Hello and welcome to this glorious Friday, March 13, 2020! This is a rare and precious day that will never come again.
Ok, so I sat down earlier today and started writing about Fake News – there is too much misinformation out there to know who to trust. But this distorted media business was only a segue to my focused topic – how we tend to believe everything we think, whether it’s an accurate reflection of reality or not. Our very own mind feeds us a live stream of Fake News.
Though I was enjoying writing about this, I took a break.
I was informed this morning that the schools are shutting down, churches are suspending services, businesses are temporally closing, and people are being advised to stay away from groups. I have also been seeing stories about emptying shelves of dry goods and non-perishables. I felt like the prudent thing to do would be to get a few extra supplies, just in case.
The Monmouth WinCo was packed – barely a parking space. Inside, I saw no-one rushing around, “panicking,” but there was a palpable feeling of disbelief, and fear. Those that I talked to were quite friendly and many people offered a smile, yet in their eyes was a look of disillusionment. I suppose I saw that because that’s kind of how I felt. Are we being bamboozled? Is this really happening? Something is happening!?!?
I’ve read many quotes from people who are a lot smarter and more grounded in reality than I am, who are each suggesting that the panic from COVID-19 is creating more problems than the virus itself. True or not true, I don’t know. This is big, or at least our response to it seems big. Here again, I don’t know.
As I was pulling away from WinCo, droves of cars were lined up in the turn lane to make their way into the store. As I was driving home, I thought to myself how grateful I am to have a mindfulness practice.
How does a mindfulness practice help us in these situations?
Mindfulness helps me to take an accurate assessment of the current situation. In this moment, where my feet are, everything is fine. I have no idea what will happen tomorrow or in a few weeks from meow. But in this moment, I am fine. I received the news that my source of income from bus driving is provisionally suspended and all my mindfulness groups that generate income are postponed. Yet, in this moment, I am fine. In our household, we have plenty food and other goods that will last for quite some time. Worrying won’t help!
A mindfulness practice also helps to remind me that everything is temporary. Our normal way of going about our day has changed. A few months ago, what is happening was largely unthinkable. What is happening now, will change. We may move forward toward a life similar to what we had before COVID-19, but…maybe not. We can, nevertheless, be present for it.
Mindfulness helps us to see that we are not alone. As I walked through the store, it was very clear to me that all this craziness is not just happening to little ol’ me. It’s not personal. In some degree or another, this will likely affect every human being alive. We are inextricably inseparable from one another. Each one of us is experiencing difficult emotions and uncertainty. So many people are afraid! As we are seeing, the panic response is adding to an already difficult situation. We don’t have to add to the fear. Through a mindfulness practice, we learn to relax when things get challenging.
Remaining calm and relaxed also has tremendous health benefits that directly apply to this situation. Our immune system functions more efficiently when relaxed.
My mindfulness practice has also helped me to change my perspective on what is happening. I’ve been looking for and wanting more time to read, write, do yoga and meditate. Many of us, well, many of the folks I talk to say quite frequently that they need a break from all the business of life. Be careful what you wish for eh! This is happening! It’s out of our control! So, rather than arguing with reality, wishing things were different, I can ask myself, “how can I be of benefit to myself and others in this current situation?”
I get it, many of us are stressed, scared, angry, and we don’t know what’s going to happen. It’s hard, it really is! The fact is, we never know what’s going to happen. We certainly never saw this coming.
People are going to respond to COVID-19 and the CDC recommendations using the tools they have available. This is an opportunity for us to rise to the occasion, to compassionately help to ease the suffering of others, accept the situation, find peace within ourselves and simply do our best.
Though it may seem like it at times, Mindfulness is not about creating a fluffy bunny, kitten and rainbow life free of difficulties – that world does not exist. Mindfulness helps us to deal with pleasurable and challenging situations such as the one we face meow, with focus, wisdom, clarity and compassion. COVID-19, and its repercussions, are why we practice.
I love you and there isn’t anything you can do about it! Please Stay Healthy!
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