Hello, friends. How are you? This is a hard time we are in.
The other night, I couldn’t fall asleep. I had a hard time breathing and couldn’t catch my breath. I couldn’t stop shaking. My thoughts went to: “Oh no! It’s Corona! Who have I made sick?” I ran downstairs to take my temperature. It was a cool 98.7. Then I remembered: “You’re not sick, my dear. This is what it feels like when you have a panic attack. Remember?” Oh, right. Hello, Anxiety.
Hello, Fear. Of course, you’re here. How could you not be? You’ve never been through anything like this before. The whole world is in this together. Life has changed. And you don’t know for how long. Fear, it’s okay that you are here.
But Fear, I want you to know, you are not alone. Do you know who else is here? Love. Compassion. Courage. Friendship. Generosity. Hope. And they are in this for the long haul. They aren’t going anywhere, no matter what happens.
/ / /
For some reason, this image of Love, Compassion, Courage, Friendship, Generosity and Hope surrounding and welcoming Fear settled the anxious knot in my chest. For now.
How are you coping with this time?
I’m leaving my “Follow Trails, Not Rules” sweatshirt in the closet for now. I’m letting my rule-following self have full reign with this social-distancing business. It’s not just about me or my family. It’s not even just about our parents, who are at higher risk for serious illness. But if they get sick and need hospitalization, they are endangering the lives of their caregivers. I’m going to follow these rules as an act of love for those who can’t stop working. For our medical workers and health care system. For the grocery store workers, bless them and thank you.
These days, I’m either wearing my “Carry On” t-shirt or my “Hope Always Wins” t-shirt. Because words matter. And I need hope and courage today.
I’m leaving my phone and the news alone at night and first thing in the morning. I know what I need to do now. Stay home. I need to stay grounded in Love.
I’m practicing Tonglen Meditation. Breathing in those feelings of anxiety and fear. My own and that of others. Breathing out love and courage and peace. For myself and others.
I found a breath prayer that I love. It’s from a prayer by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, SJ.
In the shadow of death
may we not look back to the past,
but seek in utter darkness the dawn of God.
Lord, enfold me in the depths of your heart;
and there hold me,
refine, purge, and set me on fire,
raise me aloft,
until my own self knows utter annihilation.
I’m breathing the prayer: “Lord, enfold me in the depths of your heart; and there hold me.” It reminds me that God is with me. No matter what comes.
We are not alone in this.
Teilhard de Chardin believed that we are all connected. When he talks about the annihilation of the self, I wonder if he’s talking about this idea of my own, individual self that is separate from everyone else. This separated self is an illusion. This pandemic, the speed with which it’s traveled across the globe, illustrates how connected we all are. Our actions matter. To every person across this earth, especially to the most vulnerable among us. How do we spread Love, Compassion, Generosity, Courage, Hope? Now. And in the future to come?
That’s really all that we have control of right now.
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How can I support you in this time? Listening to those who are wrestling with questions about God and meaning and soul, this is my passion. If you are interested in spiritual direction via telephone right now or if you know someone who might be, let me know. I’m happy to offer a listening and prayerful ear. I don’t plan on charging fees for spiritual direction during this time of staying at home. Or if you prefer writing, just drop a note. I’ll write you back.
You are not Alone
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