A word of encouragement for navigating the challenges of COVID19.
As we all come to terms with the fact that nothing is "normal" right now - from buying groceries to finding toilet paper, from working (or not working) to educating our children, from engaging with others online to tending to our self-care - it is perfectly human and normal to be sensing the strain of constant flux.
Here is what some of us are discovering... One of the best ways we can navigate these turbulent times with compassion and grace (for ourselves and others) is to allow our expectations to become more fluid.
Fluid expectations does not mean there are no expectations. It simply means that we meet each day, each moment, each breath with an openness to adjust our response and/or our decisions to match the circumstances of that moment, opting towards love and kindness that will support the greatest good and cause the least amount of harm.
In other words, being fluid with our expectations enables us to observe and accept reality as it unfolds - moment by moment - without placing unnecessary demands on ourselves or others that are founded upon assumptions or ideals that are not currently accessible or reasonably attainable. For example, trying to juggle both 40 hours of productive work along with 40 hours of optimal, creative, and joy-filled education is simply an impossible expectation for anyone to live into right now. Especially if education is not your gifting or expertise.
Doing what you can - and truly allowing that to be enough - requires that we adjust our expectations so that we are not adding to the strain of circumstances that are beyond our control. And, that adjustment requires constant refinement and realignment right now so that we do not add to the trauma we are all experiencing right now, in one way or another.
Towards this end, one of the best ways we can help develop more fluid expectations is through the practice of mindfulness. As you take a few minutes to be mindful of your breath or any other focal point, you increase your capacity to be fully present to the other moments of your day. Here are just a few ideas for how you might consider cultivating mindfulness:
One way to practice mindfulness is through the use of short guided meditations. There are ample resources available, including our new library.
Another way is to take a few minutes to drink some water. As you drink, sip by sip, see if you can focus your attention on the temperature of the water, the sensation of the water as it moves through your body, and the way the glass or cup looks and feels in your hand.
Walk outside for a moment. Close your eyes and notice what you smell, what you hear, what you feel (maybe it's warm or cool, humid or dry).
Read Scripture or another spiritual text that brings you comfort. Pick a short passage, and read it slowly. Pause and reflect on what stands out - a phrase, a word. Re-read the passage, noticing this time how the experience of that phrase or word expands. Pause and reflect on where that experience leads your thoughts or emotions. Re-read the passage once more, opening yourself to discern what the invitation of that phrase or word might be for you in this moment. Pause and reflect one last time, considering how you might authentically respond to or live into that invitation.
Beyond mindfulness, having people you can openly talk to right now about the challenges you are facing can be a tremendous help in discerning what responses or 'next steps' might be most helpful and authentic to you.
We would be honored to journey with you during this difficult time by providing spiritual care or nutritional support without obligation to donate or subscribe to one of our membership options. Just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, use the contact form on the site, or call. We will gladly schedule time with you!
Above all, allow love and kindness to lead you - and remember that you are not alone! We are all in this together. What's more, God is with us. If you doubt that, look a little closer... the Divine finger prints of God can be seen all over the ways humanity has sought to collectively save as many lives as we can, and in the countless numbers of medical staff around the world who are risking their own lives to serve others.
May God's wisdom and light illuminate our way through this pandemic and help us rebuild on the other side in ways that will lead to healing and restoration!