The virus is virulent but even more contagious and more widespread is fear. This fear extends to all of us and though many of us may not be physically infected we are not immune the effects of this virus. That means we could all use some healing.
While COVID -19 infects the physical body, fear infects the mind. A virus is deemed cured when it goes dormant. Fear is an idea that never goes dormant it simply shifts targets. Corona virus is the target-du-jour. There will be a new target once this one ebbs. In this sense, managing fear is a life-long task.... unless we undo it.
Many do not believe that undoing fear is possible. I did not think so a few years ago. As a panic attack and anxiety sufferer I was told that coping was the best I could hope for. I was a great coper. I got a Ph.D. in it and shared what I had learned with my patients at that time. But then my kids all presented with various forms of anxiety and it broke my heart. Seeing fear in them made me reflect on how hard my life was. Coping with and managing anxiety is exhausting - an actual life sentence. As a mom this was unacceptable. I knew there had to be another way. I wanted more for my kids and for myself and I was not going to stop until I found it.
We no longer need to settle for fear management. This does not have to be yet another situation that we have to cope with. Let's use this pandemic to elevate the standard of care from coping to curing. Let's undo fear together.
1) Separate practical action from fear based action. We can be very practical in our actions without coming from a place of fear. Taking practical steps to avoid spreading germs is just that, practical. Acting from this practical mindset generally does not cause us to feel limited, confined or stressed. It feels like an empowered choice and it allows us to be more creative in our approach to weathering the storm.
In contrast fear based action spreads more fear. It will lead us to feel like victims of our circumstances beyond our control. This in turn creates feelings of stress, anger, FOMO and depression. When feeling impinged upon or unjustly treated the brain strives to assign blame and judgement to the actions of others. The most insidious aspect of fear is its dictate that when we are hurting, we hurt others and feel justified in doing so.
How we frame, explain or justify the actions we take during this unprecedented time is telling. Though the actions we take may look the same, the mindset is what determines the level of stress we endure and pass on to others. I invite you to be mindful of the experiential differences between practical versus fear based action and err on the side of practical.
2) Be a mindful media consumer. If your fear is expanding while watching the media, STOP. We know that fear diminishes our mental capacity - meaning that we are not in our right minds. We are simply not our best self. Pulling out of this space is not denial or ignorance it is quite the opposite, it is a moment of empowered self awareness. In addition to honoring yourself, you are also putting a monkey wrench in the acceptance of and transmission of fear. Same goes for your social contacts - phone calls and face times. If these are focussing on fear, negativity, and projecting doom into the future, STOP. And lastly, if you feel compelled to share fearful intel, pause and choose again. There is nothing more empowering or powerful than refusing to partake in the fear frenzy.
3) Move from waiting for this to be over to embracing the transition. We are going somewhere from here. An it is not supposed to back to life as usual. I learned this one from my second bout of cancer. The waiting game is fear based and change averse. Trying to stay in place in a sea of change is impossible and the resistance creates great strain. It is liberating to recognize that we are in a great transition. Embrace this. Mourn the loss of what was for a day if you feel inclined but not longer than that. It will not serve you.
Transition always opens us up to opportunity yet unforeseen. It is a time of creation and expansion. Seeing this experience from the vantage point of fear, though, will train your focus on loss, sacrifice, and limitation, leaving you with the belief that what is to come is even scarier than what is. Fear begets and expands fear every time - no exceptions. We must get wise to the dialog of fear, the forecasting of doom, the regret, the blame, judgement, victimization and disempowerment lest we fall victim to it. Grievance blocks miracles - we are always looking for one or the other. Which one you focus on makes all the difference.
4) Explore Our Deeper Connection. The main action of fear is to separate us from our 'brothers', while the true or divine purpose of life is communion - coming together as one. Social distancing cannot trump the divine connection that we share with one another on the deepest level.
With connection through physical proximity tabled we have a unique opportunity to explore how we truly connect with others.
Some connections will be technology based. Some will be outdoors 6 feet apart around a fire pit or on a trail. Virtual cocktails anyone?? Those are all fun - but there are other connections that we share that we can also play with. We have all had the experience of thinking about someone and having them call right in that moment. Coincidence? What if it is a deeper connection beyond what we know?
We have been thrust into stillness. For each of us there is a different 'reason' as to why. It is our task to figure this out for ourselves. It is always for growth, goodness and deeper connection to ourselves and others. Never for fear. So go out on a limb, try something new. Meditate. Connect in thought. 'Talk' to those who are not physically there. Send love out from your heart to theirs. Be in constant thought communication with your loved ones and with everyone on the planet. There is so much going on that is non-physical, unseen, and because we move so fast, unexplored. Tap into that in this time of stillness.
For those who would like a little support, I am offering free 30 minutes calls. Let's come together. Let's communicate. Let's collaborate. Let's get creative. Let's love one another. Let's undo fear. We got this....
Stay well, be practical, send love,