This altered state reality of self-isolation generates fear and anxiety.On top of that, the usual places and people that we turn to for soothing and grounding may not now be available, at least in person. This is a time to be tender and careful with self.
Mindfulness is a lot easier when the world is not experiencing a crisis and sometimes our tools for self-care and self-realization feel thrown out the window. It is hard to feel grounded when it feels like the ground is constantly shifting.
It is really easy to fall into a cycle of worry. Whatever limited sense of control that we thought we had now feels highly diminished. Our news media and social networks are full of Covid-19 information and misinformation and many of the narratives play directly to our fears. Not allowing our selves to get swept up into the current zeitgeist of anxiety requires psychic, emotional and spiritual energy.
It takes enormous energy to stay positive throughout an ongoing crisis. It takes enormous energy to adapt to all the new and sometimes challenging realities in our day-to-day lives. It takes enormous energy connecting to others via video chat platforms.
I keep reminding myself that everyone is doing the best they can with what they have; unfortunately, there are times we may all feel diminished due to the pandemic. Before I reply to that not-so-nice email, I try to remember that everyone’s emotions right now are raw and intense. When I can, I try to allow myself to experience the fear that flows from uncertainty and then let it go. I accept the fact that there is very little control in the universe. I also remind myself that I may not be able to plan for the future however I am fully fine right here in the present and for that, I am extremely grateful. I am also fully aware that my experience of being intact is not universal. Many people are feeling very fragmented right now.
Prayer and prayer-like action can demonstrate and reflect love and compassion. I sense that the core of our Covid-19 anxiety is fear of mortality. Living fully and serving others is a powerful antidote to fear of death. Focusing on self, alone, is the kind of energy that led to the hoarding of toilet paper. This does not bring about peace and healing. The key is that we collaborate and not compete – there is enough.
If you have time and emotional capacity, reach out, maybe volunteer. If you need a hand, try to make a call to ask for help. We are finding new ways to connect, share and embrace. This is the time to be kind, patient and strive to be our aspirational selves.
Rabbi Harry Brechner is Rabbi of Congregation of Emanu-El in Victoria, B.C.
You cn read more articles on our interfaith blog, Spiritually Speaking, HERE
This article was published in the print edition of the Times Coloniost on Saturday, Nay 9th 2020
* Photo - The kind neighbour. This illustration depicts how kindness between neighbours has gotten stronger now we're facing the Covid-19 confinement. It aims to honour the empathy we're feeling for one another. Image created by Fernando Cobelo. Submitted for United Nations Global Call Out To Creatives - help stop the spread of COVID-19.)