In spite of everything, I had to chuckle at this posting I read online, “I did not plan to give up this much for Lent.” My sentiments exactly! I am struck every day with the implications of “social distancing” and what it means for me, my family, my friends, and my church.
Like everyone else, I am trying to figure out how to handle all the changes without losing my equilibrium. What can I do for myself and others so I cannot only survive but thrive through this challenge?
Here are some of the strategies I am using. First, I am beginning every day with some quiet time. I call it meditation. Others may call it prayer, reflection, deep breathing or quiet time to think. This is a centering practice that allows me to stay focused when I encounter unforeseen events through the day.
Second, I choose to experience some beauty in my day. It may be watching birds on the feeder, reading a poem, listening to lovely music, or focusing on a piece of art. Beauty feeds our souls. Being conscious of the beauty all around us is life-giving. There is no lack of beauty but only a lack of consciousness. To open our eyes to beauty helps us to balance out the worries we face.
Third, I need to have some project or goal to accomplish each day. It may be cleaning a drawer or closet. It may be writing this column or cleaning out my car. Personally, at the end of the day, I feel better if I can point to some accomplishment albeit small.
Fourth, I need to reach out to others socially. At this time I think of others who are alone or may be most affected by the threat of the Corona Virus. A funny card to a friend quarantined in a senior living center seems like a good idea. Phone calls and emails allow us to maintain and build our relationships. We are in this together in a way that our society has not experienced in our lifetimes. If we all reach out, no one will be left behind to face this alone. As we care for others, we are being cared for ourselves.
Fifth, I want to laugh every day. This need may be met through watching a funny television program, reading the comics, looking for clever postings on line or talking to humorous friends. If we have the gift of humor, let’s share it with others. Heard a good joke lately? We all need comic relief in these serious times.
Lastly, I am taking care of my physical needs. It is so easy to eat my way through the stress. That, of course, is counterproductive. Mindless eating does not help my mood. Going for a walk does lift my spirits and this is my substitute for going to the gym.
As we face this pandemic, we each must map out our own way. This calls us to be conscious on how we are handling these difficulties. May we be wide awake to our own needs and the needs of those around us.