How are you feeling? This is what I asked myself this morning when I was journaling. I decided to grab the list of feelings provided by the Center for Nonviolent Communication so that I could clearly identify what was happening inside of me. Once I had the list in hand, a surprising insight occurred:
When I hear about people coming down with Covid-19 and I watch the news, I feel vulnerable, worried, anxious, and depressed. That wasn’t the surprising part!
When I see the sun shining, flowers blossoming, and food in the refrigerator, I feel grateful, openhearted, calm, and secure.
I was surprised to realize that right now both of these scenarios are playing out inside of me all day long. I feel both waves of panic and peace. It’s exhausting. And yet, there’s also something liberating about seeing and understanding what’s happening inside of me.
This uncertain and overwhelming experience makes me want to shut down and disengage. There’s part of me that wants to hide. But, when I do that, I begin to feel like I’m drowning. Instead of waves of emotions, I’m lost at sea without any hope.
So if hiding and shutting down are out of the question, then how do I keep myself engaged and grounded?
For starters, I’m willing to stay present with myself. My intention is to allow the feelings while also remembering that they’re information from my soul. In Healing Through the Dark Emotions: The Wisdom of Grief, Fear, and Despair, Miriam Greenspan says, “…emotions are energies in the body that convey information, seek expression, and motivate action” (p. 47). She teaches that when we mindfully experience our emotions by being consciously attentive to them, then they don’t get stuck inside of us. Instead they flow to their completion. I love that!
1. How can you be consciously attentive to your feelings today?
Next, I remember that I’m not the only one feeling this way. Absolutely everyone I have spoken to has shared this exact same experience. We are living through unprecedented times and it’s reasonable for unprecedented emotions to come up.
2. How can you give yourself grace today?
Even though my life is upended, I’m maintaining my schedule. I can thank my dogs for this one! They still need to go out, be fed, and take walks. So even if my schedule for the day is different than usual, I’m still going to sleep and getting up at the same time. If you don’t have dogs to keep you on track here, I encourage you to make appointments. Schedule phone calls or video chats with friends or family. This can be a stretch, but I’ve found that when I reach out to others (even when I don’t really want to) that I feel better afterward every single time.
3. Who can you connect with today?
Along those same lines, I haven’t let myself slip in my daily practice of meditation, prayer, journaling, and exercise. Now is the time to turn toward your spiritual practice. Let it nourish and support you.
4. How can you feed your soul today? Additional options are reading, contemplation, being in nature, yoga, etc.
Being at home more than ever right now, I also have additional time for hobbies. I love to color and do jigsaw puzzles.
5. How can you get creative today? Here’s a free comforting coloring page from my favorite magazine!
Lastly, while it’s important to stay updated, it’s also important to take breaks from the news and media. Do a daily check-in of the news from your trusted media source and then turn it off. Nothing increases those waves of panic like watching the news! Honestly, I’ve struggled with this one. I’ve been glued to the news more than ever and thankfully my husband gently asked me one day, “Can I please change the channel?” He proceeded to switch it to the relaxation channel that was showing nature scenes with soft music. Before his request, I didn’t even notice that I was totally obsessing. Again, this is understandable, but not sustainable. Now, I do a daily update mid-morning after my spiritual practice.
6. When is the best time of day for you to get a news update and then turn it off?
Thank you for being here with me today. Even though you’re not physically present with me right now, I feel your presence. I’m grateful we’re together. I know that this too shall pass and we will absolutely get through this together. In the meantime, put your hand on your heart. Take a deep breath. Know that you’re in my heart. I love you and I want you to flourish.
About the author
Reverend Cassandra Rae is an unexpected minister! She was raised evangelical Baptist and spent her twenties as an angry atheist. Then she had a medical crisis, which launched her onto a spiritual journey of healing and self-discovery. Now she's an advocate for an empowered spirituality that embraces your humanity as the path of knowing your divinity.
About the Centre for Spiritual Living White Rock
We believe that spiritual community is key in living a life of purpose and meaning. We gather to inspire, support, and invite heartfelt connection that empowers the soul.