As events have been unfolding in our world, I needed to take some time to observe, and to let it sink in. My energy was also spent reaching out to family, friends, and staying in touch with clients, as we all process, in our own way, the experience we're living through.
Where to even begin? I was considering ways I could lighten not minimize, instruct not preach, share not tell, encourage not ignore, and overall make my words useful in some way. I never want my suggestions or experience to imply that there’s one way to be, or one way to go through this time. That more likely than not, it's many ways, and it can change each moment.
I believe that compassion, choosing our mindset, and staying in the moment, will always be the best foundation to stand on.
For me, this past six or so months has been a reminder of a hard reality - that very little is in my control, and the big stuff never is. My husband’s Mom passed away unexpectedly in September. I didn’t even have a chance to try and control that one. Seven weeks later her husband, my step father-in-law died, also, no controlling that. We faced other personal losses in terms of projects and income, that again, I had no control over.
Now this…the coronavirus; experts and authorities, decisions and actions, that we can't control. In the absence of control, humans tend to go to fear. This is where some will forget about their neighbors and buy 47 packages of toilet paper, and where others demonstrate the very best qualities of generosity and empathy.
It's important for me to say, that I'm astutely aware that I'm fortunate. I can still work fairly easily from home, and so can my husband, and we've an abundance of support to ride out this experience. These ideas that I offer you, are the tools I've applied when dealing with other losses and challenges in my life, and I offer them here, as just one of the many avenues for facing an ever-changing world.
So, what does this life coach, and your fellow human do?
I remember that loss of, or less control, doesn’t mean I don’t have choices. I have many of them.
The most important one being my mindset; how I choose to frame and talk about this time will inform how I show up, which values I live, and what I can learn about how to best move forward.
Really, that's all we've had absolute authority over, ever. So, maybe best to start there?
A Few Ideas:
Denying what is, raging at it, doesn’t make it disappear. If that worked, excess weight, wrinkles, and debt would've up and vanished by now! You don’t have to like what's happening, but you must accept it. Accepting doesn't mean lack of curiosity or not asking questions, or becoming complacent. It simply means, you respond moment-by-moment, and use your energy wisely.
2. HOW YOU TELL THE STORY BECOMES THE STORY
Talk about the situation in a way that empowers you to take care of you, and the people around you. This isn't ignoring how you feel, but rather looking at it from a perspective that creates the best actions. We're seeing people connect more than before, make their homes their haven, finish projects and clear clutter, enjoy the outside and fresh air, and use creativity as a source of peace, and even income. We're writing the story as we go, and we do have choices around our personal narrative.
3. ACT WITH THE END IN MIND
When this has passed, and it will, what do you want to be able to say about this time? About who you were, and how you handled it? What could the best possibilities and outcomes be, here and now, and in the the long-term? Let that end point be your guide each day.
Scientists, philosophers, life coaches, and your Mom, know this to be an essential life skill, and it's even more important right now. Notice what's working and what you have. Notice the good in others. Gratitude reduces stress, and the physiological impacts can be measured: everything from releasing endorphins, slowing heart rate, and keeping the wise, problem- solving part of your brain online.
Reverence is defined as,"a deep respect for someone or something." Maybe we've forgotten, in the pursuit of things, that this experience of life is fleeting and fantastic, wild and wonderful, precious and poignant, challenging and changing. I've always known that life is short, and a gift, and this time now highlights things we sometimes take for granted. We can use this space to remember, remind, and reinforce the love we have for eave other, and our planet.
The Path Ahead
Things will happen in life, in contrast to what we'd hoped for, and planned for. Boy, are we seeing that now, and we're seeing how fast our normal can change.
There are hard realities for many people, and it'll be the small things we do each day that matter. We need to demonstrate the best of us; for those whose present moment is fraught with challenges, and for the uncertain future we must face together. Compassion, kindness, and consideration for our own feelings, and for the struggles and feelings of others, is essential.
“Don’t try to calm the storm. Calm yourself. The storm will pass.” ~Buddha
The Path Now?
We know how to do this; adapting, and building community, and handling adversity. This fortitude and resilience is built into each one of us. Our ancestors have shown us that we can overcome and harness our collective strengths.
This is what we've been training for - the meditation, the coaching, the prayers, the self-care, the yoga, the daily routines and habits. All these practices support a resilient and healthy mindset, so that you can be adaptable, look for possibilities, and remain open, and determined, and clear. Choose the mindset that can turn any obstacle upside down, and choose to create meaning out of misfortune, believing that we can shift this hardship for the greater good.
What's been your experience so far? How are you caring for you and your loved ones at this time? What's been helping? I would love to hear.
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