We are in unprecedented times.
I hear this at least twice a day, and while it is true at the moment, at some point those words will cease to mean anything. Times like these will become, are already becoming, the norm. The fragile glass bubble of ignorance has been shattered. That which we worked so hard to encase in the box of blissful denial has escaped and is wreaking havoc on our reality.
I am as guilty as anyone of thinking it won't happen to me, or to anyone I love. I am as guilty of turning off the news because I don't want to hear it -- don't want to know. Now I cannot afford not to know. Now comes the problem of weeding out who to listen to -- who has the fewest MO's, or the MO's I take the fewest issues with.
People are dying, but I'm not sure how many.
It depends on what news channel you are
watching. Things are political and financial when perhaps they shouldn't be, but we have built our country on these principles, these "values". This invisible enemy has taken so much of the world's focus that all the other lesser evils are being carried out, in the open, under our noses, and viewed as no big deal in comparison. COVID-19 is providing the cover for more deadly friendly fire like greed and power mongering.
People are losing their loved ones, not able to even say goodbye -- and we are blocking hospital entrances with our cars to protest not being able to buy plants or use our motorized boats -- blind to how "protecting our rights" is literally taking the rights of others away. This blindly wandering sheep behavior is, in part, what led to this pandemic. It is also what will eventually be our end if we are not careful. This crisis is making that crystal clear.
So, where's the balance?
Externally, I can see balance in the colorful signs in doors and windows thanking our first responders, our postal workers, our delivery people, and our grocery store clerks. I can see it in every positive social media post. I can see it in the eyes of the families taking selfies on game nights -- nights that didn't exist before this pandemic. I can see it in the callused fingers of those voluntarily making washable masks from their own supplies to donate to folks who need them. I can see it in every person who maintains social distancing, who stays at home, and who wears the proper gear if they have to go out. I am so grateful for these kind hearts, these keepers of the balance, these often unsung heroes.
Internally, however, balance is another matter. It takes diligent self-work, moment to moment. It takes constant checking in with oneself to make sure you're not just ignoring what your body and your emotions are telling you in order to just "keep calm and carry on". It's allowing for the fear, the anger, the sadness, the hopelessness, and all the other emotions to they can be released, counterbalanced, put to good use. It's allowing others to be who they are, to have their opinions and their freedoms, whether or not you agree with them.
It's breathing deeply and letting go, every time he steps up to that podium and speaks. It's knowing when being informed is out of balance with your own sanity. It's allowing yourself a good cry if that's what you need to be able to do what needs doing that day. It's protecting yourself from external stimuli in these sensitive and vulnerable moments. It is being support and seeking support from those in your life that are capable and available for that.
Balance is taking stock of all the goodness in your life and hoping, trusting that this is not the end.
So, how do I find balance?
I watch these folks eat lunch: https://www.facebook.com/terracottageceramics/
I met The Mud Poet at the Ann Arbor Art Fair two years ago, and I discovered a person from the same soul cluster as me. He and his family are the very best kind of people -- the kind I want more of in my life. Since the quarantine, they have been sharing their vegan lunches with us, including nut orders, charity events to raise money for first responders and some great food ideas. I hear there may be a tour of the studio coming up too. Michael and his family are a joy, and I look forward to purchasing more of his beautiful work. www.terracottageceramics.com
I put on mantra in the background. Listening to the calm and harmonious devotion of mantra always makes me feel more at peace. If I cannot stop what I am doing to meditate or do some yoga, I put on some mantra to help me along.
Here are a few of my favorites on YouTube:
I journal or blog. Not all entries make it into the places where they can be read publicly, but it can be such a nice release just to get the feelings out and off my chest. Whether I am physically hand writing in a journal, typing into my blog or verbally vomiting into the voice recorder on my phone, there is much to be said for the therapeutic benefits of getting out that which may feel stuck inside.
I participate in art. Whether I am looking online at the beauty others have created, or I am making beauty of my own, I find art opens the window and frees me from the prison of my thoughts and negativity. Here are a few of the places I like to go to get my art fix on Instagram:
I get physical. I take the dogs for a walk. I do some stretching or some yoga. I dance in the kitchen while I cook. I do some kriya. I bounce on my trampoline. I go outside and rake up some leaves or clear out my flowerbeds. I re-pot houseplants. Whatever gets my body moving and my endorphins flowing. It's so important in this time of stagnation that we not be stagnant. Besides, physical activity is a surefire way to lessen depression and to increase productivity.
Even better, get physical with the people you are quarantined with, or by video with people you're not!
This time is a time for discovering who we are, when things aren't quite what we need or expect. This is a time for finding our how resourceful and creative we are. This is a time for working through our inner issues so we can be better people in this new world that is forming. This time is a great time to find out what makes us feel balanced, and use it. Balance comes from within ourselves. Nice that we have a chance to sit down, delve in and spend some time there. Use it well.