The welcome news of a COVID vaccine arriving soon is tempered by the warning to stay vigilant for some months to come. Cold winter days and social isolation don’t mix well. So what to do? How to abide in these unprecedented times?
A phrase I recite daily as part of my spiritual practice is …
“Like waves in the ocean, all things are impermanent. I must take whatever happens and make it my friend.”
It helps to contemplate impermanence and to remember that this virus too will pass. But make this period my friend?
I’m challenging myself to adhere to a plan, in the interest in making friendship with what is.
- Set an intention at the start of the day. Remembering that this day (moment) has never been here before and will never be here again, I’ll intend to make it meaningful and to use my time wisely.
- Do ½ to 1 hour of breathing and meditation practice in the morning before breakfast. But if that isn’t viable, practice even for a few minutes each day.
- Record three things for which I’m grateful, every day, and steep in gratitude for each one.
- Aim to get outdoors in fresh air, even if it means bundling up and walking up and down the block.
- Work on “accepting the things I can’t change, changing the things I can and having the wisdom to know the difference.”
- Practice yoga and cardiovascular fitness, 3 – 5 times a week.
- Study, read, learn and improve my skills.
- Engage in community and remain connected.*
- Eat healthier and more mindfully.
- Practice generosity during this time when so many people are struggling.
- Sit with unpleasant emotions that are sure to arise and offer comfort and compassion.
- Refrain from beating myself up if I don’t live up to my aspirations.
Many of us don’t have the luxury of using time in isolation for introspection and personal growth. Exhausted healthcare personnel work long, grueling hours. Some families struggle to put food on the table. Teachers and students are stressed out from the challenges of working/learning online. Throughout the country, people are living in overcrowded conditions with little privacy. Individuals are putting themselves at risk in low paying jobs to keep things going.
If your basic needs are being met, perhaps it’s a time to help move the culture forward by cultivating qualities like mindfulness, compassion, lovingkindness, well-being, generosity, patience, acceptance, creativity and wisdom during this period of quarantine. Our families need the best of us, as does our community and our country – now more than ever. So …… what is your plan?
*Tapestry Community Conversations, Thursday evening Mindfulness sessions, and the Dharma Practice Group all offer low or no cost opportunities to be in community with people seeking to cultivate most of the qualities mentioned above. Together, we can be the change we wish to see in the world.