These are extraordinary and difficult times, but we are in it together. And we will continue to walk through it each day, drawing strength from each other. Here’s what is helping me right now with grounding, quieting fear, and accepting change.
1. Practice extreme physical distancing. Our family has been at home for a week now. With today’s brave and wise order from our mayor, we will be home for the next three weeks. If your town/city is not there yet, please take it upon yourself to save lives now by staying home, if it is at all possible for you. If you have any questions about the why of this, please read yesterday’s post on Social/Physical Distancing. This is your gorgeous opportunity to save a life, maybe thousands of lives, by simply staying at home – pretty amazing when you think about it. One way to navigate your fear is to know you are doing all you can on behalf of others.
2. Make a clear plan for news and social media consumption – and follow it (even if imperfectly). I like to do this when I wake up in the morning – simply asking myself, “Okay, when will I be looking at news/social media today?” The answer for me has generally been 1 or 2 short periods during the day, not more. We all absolutely need to stay informed, and there is a lot of good information spreading in a grassroots way that is not yet coming in a centralized, succinct way. In this sense reading online is very useful. And, we also need to be discerning about what level of news consumption will best allow us to keep our connection to our center and to give our nervous system much needed breaks.
3. Make your daily plan to be of service. Service is an antidote to fear. We have got to get away from thinking about ourselves (and away from thinking period) and into loving action – multiple times a day. So every day – and especially when you are getting caught up in fear and worry – ask yourself what you can do to be of service. For example, you can call those in your community who might be feeling particularly afraid or lonely. You can find a way to support a small business that is being hard hit. You can do a video call with someone who could use a pick-me-up and put your adorable dog in the camera frame for them to see, giving them something to smile about for a few moments. And you can think about – or pray on – how your knowledge, skills, personal strengths or other resources can be of service during this crisis, and then act on your ideas.
4. Do your self-care top three. Identify three practices that are your foundation for staying well-sourced during this time. Maybe that’s keeping to a calming bedtime routine. Maybe it’s singing or listening to music or having a living room dance party. For me right now, the core three are exercise (via online videos or playing tag with my kids in the house!), meditation, and connecting with others (via video) each day. Identify and do your self-care top three, schedule them in your calendar each day, and shift what they are when needed.
5. Ground in crone energy. This one is the hardest to explain, but let me try. The crone is the wise, elder woman. The one who knows what she knows from the heart and from lived experience. The one who has been shaped by the lessons of a lifetime of community tending and caregiving. The crones who came before us put up with a lot. Crones of our own time were already putting up with a lot – violence, war, injustice, pain turned into pain turned into harm.
The crone sees the folly of the world for what it is: deep unknowing, deep “I have not learned that yet,” coming from young, still immature souls. The crone knows how pain and unhealed wounds turn into more pain, which turns into harm done – through greed, deceit, heart-hardening, and denial. She grieves that, but she also looks at it with total clarity and compassion. When confronted with that folly, she does not feel like a little girl being attacked by something bigger than her. She knows she is bigger than it, that she can call in parts of that folly for healing, for a teaching, for an embrace, like a grandmother would with an unruly adolescent. She stands in this place even if that folly takes her out, in her physical incarnation, this time around. She is present to heal what needs to be healed and can ache in her heart, with tenderness, with wisdom, for what is not yet healed. This is the time to ground in crone energy, to stand in that place, as we encounter what is now unfolding.
I’m sending love to all of you, and I’ll keep sending writings too.
Photo by Felix Mittermeier