right here and meow – Reality – is God’s will. Therefore, if I hope to live in peace and in alignment with God’s will, then I better accept it, exactly as it is. There is no need for me to figure out who is to blame, I don’t need to entertain conspiracy theories, I don’t need to look for and create meaning, I just need to accept it! It is from this place of acceptance where I am most helpful; I can be proactive and do what needs to be done to stay healthy and help others. I totally get it; change can be hard. Even small changes. But change itself isn’t hard, it’s our resistance to change that’s hard. The more we struggle and try to hold on to the life we had, the more we suffer. The sooner we can let go and accept the impermanent nature of existence, the sooner we can reinvent ourselves. In thinking about Bowie’s song, “Changes,” it’s interesting to note that many interpret it to be a statement about [artistic] reinvention – moving away from the crowd and (re)defining yourself. This is something that David Bowie mastered! I have been taught, and it is my experience, that I can’t be of maximum benefit until I accept the situation, exactly as it is. Again, not sugarcoating COVID-19, we have an incredible opportunity to dig in and redefine our lives and look for and identify what is truly important to us, individually and as a culture. Being physically removed from the crowd, we can stop being the chameleon and discover ourselves! I think of this as an uninvited yet an ideal situation to reflect on what I have, what I’ve been removed from, how I’ve lived my day to day “normal” life, how I can further simplify my life, how I’m dealing with these conditions (what are my attachments and aversions) and develop a vision for what kind of person I want to be when we emerge from these days of physical distancing. COVID-19 is not an obstacle to get around, it is the path on which we must walk. The sooner we can each accept and walk the COVID-19 path; wash your hands, don’t touch your face, wear a mask, and STAY HOME, the more lives we can save and the sooner we can emerge into hopefully a more meaningful life – whatever that means to you. This new and more meaningful life begins in this moment. This moment too. And in this this moment, I am doing my best to turn my life over to reality, grow and to be helpful – even if it’s by Staying Home! I love you and there isn’t anything you can do about it. Accepting of the Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes, Dan Contribute to the Turning Leaf Foundation. If you would like to help bring Mindfulness to the less fortunate and to help pay for current services, your generosity will be deeply appreciated.

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