I don't know about you, but I'm regularly inundated with information these days. All of it important for these times, but sometimes it's difficult to pick and choose where and for how long to put my attention. I sometimes get caught in overwhelm to the point of freezing in my tracks. While I'm a survivor of trauma, and this is not an uncommon experience, I'm struggling to find my way through like so many others.
Equally, discerning what meaningful actions to take in response to institutionalized racism and inequities is challenging me. There are so many avenues to take for dismantling the systems of racial injustice. And, particularly, being a white woman of privilege, I feel it is imperative I contribute.
How do I (we) navigate through these times and not get lost in crippling overwhelm? Personally, I'm seeing this time akin to a long-term large scale disaster. It's unfolding over a long period of time. It is persisting the way the fire or tornado season does--over months. How do I actively contribute to better our situations AND care for myself during this long period of upheaval?
Firstly, I remind myself that this is a marathon and not a sprint, so my tactics need to be different. Then, I think about the self-care I need to stay engaged in the long run. I turn to my practice for respite, support, nurturance and wisdom on how to proceed.
Next, I choose mindfullly how to navigate my time and days. Here's just a few of the myriad ideas and resources that are surfacing in my research.
These are turbulent times--times that I believe will lead us to a higher ground as people and a more compassionate species on the planet. Be gentle with yourself and each other. Smother yourself in self-care to support your ongoing resilience and allow your mindfulness practice to be a source of nurturing refuge and a path to deeper wisdom.
Add to that, working with the inherent judgments that arise for those not wearing masks and those not even attempting to honor social distancing, taking time to implore store management to require masks for all patrons, and taking time to catch up on news. By the time I returned home, I was exhausted, stressed and discouraged. The virus was now acting in differing ways, there was the growing conflict with those that wanted to open up the economy and those that felt it was too risky, and the ongoing saga of mishandled leadership as the administration continued to stumble along.
All this was a perfect storm for feeling hopeless, sad and depressed. And I did. I got home and cried in the shower--the shower that now needed to follow a trip into town just to be sure every chance of the virus' survival is washed away.
Our tendency during times of threat—perceived or actual—is to shift into anxiety or survival mode. We’re hardwired for this. Our negativity bias goes on high alert and is on the look out for threats, what’s wrong, what’s out of place, what isn’t working. As part of this, today we may find ourselves fixating on social media or news reports or other stimulating media that can support activation of stress and anxiety in our hearts, minds and bodies.
So, how do we remain connected to our best resources—a vibrant, healthy body; a clear mind with access to deep wisdom; and an open and loving heart—to meet and navigate through difficult times, particularly extended ones, such as the Covid-19 situation?
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