The entire world is settling into a new reality, at least for a while. One natural response is fear and anxiety. Another is anger and frustration. Both responses aren’t very productive though, because they not only create suffering, but also weaken your immune system.
So let’s take a new tack on what’s going on. It’s certainly a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I’m 64 and I can tell you that I’ve never experienced anything like this before. In some ways, it’s like wartime, where life suddenly shifts beneath your feet in a way you never anticipated. But unlike war, most of us are not in immediate danger and have simply been asked to stay in place. Be still.
How unfamiliar to most of us! We’re used to running around and being busy all day. How can we just stay home and not socialize at parties and restaurants? Our first reaction might be to zone out on the computer or cell phone or binge online.
But think again. What an opportunity this is! So many of us are on a kind of personal or family retreat for a while. We’re literally being forced to stop and take a break. Breathe. STOP. Go outside. Nature is happy. The noise has quieted and you can hear the breeze and the birds. Dolphins have returned to the canals in Venice. Pollution is clearing. The Earth is taking a breather too.
Now you also have more time to play with your kids. Learn to cook new things — or finally learn to cook, period! (I’ve now learned to cook Chinese food and am baking my own bread and pizza.) Take a hike. Read a book. Try your hand at drawing or knitting or sewing or fixing things around the house. Clean! Play cards. Play an instrument. Dance. Find ways to exercise at home.
Now’s also your opportunity to sit alone, reflect, and ponder a few questions. After all, your soul and spirit have decided to live through this unusual time. What is the deeper meaning and purpose of these events for our world? And what is the meaning and purpose for you personally?
Get out a notebook or pad of paper and start a journal. Here’s a few questions to consider:
Am I happy?
What do I want to let go of? Things, ideas, people?
What do I really love doing? How can I do more of that?
Am I stuck in some way?
What’s limiting me in my life? How am I limiting myself? How can I let go of these limits?
Note that we often become stuck or self-limited because we fear that change may result in a loss of some kind or hardship. Or we may fear the risk of a bad outcome. But remember that even a bad outcome will teach you something new.
Am I happy in my work? How can I modify my work life to bring me more happiness? How can I pursue what I really love?
Am I happy in my relationships? What can I change or how can I change in order to bring what I really want in my relationships?
Am I making enough time for relaxation in my life?
How can I take better care of my body and emotions and mind? Healthier food? Exercise? Meditation? New therapies?
How can I better serve my community or family in a way that also makes me happy?
How can I find more kindred spirits to hang out with?
What are my talents and strengths? (Note: Everyone has them). How can I best use my talents?
What is my purpose in this life? (Hint: The answer can often be found in who you are, your life story, your inherent gifts, and what you love to do.)
What is my dream life? What can I imagine into being?
What legacy do I want to leave behind?
I’m sure you can think of more questions. Keep taking notes. Not only will your journal be a document that you can always come back to when things have returned back to “normal”, but it will also serve as a kind of promise to yourself. To your inner self. You can do it!