In this time of rising uncertainty, anxiety, and confusion, I’m writing to offer you a message of loving-kindness, compassion, and nonjudgmental support.
Some of you may be navigating this moment smoothly and easily, dusting off the anxiety, and going about your day with unwavering confidence. Hey, that’s great! But many of you (perhaps most of you — myself included) may be struggling to find your center. You may feel caught between not wanting to over-react and not wanting to under-react. It is hard not to feel panicky and unbalanced when you see starkly empty shelves at the grocery store, huge lines to check out, and neighbors hoarding toilet paper and hand sanitizer like it’s Y2K. Not to mention the ever-expanding list of canceled festivals, conferences, and sporting events.
The travel, entertainment, and service industries are struggling to keep up with this rapidly developing situation. Parents face tough decisions regarding childcare options for their kiddos. It all feels quite dark and dystopian, like something out of a movie. Oh, and we have a new term in the public discourse, “social distancing.” But no one is offering a clear definition of this term. No one knows the right path forward. No one knows how long this will last. It seems that small business owners are on their own to determine a cogent, sensical, and appropriate response to the current crisis. To put it mildly, this past week has been rough.
Here’s an honest look at my own journey:
Wednesday night (Mar. 11th), I got word the Sedona Yoga Festival was suddenly canceled. Aside from the disappointment of not getting to spend five blissful days in a magical society of crystal charging, vortex loving, nature worshiping, star gazing weirdos (love you Sedona!), a feeling of “this sh** is getting real!” starts to sink into my bones. With a voracious appetite, I speedily get up to date on all the latest news from scientists and experts in the field of epidemiology (you could say I’m slightly biased in wanting to get my information from PhD’s). The frightening statistics, piecemeal data coming from China and Italy, ominous findings from studies of past epidemics, it all starts to feel like too much…
And then I’m in that oh so familiar place, analysis paralysis I call it, aka the land of over-thinking everything. I wonder, “Am I being proactive enough to protect myself and my community from the spread of disease? Am I being paranoid and alarmist? Am I taking enough action? What are the right steps to take anyway? Who can I trust for advice on this issue?” I notice rage growing inside me due to the lack of a factual and science-based response from our government. A feeling of isolation and doom creeps in. I cancel future travel plans. I stock up on supplies for me and the kitties. I wonder how my clients are doing. I coordinate with my sister on how I can help when my niece’s and nephew’s schools inevitably close.
And I gradually lose my center. I lose my calm. I lose connection with that piece of undamaged/can’t be broken/untouched by trauma/ever-present/unchanging wholeness and goodness inside of me. I realize I’m having an emotional flashback to the last major traumatic event of my life — the Boston marathon bombings of April 2013. I reach out to my internship buddies from Boston. “Hey, long time no talk. Btw are you feeling as unnerved as I am by what’s going on right now? Does this remind you of that awful time in Boston when the entire city was on lockdown while heavily armed SWAT teams went door to door looking for the bomber?”
These dear friends warmly validate and affirm my waves of anxiety and my PTSD-like reaction. Oh, and on top of everything else, yesterday (Mar. 14th) was the fourth anniversary of my father’s death. Yeah. The tears are definitely flowing now. Oh my Buddha, it’s time to breathe.
Here’s the thing y’all. I believe we can all be light-workers. I believe we can all hold each other up, energetically, during times of stress and uncertainty. If we can let go of our thoughts, listen to our bodies, and meet ourselves with friendliness and compassion, we can tap into an inner sanctuary of ease, safety, and well-being. From this place, we can do hard things. We can act mindfully. We can acknowledge and affirm our fear, but not let it overwhelm us. We can survive and thrive during challenging circumstances.
To do my part, I recorded a meditation just for you. I hope you make time to listen and that you discover a felt-sense of spaciousness, clarity, and grounding. Please breathe deeply, remember you are not alone, and trust in your innate wisdom. We will get through this together.
From my heart to yours,
Meditation for Comfort and Grounding: