Caring for Ourselves and Others in the Time of Corona

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          Family members are learning a lot about one another these days. Each of our personality strengths and quirks have been witnessed over and over again, and a newfound appreciation for teachers and workplace colleagiality  have helped us realize all we have lost during this pandemic. The loss may be the opportunity for a haircut, a chance for a quick cup of coffee with a friend in a favorite local shop, or an ability to earn a living in a gig economy that is unforgiving when we don't (or can't) show up. It is as real a loss as a death of someone we love, and grief has moved into our homes as we struggle with this new reality.

          We have three realms to attend to as we look to take care of ourselves, those we love, our communities, and the world at large: the physical realm, the emotional realm, and the spiritual realm.

Many of you have already established family walks, bike rides, on-line Zumba  classes, yoga sessions, and daily exercise goals. We are eating together more as a family and sharing the responsibilities for shopping and cooking and cleaning up. We are getting more sleep. Keep it up: it matters.

Emotions are pulsing through our households. All feelings can be welcomed: a feeling is just that, not the truth or a permanent state of affairs. Feelings we deny erupt later as anger or depression that seems to come out of nowhere. Feelings we accept and talk about and deal with (breathe, count to five, take a moment, get outside) move through us so that other feelings that are more positive can take their place. Grief is inevitable and needs expression, moving through stages that at times take us by surprise: denial, anger, bargaining, sadness, acceptance, and meaning. You are fine one day and a mess the next day: our feelings come in waves. Let's be compassionate with each other as we allow our emotional intelligence to deal with each feeling as it comes, surrounded by the love and care of others.

We are also spiritual beings. The practice of worshiping together with our faith brethren cannot happen right now, and being in touch with a power greater than ourselves doesn't need a holy place to visit anyway. In times of crisis like this pandemic a spiritual practice is important: daily prayer, reading sacred texts, meditation, or simple sharing gratitude with our loved ones for what we have. Here is where we can look for meaning in all of this: what will we learn and how will we grow from this experience? Let's not look back with longing or look forward with fear: what can we do right now to make sense of our lives?

Everyday we face a choice: will we live each moment as an expression of love or as an expression of fear? Our loved ones will look to us for compassion, patience, and guidance, and we must realize that we are often much stronger than we think. This too shall pass, and we can be change agents to ensure that the "new normal" that comes next is more compassionate, equitable, and loving than what we have left behind.



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This page contains a single entry by John published on September 15, 2020 5:05 PM.

Managing Your Anxiety in Times of Uncertainty was the previous entry in this blog.

Giving Yourself and Your Children "Permission to Feel" is the next entry in this blog.

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