"It is exhausting, all this opening up."
~~~ Nitya Prakash, author and film maker.
I know just how he feels. There's a lot of talk today about opening up as communities, towns and cities begin to emerge from the quarantine of COVID-19.
And, of course that gets me thinking about what opening up means in the larger, personal sense. As I emerge into a world where I'm still six-feet apart from you behind a mask, will I be able to open my heart? Does the physical distance create an emotional one?
I don't have the answers but I know that in order to open up - to be vulnerable - you, and I, need to let go of past experiences of hurt, grief, loss and fear. And right now, those experiences are not in the distant past, but in the recent present. Right now, you might be worrying about an uncertain future, about how you will support yourself financially, about whether or not you will be safe and well.
This week, in this time of opening up, I invite you to step into your power - to love and accept all of you - your impatience, your anger, your sadness and your fears. This week work with what you have to make the best of the moments ahead.
You may feel space opening up inside that you hadn't even realized was tight and constrained. Your power (your empowerment) is in the choices you make each day: in the thoughts you give energy to, in the emotions you focus on, in the actions you take.
Opening up requires gentleness. Be gentle with yourself and others this week as you navigate your next steps. Find what is true for you and let that be your guide.
Stay well. Stay safe.
"Acceptance is the currency of love."
~~~ Teal Swan
Painful life experiences can get stuck in the mind and heart. You most likely never ask yourself 'why did I have such a good time at that party?' No, the 'whys' that get stuck in your mind and heart aren't those experiences. Those experiences are just taken as they come - no explanation needed.
Right now is a time that will at some point move into the past as a possibly fearful and painful experience. But it is up to you whether it gets stuck in your mind and heart in such a way that it colors your present and your ability to feel alive and joyful. You no more live in the past than you live in a day yet to be born. But if you keep your mind and heart turned towards the past trying to undo what you might see as painful experiences, then you lose your ability to move forward.
So, what is the way forward?
The only way forward is acceptance. Acceptance says what happened, happened. It cannot be undone. Feel it, grieve it, acknowledge it and then let it go. This is especially important when dealing prolonged, stressful situations like the one we are experiencing now. Acceptance doesn't change the situation but it does move you out of worry and anxiety and into a place of peace.
Acceptance means you wear a face mask if that is what is advised so you keep not only yourself but others well. Acceptance means you find moments of connection in new ways with family and friends. Acceptance means that you recognize where your true power resides - in your ability not to control what happens but to control how you respond to it.
I invite you this week to move into the present through acceptance of all that has come before. Bless it, feel it, grieve it if you still have not done that, and then let it go into the ether. Breathe in a new day - it is one of the great spiritual mysteries and truths that you are born again each day. Harness that energy for just one day - find the gifts that hide within the energy of acceptance - gifts of love and peace.
Stay well. Stay safe.
"Transformation is a journey without a final destination.."
~~~ Marilyn Ferguson
Author Marilyn Ferguson was known as the Apostle of the New Age, envisioning Aquarian ideals and fulfillment of human potential long before such ideas and possibilities became mainstream.
Transformation is always happening in the present and it is rarely comfortable. I think of transformation as a process of puzzle pieces clicking together in new ways to create something that turns the status quo on its head. Something that was not even in our range of vision becomes a vital part of the new picture emerging.
In the collective and personal transformations we are going through right now, the final destination is unknowable, because as you and I transform, the puzzle pieces keep transforming right along with us.
Together we watch as a virus, one of nature's most effective agents of transformation, demonstrates the unknowable process of change. Such transformation, rapid and not well understood, is frightening, especially when the results can be deadly. But, even if you (and I) don't get sick in this Pandemic, we are still going through a very personal process of transformation - of trying to envision a 'new' normal for daily life.
There is a secret to feeling safe while in the process. That secret is to stay within the boundaries of a day, each day. Let your mind not wander to the future and become anxious about what might happen next. Instead stay within the bounds of the day you are given and see what is already changing for you.
You can allow different layers of self to emerge gently. Being gentle with yourself when in a process of transformation is key. Patience and gentleness. You wouldn't express frustration, fear and anger at a flower in the process of opening. Don't do so with yourself and others.
Be patient. Be gentle. Be kind. To self first, honoring the Divine spark. And then to all, including our beautiful mother earth.
Stay well. Stay safe.
"Of all the things I've lost, I miss my mind the most." ~~Ozzy Osbourne
My mind is up to interesting stuff. Without as many distractions as before, it flits around thinking about COVID-19 to what I'm going to eat for lunch or dinner to figuring out what day it is. And that's just when I first get up!
By mid-day my mind wants to take a break and my body wants to get up and stop working on the computer and breathe in some fresh air. One thing my mind seems to want to do is immerse itself in all things health-related. I signed up to take an online course with Acupuncturist David Crow about botanical antiviral formulas to strengthen my immune system. And I've been taking a homeopathic remedy recommended by my homeopath as a preventative.
But I'm interested in more than just holistic preparations that might be good for me to use right now. I've also signed up for classes to move my body and classes in art and creative writing.
I know you are thinking I am on online overload, and you may be right. But it is rare I have the time in my daily life to take a lot of programs that sound interesting and valuable to me. So, I'm following my mind along this path of healing that seems to be my major focus.
In this time where there is little I (or you) can do to make known the unknown, learning is one of those activities that moves the mind away from worry and stressful thoughts and into a place of receptivity. So, for me I've decided to keep learning.
Whatever your mind finds interesting, look for courses or programs being offered that might speak to those topics. One friend is taking an online course on Scottish clans (perhaps she is watching Outlander right now?). Another friend just mentioned that she is hooked on a course in French cuisine. I can't wait to be join her for dinner once that is possible.
I invite you this week to explore learning that either engages your mind or allays your fears or educates you on health and keeping yourself as healthy as possible. Whatever you learn will serve you well as together we re-emerge from this time.
Stay in. Stay well. Stay safe.
"Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others."
Cicero's sentiment is one we are all feeling right now. You have only to see the videos of the nightly rituals of making noise at 7:00 pm to thank the healthcare workers in New York City to agree we are big on gratitude these days.
And we have so many people to be grateful for.
Think of this display of gratitude we are seeing in so many places as a side effect of the global pandemic and the upending of our usual daily lives. It is one of the good things that has come from this. It is a good thing to remember and be grateful for all the people keeping our lives going while we are staying safe and following the guidelines.
Real gratitude opens the heart and an open heart is one that is at peace with itself. It isn't about what you have or don't have - it is a state of mind that connects your soul-self to the greater flow of divine blessings. You can have gratitude even in the most difficult of circumstances, like the one we collectively find ourselves in now, and that might be when it is most needed.
While you may not be able to summon up a big platter of gratitude for a trying situation you can still, in that moment, open your heart to gratitude for the smallest of things. For even in the most difficult situation you may have a friend supporting you by dropping off food. You may smell the scent of a beautiful flower. You may see streaks of sunlight across an evening sky.
Remember that any difficulty, whatever it might be, doesn't define who you are - that in those moments who you are is an incomparable being of love and light. In those moments you are divinely guided, protected and cared for.
Here are some things that I am expressing gratitude for right now:
1. I have a comfortable bed that is so warm and cozy on chilly nights.
2. I am grateful for chocolate in all its forms - oh, yes I am!
3. I am grateful for my sister, my nieces and nephews, my cousins, friends and colleagues - I have a truly rich family of love and support.
4. I am grateful that I have the time to watch a favorite series and not feel I have to rush to 'do' something productive.
5. I am grateful that I get to write this BLOG post.
As you can see, there are countless things to be grateful for - profound and silly, important and mundane. Your entire life can change if you can look at it through the lens of gratitude.
You may not be able to do much to change the current situation right now but what you can do is focus on being grateful. That is the choice you have and it is a truly powerful one.
This week I invite you to join me by putting a focus on gratitude.
Stay in. Stay well. Stay safe.
As I was cleaning and dusting today with my rubber gloves and disinfectant spray, I kept feeling that I may not be doing this whole stay at home thing right.
Why? Well, I have yet to figure out a schedule for myself - instead lurching from working too long, to binges of Netflix, to eating, to cleaning, to thinking about when my next trip to the grocery store may be and if my mask is the right kind, and back to working to repeat some version of the cycle again in no particular order.
I know it's probably not true but as I look at social media and reports on TV, it seems that most people have managed not only to be highly creative during this time but also to exercise, educate, cook like the Barefoot Contessa and sing like Broadway stars.
A friend remarked recently that she isn't nearly productive as she thought she would be with all this time on her hands and that she feels guilty not doing more. It seems even when we are literally doing nothing, we worry that others may do nothing better than we do.
All this time to contemplate your life can be stressful. Most people I know before we were house-bound, were wishing for more time - time away from work, time to rest, time to relax and time to just do nothing. And here we are.
Maybe the situation we find ourselves in suffers in comparison to the images of all the essential workers out there working to exhaustion. This time has been a major awakening. I know I will never go to the grocery store again without mentally (and often verbally) thanking the cashiers, without noticing the people stocking the shelves and the delivery drivers, without saying a silent thank you to my postal workers, the woman at the drive-up window of my bank and so many more, including of course all the health care workers.
So, as I decide whether or not I need my latex gloves along with my mask before I go downstairs to use the shared laundry in my building, I do so giving myself permission to feel a bit disoriented, as if I've stepped into a surreal landscape that has shapes and boundaries yet to be determined.
When what needs to be known remains unknown, we are forced back into the present - the only place that truly exists. This week I invite you to join me in the messy present - get comfortable with it, make it your own and know there is no standard you need to meet to get through this time.
Stay in. Stay well. Stay safe.