I would like to begin this post with heartfelt condolences to any and all who have been affected by the current situation. While I am about to write about an ultimately positive outlook on the crisis, I have no intention or desire to downplay the pain, suffering, and loss that many are experiencing currently. I myself have not gone unscathed.
That said, I know of no better way to face such time as this than with strength, fortitude, and RESILIENCE. This does not mean that we do not honor our authentic feelings (fear, sadness, confusion), but that once honored, we turn them into fuel for the fire of our survival.
In this light, I offer the following:
Conspiracy theories and doomsday sensationalism aside, I would like to consider that World War III is upon us.
Not in the way people have thought or predicted, that is, a war of all nations against one another. Instead, we find ourselves engaged in a war involving all nations against an invisible microbial enemy that we have labeled COVID-19.
While many arguments could be rendered that we have brought this upon ourselves via our tinkering with nature, now is not the time for the “blame game,” or to be hyper critical of those who are doing their absolute best to guide us through.
As CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield has said, “The virus will be with us.”
Therefore, however it may have come about, it is here, and we are destined to have to deal with it physically, mentally, and spiritually as individuals, and as a collective society.
Regarding the latter, I wish to highlight something that has inspired great hope within my own heart in light of this crisis:
Humanity is RISING.
While it is true that we are going to witness many people behaving poorly in reaction to their fear, we are also going to witness an unprecedented UNITY evolving between all people united against a common enemy. This is a “GRACE under pressure.”
We are actually seeing more people working to be their absolute best selves in the midst of this hardship. Dignity and compassion are becoming more regular, and kindness and civility are becoming the “new norm.”
Let us pray that this will hold in the coming months as the fallout continues and intensifies, and may we not quickly forget the lessons we are learning during this evolution. May our awakening to our shared humanness and need for continued UNITY persist, so that no further lessons will be needed.
And so, the reader may ask, “What can I do in the midst of this challenge?” “How can I honor and be my “best self” in these times?
First, I would encourage that we all focus first upon GROUNDING and CENTERING ourselves in that one of the first things that happens when a person encounters danger is a loss of cognitive function due to the activation of the sympathetic nervous system (Fight, Flight, Freeze). This is experienced mentally and emotionally as a sensation of disconnect that people often describe as “confusion,” “spinning,” and/or even “dizziness.”
We are therefore encouraged to learn methods of activating the parasympathetic nervous system, which balances and regulates sympathetic arousal. This can be accomplished via numerous exercises inspired by both science and spirituality, and I have developed this resource that I consider to contain the “Top Four” methods psychology currently has to offer:
Parasympathetic Response: The Big Four
Second, I believe now is time that we are called to “rise to the occasion.” Rather than sit in fear, or lament the inconveniences, now is the time to “step up” and do our part. When we do this, we resist the tendency towards isolation, and we are able to ward off depressive thoughts and feelings.
Let us all therefore consider all that we CAN do currently. Some will find themselves on the “front lines” of the crisis providing healthcare and/or leadership. Others may work more “behind the scenes” to assist in our efforts to all survive through and thrive within the pandemic.
It is encouraging to note here that EVERY job is equally important, and no-one is better than another. The virus does not discriminate, and neither ought we if we hope to win this war.
Lastly, I want to emphasize the importance of “Self Care” during these times. If we hope to be able to assist our families, communities, and world, we must first ensure our own health and wellbeing. Another resource is provided here:
Together, we are better than this malignant microbial mutation, and united we will prove to be stronger, and better because of it. We will face this enemy with INTEGRITY and RESOLVE, and we will WIN.
And let our highest hope be that this will truly be:
The war that ends all wars.