So much has already been said about how to deal with this pandemic crisis. We have been endlessly instructed on the ways to determine if we have the virus, what to do about it, and how important is keeping physical distance so as to protect our selves and others.
While social isolation is challenging, it can be a time of reflection, of looking inward and asking ourselves some questions. What is really important, here and now, with these set of circumstances we have been dealt? How can we nourish not only our physical but our mental, and spiritual health? Can there be a positive outcome, after all is said and done?
Some brilliant minds, those I admire and respect, have suggested this pandemic is a wake-up call and can be regarded as Mother Nature's big cleanse. It's as if she sent us to our rooms to think about what we have done, how we have been irresponsible and failed to be good stewards of the earth, how through greed and ignorance and denial we have brought forth disastrous changes to our climate, and how little there is "peace on earth, goodwill toward men."
For those on a spiritual path, there is a fundamental tenet. "We are all one. There is no separation; we are connected, each and every one of us, and what affects one affects us all."
Before this crisis spread throughout the entire world, sparing no one, we may have believed it doesn't matter what happens in a faraway city or to "those" people, because they are not "us".
We humans have a lot to think about and now we have an opportunity to go inside because there is nowhere else to go and there's nothing much to do. I am reminded of an expression you may hear at the end of a yoga class while practicing the final pose, lying down on the floor and completely relaxing the body and mind. The teacher reminds us, "Now is a time to let go of all the doing, and just be, be with yourself and relax."
Other useful Yoga practices include staying flexible so we may move through the changes with more ease. Although we may feel powerless to change the outside world, we can change our selves by deciding to do better. We can choose and then act to take better care of ourselves and of our personal relationships.
Self-care, during this time of confinement, might include changing to a healthier diet, being sure to have a daily exercise program. Now, we have all the time in the world to soak in a warm bath, take short daytime naps to reenergize, clean out the closets and file cabinets and while we still can, go for walks around the block to get some fresh air. This, more than ever, is not the time to slack off on care-taking of our selves.
With all the solitude, it is helpful to watch where the mind goes. Are we racing down a negative pathway, going over and over what might happen in the future or what transpired in the past? We can change our minds and choose a more positive train of thought. It is also good to notice our emotional state, realizing fear may be a natural response to this pandemic and it needs acknowledgment. However, staying in fear and panic, over time, wrecks our immune system and may be just as dangerous as any disease. Instead of focusing on what has been lost, consider what has remained, and feel grateful for these things.
In our seclusion, we may want to review the state of our close relationships and do our part in bringing healing where there have been rifts. Is there someone we need to apologize to or forgive? Can we open up communications where there has been little or none? Might we decide to practice more kindness and compassion to others who may be strangers or who think differently from us?
There are both personal and global useful lessons to be learned as we move through and to the other side of this crises. Although the outcome is unknown, surely there will be some positive take-aways. For myself and for the generations to come, I am hoping to see a new, better world, one that works for all.
Published in Angelena's "Boomer Talk" column for the Newburyport (MA) Daily News