Practicing Mindfulness in a World of Fear—Coronavirus
“…when fishermen can’t go to sea, they repair nets…and as always, consider the uses of adversity…” –The Book of Runes
Yes. We are in a pickle. We are experiencing a whole new funk thang.
The arrival of this form of coronavirus has thrown us into unchartered territory and is changing life as we know it quite rapidly. While no, this isn’t the first pandemic to sweep the globe, it is the first in recent modern history to sweep across at will. And no, this isn’t the first time folk are panicking and hording items in the store, totally clearing the shelves without a care that others want and need those same items (it’s every man/woman for themselves!). What is happening now is something that we all must get on the same page about, and that is, we are truly all in this together—this affects us ALL, regardless of pay grade, class, color, position in Life, whether we contract the virus or not, our way of life is changing for who knows how long. Coronavirus is The Great Equalizer.
Oh sure, we can panic. Of course we can, it is our right. We don’t know what’s coming—not one of us escapes being affected as schools, bars, cafes, gyms, theaters, events, gatherings, sporting events, etc. are being cancelled with curfews put in place. In the Tri-state area, restaurants are limited to take-out only and in NJ there’s a curfew in place from 8PM-5AM for all non-essential persons. Companies have their employees working from home. But since schools are also closed, parents have to juggle their own work with their child or children being home along with helping them with school work. Small businesses are hurting, heck they’re hemorrhaging and many will go bankrupt. Freelancers, independent contractors, service-based businesses and artists have had their entire season of bookings cancelled, who is going to help them? Even if emergency aid is passed in this country, a whole bunch of us will be left out of it and the red tape? UGH. If you ask me, there should be a moratorium on paying mortgages and rent.
If you don’t contract the virus you may know someone who does. Humans have truly become the enemy. I coughed on the train a couple weeks ago as the outbreak had just hit the U.S. and even though I covered my mouth like my mommy taught me, the head of the woman sitting next spun around like in the film The Exorcist, I could feel her eyeballs poppin’ out as she glared at the side of my face, how DARE I cough! then she made a HUGE production of rummaging through her bag for her hand sanitizer, and with much fanfare, vigorously slathered her hands then wiped the excess on her coat sleeves.
Our normal lingo is now “be careful,” that’s what we’re telling each other now.
OK. Yes. The ish! Is real. BUT.
I want to remind everyone that Fear will take you out. It’ll take you down. It magnifies any situation, just piling fear on top of fear on top of fear.
We must. Stop. Panicking. We must. It serves us no good. It fixes nothing, it stops nothing, coronavirus is here, Life has changed. But Fear shows us no solutions. And it makes ya buy up all the doggone toilet paper and hand sanitizer!
Fear elicits the fight or flight response and pumps the hormone adrenaline into our blood streams. When fear is contemplated and it isn’t to spur you to run from a bear or to protect your person in physical defense all that hormone is doing in your system is agitating you, elevating your heart rate and blood pressure, increasing your anxiety (why you wanna do that?) and jacks with your sleep. It also weakens your immune system, making you susceptible to viruses, bacteria, and a whole host of ailments which is the LAST thing you wanna do at a time like this, weaken yourselves! Our bodies do not differentiate between the stimuli to pump adrenaline. Fear triggers it. Period.
Fear is using Your Imagination to Create the things You don’t want.
Sooooooooo these are a PLETHORA of reasons to get your Calm on NOW!
I know that may seem to be pretty impossible thing to do, now of all times, to get Calm, Centered and Grounded but there is no better time THAN Now since you GOTTA keep it together.
You cannot afford to fall apart, can you? Huh? Huh? You got that luxury?
I didn’t think so. You’re gonna need your wits about you ‘cause we are ALL being called upon to use our Imagination, Creativity and Faith to get through this thing in the best way we can.
There is no better time than NOW to build Awareness of the Thoughts racing through your mind. No better time than NOW to de-stress and not be in distress. Practicing Mindfulness in a world of Fear is needed more NOW than ever because if this coronavirus doesn’t show you how interconnected we all are, look again.
SOME MINDFULNESS MOVES:
So. Start with the basics. Wash your hands, have your children wash their hands.
Keep your hands out of your face and encourage your children to do the same—if your children are small, make a game of it and/or encourage your children to contribute ideas to making up your game. It is such an unconscious thing, the putting of the hands in our faces—did you see the video of the female official reading a statement about keeping our hands out of our faces and then seconds later puts her finger in her mouth to wet it so she could turn the page? She was TOTALLY unaware of her actions but not unlike most of us. Become Mindful of what you’re doing with your hands and cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze, remembering to instruct your children to do the same. These are basic hygiene methods that should be Practiced whether there’s a virus going around or not.
Stay home. Don’t gather in groups, follow the guidelines of physical distance. Be Mindful of Yourself and others.
WAYS TO GET CHORE CALM ON & TO PRACTICE MINDFULNESS
#1. STEP AWAYYYYYYY FROM THE STATISTICS! They’ll make ya cray cray! (Crazy, for those of you who are like wuh? Cray what?) Listen to your heart rate, take your pulse, become Aware of how they rise when you see the numbers going up, that is not good. But YOU are in control. It’s Your heart, Your Thoughts. Stop looking at statistics. Or if You must, limit the amount of times you view or listen to them in a day, take deep slow breaths before and then after reviewing the stats. Notice what Fear does to your system.
2. START A MEDITATION PRACTICE
I can hear you now, “START A WHAT? YOU EXPECT ME TO BE ABLE TO MEDITATE IN ALL OF THIS UNCERTAINTY and CHAOS??”
My answer. Yup. You know, there is no better time than NOW this is EXACTLY what meditation is for, to help you stay connected to The Source Within. It’s like a Spiritual Umbilical Cord. And there are sooooo many tools to help you, Guided Meditation is a big help in kick-starting Your Practice. It’s like being in the passenger’s seat. And bring Your children along for the ride, Meditation is an invaluable tool for riding the storms and waves in Life, a great way to connect to Balance. And you don’t need to spend hours sitting in a pretzel. Five minutes can be a huge boost. On my website, there are a plethora of tools like guided meditation tracks, sound healing meditation music, inspiring step by step eBooks as guides with meditation, affirmations and mantras, and I also offer online guided meditation sessions with Sound Healing to get cha goin’ and help you through. All to support a Stress Relief and Mindfulness Practice. Hit up Jacquie Bird, Spiritual Wellness and tell all the stressed out folk you know!
3. READ SOME GABS (GOOD ASS BOOKS) (including my eBooks. Shameless plug!!)
This is something You can do with Your kids—encourage them to read if they aren’t already doing so. When I was in High School, I used to read books that my dad had read and then we’d talk about them after I’d finish. It was a great bonding thing in between the wicked fights we would have! No seriously. But that is true. In those years of great dissent and disagreement, the one thing we could agree on was a book!
Reading Incredibly Inspiring Books takes Your mind off of what’s eating You. I thoroughly enjoyed Michelle Obama’s memoirs, WOW. And most recently, I finished reading an extraordinary memoir that reads like fiction! It is the life of the world-renowned Yoga Master Tao Porchon-Lynch titled Dancing Light, The Spiritual Side of Being Through The Eyes of a Modern Yoga Master. You wanna talk about trials and tribulations???? How ‘bout being a resistance fighter and hiding Jewish refugees during the war in her early 20’s? How ‘bout walking the streets in England during The Blitz? How ‘bout fleeing France to save her Life? That’s just scratching the surface of the challenges Tao experienced in her 101 years. But what she teaches all of us is not only do we have The Power Within us to persevere and thrive, that there is “nothing we cannot do!” Incredible entertainment and chock full of Life Lessons, so very timely right now.
4. LEARN TO DO SOMETHING NEW
You may become a bit stir-crazy before this is all over. Make the downtime an opportunity to learn some new things be it
a new language,
playing an instrument,
painting or drawing
knitting, crocheting or embroidery
research and/or start a business
There is an unlimited wealth of things to choose from! Learn something New.
5. EDUCATE YOURSELF
Read about and view new cultures, get your children in on this too in learning about people and ways of life different than your own. Research subjects of interest to you, explore through the internet. My dude is a huge fan of dinosaurs, he is always looking at YouTube and reading research papers about them. Learn about geology, biology, anthropology—there are no limits! Sometimes we remain in the same circles that orbit our careers or the subjects our work has us in. Use this downtime to become well-rounded. Stimulate your minds.
GET OR COMPLETE YOUR DEGREE or get a higher one. Been procrastinating on that front? Well here’s your chance!
6. START SOMETHING NEW like an organization or a group or even a MOVEMENT! Invent something!
7. GET INTO BETTER PHYSICAL SHAPE
Do it now by any means necessary! The gyms being closed is no excuse. BE CREATIVE! There are soooo many fitness tools online if you need guidance and assistance.
8. CLEAN OUT YOUR CLOSETS, ATTICS, BASEMENTS
Spring cleaning anyone? I find that whenever I do that kinda deep cleaning it feels like I’ve cleansed my mind as well, do you agree? Does it help clear your mind? Sometimes the things you find that you long forgot about can Inspire an idea, a path…
9. REACH OUT TO FOLKS & FAMILY
Actually return text, emails and phone calls! Holla at someone you’ve been putting off calling, we all need to strengthen or re-ignite ties, remember, we are ALL in this thing together! Be sure though, after you’ve shared how scared you are about this virus and the uncertainty, using a Mindfulness Move, see how you can flip the convo to something pro-active and positive. Yeah I know it’s hard, but with Practice, Positivity is no longer a challenge but becomes a Lifestyle.
Oh yeah, I said that already. And I’m gonna say it again! Learn to MEDITATE. You’ll sleep better. Answers Flow to you when You have a Meditation Practice because it’s only in The Quiet, that you can Hear Solutions and Ideas. Even if you only devote 5 minutes. It’s better than no minutes. Learn to Practice, don’t judge your ‘failures’ things get better with focus, repetition and the expectation to Improve. To quote Tao Porchon-Lynch, “there is nothing you cannot do.”
11. KEEP THE FAITH
What’s the point of saying you have Faith if you don’t use it?
This is the EXACT time you need to use it. So use it for Strength, Calm and Comfort. AND it shows GRATITUDE.
12. SPEAKING OF GRATITUDE…
When you exercise Gratitude on a regular, it lifts Your mood, shifts your focus from Fear and stress, raises Your Vibe. And it is one of the greatest lessons You can teach your kids. Gratitude and Appreciation are game changers. They are so important that I have episodes on each topic on my podcast.
13. TAKE DEEEEEEEEEP BREATHS
OFTEN. Learn to BE STILL. Hear your heartbeat, hear your breathing, learn to quiet your mind…oh yeah, that meditating thing again.
14. PRACTICE ENGAGING IN POSITIVE THOUGHTS & MOMENTS
Truly. This too shall pass. Make the best in this bad situation.
I don’t care if you sound like a wart hog (though others may), sing baby sing! Using Your Voice, moving the sound through space is very healing, calming, grounding and reassuring. Have you heard the video of the people singing from their windows in Italy across the street to their neighbors? OMG that video makes me smile. People are coming up with some truly Creative ways to use the downtime in Uplifting and Positive ways. You see the video of the personal trainer in Spain giving a workout session to his neighbors from his roof? BRILLIANT!
16. WRITE THAT NOVEL, SCREENPLAY, SCRIPT OR SHORT STORY YOU’VE BEEN PUTTING OFF
Go for it!!! There’s no better time than NOW.
17. BE PART OF THE SOLUTION
Fear only makes things worse. Be a part of The Solution. Lift Your Spirit and Your Vibe, though things look bleak right now, Practicing Mindfulness in a World of Fear gives you a leg up on the current corona virus crisis and is just as contagious.
Choose Well-Being. Choose Mindfulness. And maintain a great sense of humor. Choose Becoming more Positive.