November 24, 2020

Covid-19 isn’t the only contagion out there

A few days ago I was listening to a sociologist talking on the radio about the current coronavirus pandemic. He said something that really caught my attention.

He mentioned the empty grocery store shelves and the widespread panic buying of toilet paper. This kind of hoarding, he said, is obviously driven by fear – fear of the future, fear of the unknown, fear of losing control.

His comments hit home with me. I have to confess to a bit of hoarding myself. A couple of weeks ago when the health crisis was ramping up, I followed some advice I found on Facebook.

I went to the grocery store and stocked up on dried beans, rice and pasta. I didn’t buy a grocery cart full, but I got more than we needed.

Feelings are contagious

I experienced first-hand what the sociologist was talking about. Fear is contagious, he said. But so is calm. The more people remain calm, the more that feeling can spread.

So I got to thinking about what makes me calm. Two things come to mind immediately – exercise and journaling.

I’ve always been into exercise. I’ve done it regularly for so long that I really enjoy it, whether I’m walking, swimming or doing yoga.

And as you might guess, journaling helps me find a calm place in my spirit. That’s probably because journaling gives me perspective on conflicts and challenges. It helps me tune into my inner wisdom and offers guidance when I need it.

The many benefits of staying calm

Therapist John Harrison said this about finding calm in our lives:

“It is in our calmness that we connect with others.  It is in our calmness that we see clearly.  It is in our calmness that we navigate difficult conflict.  It is in our calmness that we heal.  When we are calm, our rational mind has the ability to see a greater reality.  We can see that we are not our problems, we are not our negative self-talk.”

As we navigate this troubling period, I encourage you to find that calm place inside yourself and hold onto it. Today’s Writing Spark is designed to guide you to that place.

Writing spark

Philosopher and blogger Jeff Urmston writes about how he achieved a level of calm on an extremely turbulent plane flight. When the violent mid-air bumping and bobbing stopped, nearby passengers told him that his calm behavior helped them hold onto their composure.

I like how he expresses what calmness means.

“In many meditative traditions a calm, clear mind is often said to be like a still pond under a full moon. The smooth surface is transparent, allowing the moonlight to clearly illuminate the bottom of the pond. It is also like a mirror, reflecting back in perfect detail the moon and the night sky.”

Close your eyes, take three deep breaths and picture a place where you found peace and serenity. Maybe it would be a place on an ocean beach or in the mountains. For me, it’s on the shimmering and aqua beaches of Maui with mountains in the background.

Notice colors and sounds and shapes. Fire up all your senses and recall smells and anything you might touch.

Then write down the scene in your journal.

Here’s an added spark:

Make a list of things that help you find a calm place. Is it meditation or exercise? Perhaps you like to play an instrument. Whatever works for you, put it on your list and then do it.

In the meantime, stay safe and stay calm.

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