These are tough times for all of us. Let me acknowledge that out of the gate. You’ve no doubt felt any combination of fear, disappointment, grief, chaos, angst … maybe even rage over the last few weeks in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic. That’s okay. We all have. It’s important to acknowledge that and to give voice to it. It’s valuable to band together as a community and be able to share without fear of judgment. Give yourself and others permission to feel whatever feelings arise. And … I also invite you to make a decision not to stay there. Acknowledge these feelings by all means. Then choose to focus on hope, possibility, the power and resilience of humanity, acts of service and generosity. Those of you who know me, know I believe that all of life is a negotiation and that the most important negotiation to start with is the one with yourself. So, in this challenging time, I invite you to negotiate your mindset. I invite you to choose not to stay in a place of single-minded focus on the virus. What you resist persists. Where your focus goes, energy flows. Your thoughts, and the meaning you give them, create your reality. Why not choose to reach for a better reality?
Are you scrambling to find safety in the face of uncertainty? You’re not alone. We’re all feeling our way through mounds of information inundating us – some accurate … much not. As you’re bombarded with news around the world and around the clock, it can seem like the crisis is consuming you. The situation seems to be changing so rapidly, like walking on quicksand. You’re looking for solid ground. I get it. I invite you to consider, what if the way to solid ground is to push past the fear, chaos and angst? What if the consequences of giving in to the fear are greater than the consequences of the virus? What if the only way forward is to focus on possibility over problems?
I’m not talking about putting your head in the sand. I’m not talking about some Pollyanna pie-in-the-sky avoidance tactic. I get that the impact on the economy is significant and people are losing their jobs and fearful for their loved ones and feeling isolated and alone in all this. But what if, instead of retreating in self-preservation mode, we chose to pull together, to serve each other, from a mindset of abundance and generosity? What if we embodied the best of our humanity? What if instead of hoarding toilet paper, we dropped off rolls to our neighbours? My husband has a portable toilet rental business and he’s offered to drop off rolls of toilet paper to anyone in need … even though his own supplier is currently sold out. He chooses to believe. To give. To serve … even in that small way. What’s a small step you can take to serve?
We can’t control external circumstances. We can’t as individuals control the Coronavirus. We can control how we choose to react. And it is a choice. Challenges provide opportunities. Opportunities to be our best self. To lead. To support those in need more than us. To care for and about each other. We have endured much worse in our human experience. Through our worst moments in human history we have survived by coming together – embracing our fundamental humanity – choosing to see gifts in the face of extreme adversity and sharing that light with others.
I heard a beautiful quote today and it’s worth sharing.
Take the Coronavirus pandemic as your current stimulus. You have the space to choose how you will respond. There is power in that space. Your growth and ultimately your freedom lives in that space and the choices you make there.
Remind yourself of the things you can be grateful for … now … in this moment. Breathe that in. Let yourself come to a grounded place. Share from that place. From a place of connectedness, peace, optimism, love and light. Feel the freedom in that.
Maybe we need to flip our story, to ask better questions. Instead of ‘why is this happening?’ or ‘what’s going to happen to me and my family?’ we could ask ‘how can I best show up and step up’, ‘who can I serve’, ‘what lessons can I learn and share’, ‘what opportunities are waiting for me to discover them’, and ‘how can I be even more healthy’? Can you feel the difference in that?
As you juggle the stressors of kids home from school, or your work shut down, or an at-risk loved one, or cancelled travel plans or entertainment, or whatever your current blade-in-the-gut is, take a moment to identify where you feel it. Find it in your body. At first blush it might seem like it’s all-encompassing or generalized, but if you let yourself focus, you’ll be able to hone in on a particular spot in your body where you feel the angst most intensely. Maybe your gut, or solar-plexus, or throat or chest, or temple or somewhere else for you. When you find it focus on it. Focus on making it smaller. Visualize it shrinking down and imagine sending it away, watching it recede far into the distance until it’s a tiny speck that disappears. Now breathe. Deeply. In for a count of four, hold for four, out for a count of four. While you’re breathing, focus on something you’re grateful for. It’s impossible to stay in a state of fear, anger, resentment, etc while in a state of gratitude. Remind yourself (preferably out loud but in your head if circumstances don’t allow otherwise) you are totally responsible for your reactions. And why not choose to react with grace.
The beauty of this mindset shift is that it’s never too late to adopt it. No need to beat yourself up if you haven’t been showing up as your best self. We have to love our perfect imperfection as humans. To show grace and compassion to others, we need to first be able to show it to ourselves. As per the quote above, if this post is a stimulus, you now have the gift of a space before you respond. Your growth and freedom lies in that response. And the choice is all yours. Whatever you decide, I’m sending you love and light in these difficult times.