“We human beings have survived for a thousand generations, helping one another and inspiring each other. We know how to do this. Instead of getting caught in collective fear and anxiety, we can remember to take a breath, center ourselves, and take practical precautions and protections, but calmly and in the spirit of love. Each of us can contribute to the well-being of ourselves, our communities and our world.” – Jack Kornfield
The coronavirus reminds us we are all in this together, as humans, we are all connected and interdependent. I’m witnessing a shift in the way people are interacting, a sense of selflessness and collective action as we rise to the challenge of each day. People are sharing their talents in online platforms, giving generously in donations and resources to support their communities, providing their services for free, and expressing gratitude towards the many people who are putting themselves on the front line, our doctors, nurses, grocery store employees, police, fire and EMT’s, etc. It’s not just about “me” anymore, we are all in this together.
This is not the end of the world, this will end and we will get back to our new, normal lives. Until then, change your thinking, we’re not stuck at home, we’re safe at home.
Here are some suggestions to help you through your days.
Every day, find something to be grateful for. Say it out loud. Do you have a house to hunker down in, enough food to eat, or enough money to tide you over until this is past? Are you healthy, are your family and friends healthy? Are you able to stay home and protect yourself? It’s also important to express your gratitude for others, just a small word of thanks to people who are working, putting themselves at risk, to help all of us get through this. Read why it’s important to have a daily gratitude practice.
We need to find ways to stay grounded. While we do have to self-isolate physically, it’s really important that we don’t mentally isolate ourselves. Play games, do small acts of kindness, laugh, keep in touch with family and friends – not by text – but call them or better yet, via online video. In fact, there are so many wonderful free virtual activities available right now to keep us involved and feeling connected. Use Skype or Zoom, to do a virtual happy hour with friends, or play virtual games with family. Take virtual museum tours or virtual travel tours, and there are loads of online courses – I just signed up for The Science of Well-Being. This is the most popular class in Yale’s history and it’s now available to you, for free! This class debunks popular notions of what makes people happy and helps students understand the habits they need to lead happier, more fulfilled lives.
One of my favorite ways to stay grounded is to connect with nature, take a walk in the woods, ride a bike, find a pond or lake to walk around. Being in nature can change your mood, helping you to feel healthier, happier, more peaceful and more creative. Find out more about the benefits of being in nature.
If you can’t get out in nature but need a way to bring that calm, soul-nourishing experience, try meditation. Whether you’re a newbie or an experienced meditator, the wonderful Palouse Mindfulness free 8-week online meditation course can benefit you. If you want to learn more, read about my experience when I took the Palouse Mindfulness course last summer.
Here’s a little something to make you laugh while also showing you how ingenious people are in finding creative ways to deal with the coronavirus lockdown. (0:20)
If you need help — or someone you know needs help paying for food, paying bills, etc. due to the COVID-19 pandemic, go to http://FindHelp.org. It lists free and reduced-cost services in every city in America and highlights hundreds of programs designed to help.
And finally, a beautiful poem that touched my heart and I think will touch yours too.
We hope you and your families stay safe and healthy. I’d love for you to share the ways you’ve found to stay grounded in the comments below.
Yes there is fear.
Yes there is isolation.
Yes there is panic buying.
Yes there is sickness.
Yes there is even death.
They say that in Wuhan after so many years of noise
You can hear the birds again.
They say that after just a few weeks of quiet
The sky is no longer thick with fumes
But blue and grey and clear.
They say that in the streets of Assisi
People are singing to each other
across the empty squares,
keeping their windows open
so that those who are alone
may hear the sounds of family around them.
They say that a hotel in the West of Ireland
Is offering free meals and delivery to the housebound.
Today a young woman I know
is busy spreading fliers with her number
through the neighbourhood
So that the elders may have someone to call on.
Today Churches, Synagogues, Mosques and Temples
are preparing to welcome
and shelter the homeless, the sick, the weary
All over the world people are slowing down and reflecting
All over the world people are looking at their neighbours in a new way
All over the world, people are waking up to a new reality
To how big we really are.
To how little control we really have.
To what really matters.
So we pray and we remember that
Yes, there is fear.
But there does not have to be hate.
Yes, there is isolation.
But there does not have to be loneliness.
Yes, there is panic buying.
But there does not have to be meanness.
Yes, there is sickness.
But there does not have to be disease of the soul
Yes, there is even death.
But there can always be a rebirth of love.
Wake to the choices you make as to how to live now.
Listen, behind the factory noises of your panic
The birds are singing again
The sky is clearing,
Spring is coming,
And we are always encompassed by Love.
Open the windows of your soul
And though you may not be able
to touch across the empty square,
– Fr. Richard Hendrick, OFM
March 13th, 2020