The coronavirus has shaken the world. It is a serious reminder of our mortality, vulnerability and the importance of honoring these aspects of life. We are required to separate ourselves and stay in our homes as an invisible invader moves through and takes control of our daily lives.
We have entered into a liminal time. A betwixt and between time, where uncertainty and confusion thrive. Liminal spaces are times of psychological questioning. They create fear and anxiety. They encourage reflection, change and growth. Liminal times offer the opportunity to realize deeper, richer parts of ourselves. To renew values faded by the fast pace we all keep and re-evaluate much of what we take for granted.
My hope is the following words will be helpful in calming any anxiousness, fear or depression the current environment has created in your home. First and foremost, realize this time of uncertainty is temporary. It will pass. It is a good idea to adopt a wait-and-see attitude. It is not a time to react impulsively, but rather be patient and accept your powerlessness.
Practice the precautions recommended by the medical professionals. Each of us has a responsibility to ourselves and our community. This virus is serious and demands our attention. It is a ruthless predator waiting for the opportunity to strike and grow.
There is an ancient wisdom that comes to us from indigenous people all over the globe. It is called the four-fold way. This wisdom will be helpful if practiced.
It goes like this:
1. Show up and be present in your life.
2. Slow down and pay attention to what has heart and meaning.
3. Communicate openly and honestly without judgment and criticism.
4. Do not be attached to the outcome; rather be open to the possibilities.
When we stay present, pay attention to what has heart and meaning, communicate openly and honestly and don’t push our agenda and try to control everything, we are much more relaxed. We can slow down and relish the moment. We can let go of inner demands pushing us to control and really enjoy our loved ones. We can allow ourselves to open up to new ideas and ways.
When anxiety and fear clouds your thinking, take a moment. Stop and take some deep breaths. Slowly breathe in, noticing the expanding of the ribcage and belly. Then slowly release the breath as you draw your awareness to the calm energy washing over you. Do this as many times as you need to release tension in your body. Sometimes adding a sigh with the exhale facilitates more release. Surrender to the healing power of the breath. Then acknowledge your fear, anxiety, worry or overwhelmed state of anger. Look at it and ask yourself, “Is there anything I need to do to relieve this emotion?
A phone call, a heart-to-heart conversation with a loved one to clear up a misunderstanding, a walk outside to clear your head, an openness to change an attitude, an apology or simply a letting go and accepting. Take as much time as you need to rejuvenate yourself.
Other useful practices that might prove of value: revisit old interests and hobbies, connect by telephone with friends and family, read to and play games with your children, read a book, enjoy nature and take notice of things around you. Slow down, stop complaining and cultivate gratitude by noticing the little things that bring you joy.
Treat yourself to a nap, smile, laugh and trust the present moment.
I am available for telephone counseling. If you are experiencing strong emotional reactions, feeling overwhelmed and unable to cope, you can reach me by telephone at 812-934-4326. Leave a message and I will return your call.
A closing thought from Joseph Campbell: “Find a place inside where there’s joy, and the joy will burn out the pain.”