We cannot deny that this ever-evolving pandemic has changed the course of our lives. I know I find myself constantly in a state of flux and shifting how I respond or react the the various ebb and flows of my day to day.
Most days, I feel stuck, confused, or uncertain of what's next--so much that I can barely figure out what to do each day, much less, muster up the strength and clarity to take action. It's all just so busy, complex... and too much! Sound familiar? Know that you are NOT ALONE. We are all in this together, and the only way we can get through this, is one moment, one day at a time, and by supporting each other.
While I am still processing my own journey through it all and still finding the right words to articulate it--the one thing I do know for sure, is that we cannot get through this alone. And, the more we can resource our community, the better off we all are.
All that to say, while each day is so different, there are two things in particular that have been so helpful in navigating this crisis so I wanted to share.
#1- Slow it down and pause when you can. One of my favorite meditation teachers, Tara Brach, talks about how the sacred pause is the best tool to unlock our freedom or awakening and, ultimately, our pathway for healing. She sees pausing "as the gateway to Radical Acceptance. In the midst of a pause, we are giving room and attention to the life that is always streaming through us, the life that is habitually overlooked."
Often times when you are in a state of 'fight, flight or freeze' or panic, you're so full that you don't even know you are in a state of mental hijack, much less, able to entertain the question, "what do I need right now in this moment?" When we pause, we invite in stillness. And in those moments--albeit foreign, awkward, uncomfortable, or scary--we open up the space for what's there, or what needs to be attended to.
To be clear, being still and remembering to pause is freaking HARD! It takes practice, and at first, it may not feel like it's doing much. But over time, you'll be surprised what a breath, or pause (if even for a second) can do to help you create a shift.
Pauses are powerful and deep breathing and meditation is a good place to start. Below you will find some new short 2-5 meditations that I posted to help you get started. Remember, you don't need much time, every little breath counts and helps create that moment of release.
#2 - Give yourself some grace. As a recovering perfectionist and my #1 critic, I am constantly doubting and/or beating myself up for all the things I do, and or don't do. Early on as all the COVID19 fray was happening and the ripple effect of shelter-in place orders took hold, I came across this article in the Washingtonian on 7 Mindfulness Tips during COVID19. Tip #4, suggested picking a mantra and reciting it each day, which has been invaluable. My mantra has been "do what you can, give yourself some grace."
For once in my life, I have told myself that it is OK. It's ok to not know right now and it's ok to feel whatever it is that I'm feeling. And it's been so FREEING. Reciting this mantra daily (and throughout the day) helps me when I feel like can't press on or just don't want to, and especially when I start to revert to my negative habits of beating myself up or playing my never-ending blame/shame or comparative suffering games with myself. Extending grace and self-compassion is so important, especially now. So 'do what you can, give yourself some grace' and pick a mantra that works for you.
Lastly, you'll notice I also created a new COPING WITH COVID Resource page on my site. This includes some new service offerings to support communities and our people in a time of need as well as some free resources. Check it out!
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Who am I and do why write this blog? Each time I ask myself that question, I find that I have so much more to learn and discover. "Who am I" is an ongoing process, and just when we think we've figured it out, life has its way of throwing us a ton of curve balls-but that's why its called a journey.
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