Hope we don’t lose touch, but just in case you want to connect “in real life” I’d love to connect with you via LinkedIn. If you send me a request and indicate you have been a reader, then hopefully we can connect there.
I transport myself to a quiet place in nature, not necessarily truly quiet, but a place that calms my mind. Listening to the sound of flowing water, my nervous system feels immediately soothed.
I have often had a “noisy” mind, a busy mind, an exuberant and thoughtful (also thought-full) mind. I have been rewarded for this in many ways. And this over-active mind is also a source of suffering all too often.
Learning to calm myself through yoga, running or dance and through journaling, has helped to slow the racing thoughts. I sometimes forget these practices, like anyone, when my mind becomes triggered by a painful thought. At those times, I feel myself bracing and going into “defense” mode, constricting and pushing back.
When I can take a breath or two and recognize that I’m not actually under attack by anything physical, and I’m responding to a painful thought or belief, I can allow my emotional response without reacting.
I keep training myself to do this, and re-training myself. It’s a lifelong journey, it seems. And maybe that’s what it means to be human, this acknowledgement of unhealed wounds that need tending and self-compassion. We may realize intellectually that they are no longer threats, and yet they still activate a primal place within our nervous system.
When they trigger fear or sadness or another painful emotion, there is a cascade of “stories” that usually follows (for me). And then that feedback loop can lead to even more painful thoughts. I bring myself back again to my physical sensations, my senses both internal and external, and re-ground myself.
The noisy mind is still there. And now I access a place where the “watcher” can lovingly and compassionately see the pattern, and offer comfort. Nothing has gone wrong. This is what minds do, generate thoughts like bubbles in a stream. They are not necessarily true, particularly the painful ones.
Stepping back, I access that bubbling stream knowing all is well. A bit of distance, a bit of perspective, and the noisy mind calms itself.
It did not have to happen this way. But a lack of competent leadership will do that. The U.S. has about a quarter of the worldwide COVID-19 cases. This puts “we’re number one” in a new light, no?
Don’t do it for yourself. Masks are not worn to protect you. Masks are worn to protect your community from small micro droplets that are released when you talk, cough or sneeze.
They don’t protect people completely, but they do slow the spread. And the main reason we want to slow the spread is so that hospitals are able to deal with the influx of cases. Also, maybe some of us care about human life and dignity.
My sister is a nurse. I don’t want her to have to deal with the results (y)our carelessness. Rural hospitals do not have the supplies that leaders claimed they would have. They must reuse the supplies they have. This is not a good situation.
Humans have difficulty with exponents. We think in linear ways, so these “hockey stick” curves work are not easily grasped. We saw this with the last big recession in 2008-2009. One minute it seemed things were fine: everyone was making money on flipping houses. And the next minute: financial disaster. Some saw the signs and warned us. But most people partied until they got laid off.
I get it. Or I try to be patient anyway.
Things don’t become serious until they are, well, SERIOUS.
With nearly 14 million cases as of this writing, and almost 600,000 deaths so far attributed to this virus, one might think we could get a clue.
I know this is a rant.
I try to be more measured than this most days. My anger and disgust at the self-centered behavior I keep seeing, particularly in national leadership, is usually something I control. I’m a yoga teacher, for cripes sake. I meditate daily.
My rage at incompetent leaders. Cannot. Be. Contained.Some days.
Wear your mask, wash your hands, keep your distances when possible.
Your community thanks you for thinking beyond yourself.
This is shameless self-promotion but it’s fun to share a piece of good news as most of our input channels seem to be focused on the virus situation. I got my first “real” yoga teaching gig close to home, starting when we start being able to meet with people face to face again. Or maybe I will try some online delivery via Zoom! I’m sharing the announcement that got posted on Thursday by the owner of Healing Within Acupuncture & Wellness Studio.
Sometimes good things happen when we get prepared and then stay attentive to possibilities as they arise. I’m so very grateful, especially at a time when my “main gig” is will be in transition in the next few months.
Ah, life! You never know what is around the next corner! Visualize something good that might come during any challenge. Perhaps it’s just as likely as the doomsday scenarios. 😉
Cheers & stay well,
P.S. I am offering free 1:1 calls for people who want some extra support during this “corona-palooza” event. No obligation. Just a chance to speak your thoughts and emotions and to receive empathy and encouragement. Schedule a 20-25 minute call with this link.
Managing our emotions during a pandemic can feel like a difficult prospect sometimes. This is when it becomes important to recognize that the behavior of the “herd” has an effect on our thoughts and emotions. We can offer ourselves compassion, because this is what our minds are designed to do, to detect threat, pay attention to social signaling, and to respond accordingly.
So if you are hard on yourself because you are experiencing anxiety, try talking with yourself in the way you might comfort a good friend: “It’s okay. Things seem hard right now. You are doing the best you can.”
It is also important to stay centered and grounded in your body and in the present moment. Too often news coverage, designed to grab and hold your attention, starts spinning doomsday scenarios. It becomes like a train wreck, hard to look away, though you know it is a disaster to keep watching.
Acknowledging difficult emotions and letting them rise and fall within you is very important. If you try to deny them, or push them away, you just intensify those feelings. So give them proper space, and allow the thoughts to come and go. Write them down if this makes it easier to get some distance.
Then breathe, close your eyes, come back to the sensations in your body and realize that, at this moment, you can let go of these temporary thoughts and emotions. They do not have to drive you toward hoarding behavior or destructive habits like over-eating or over-drinking. By allowing yourself to be fully human, and to realize that thoughts and emotions will arise. and we can still find ways to be calm, we will get through this.
Sending all of you love and virtual hugs.
P.S. If you feel the need to get some coaching or support on emotions that may be troubling you, please to set up a free call with me. There is no obligation to purchase anything or sign up for a long-term commitment. I just want to offer what I can and be of service as we get through this crisis together. Be well.
Oh, the beautiful and joyful experience of being on vacation and devouring a new book by a favorite author!
I typically read books I love more than once. This one made me close my eyes at times, and just breathe in the wisdom and the impact of the words. Glennon has a way of speaking to my soul. One of my many favorite passages:
“The blueprints of heaven are etched in the deep desires of women. What women want is good. What women want is beautiful. And what women want is dangerous, but not to women. Not to the common good. What women want is a threat to the injustice of the status quo.”
Like Love Warrior, Untamed is a book I will read many times because of the ways it made me laugh and brought tears to my eyes.