“Throw your heart over the fence and the rest will follow”~ Norman Vincent Peale
I need the rest. And the quiet. It’s what we all need. If you have Covid-19 your body is engaged in a war to keep it at bay and ward off pneumonia, with zinc, mucinex, lemon tea and every home remedy your mother ever taught you. If you don’t have it, you are confronting uncertainty, isolation, and fear (whether it’s yours or your neighbors,) probably with ludicrous amounts of Purell and Clorox on hand. Either way, you need some rest, some peace, some quiet.
Whichever camp this finds you in today, the practice is to unwind. Settle in. What a unique opportunity this is! You don’t have to solve anything. And guess what you can’t. Not today anyway. I love the line in a yoga nidra I often listen to ( a full body relaxation meditation,) “There is nowhere to go, There is nothing to do.”
Remind yourself of this today, and rest here.
I think the most difficult times in my life, and the most anxiety producing ones have been with illness – one summer recovering from a bad viral pneumonia, and another season with Lyme disease. Both these times I learned about convalescing. How frustrating it is, how much patience it requires, and how helpless you are. Yet, despite being pretty physically uncomfortable, there was good. I was forced to slow down, read books, and lay around in the sunshine.
Both these experiences brought anxiety, first because I was trying to keep up with the life I was living, and the responsibilities I had taken on. And I was exhausted, and the sense of not being able to get my head above water was overwhelming. I just couldn’t do it. I didn’t have a choice but to surrender to all the things that were out of my control, namely my strength, or lack thereof. It took me the better part of the summer to get back “up and running.” I felt anxious and behind the eight ball about how weak I was, but also with trying to keep up with my sports marketing job, which demanded a high gear I thrived in, until I didn’t. During that time, my mom gave me Norman Vincent Peale’s Power of Positive Thinking. There was something infectious in that book (in a good way!), and from that point on, I developed a prayer life that has carried me to, well, writing this blog now.
I came out of that downspell after several months, but not in time to escape the second round of layoffs at my small firm. Not a huge confidence boost, knowing my summer of under performance had undoubtedly contributed to the hatchet coming down on my desk.
Shortly after I was laid off my dad got very sick and then died while on vacation. I was able to be there to help navigate those difficult days, and I had a prayer life to grab onto, which helped keep me afloat.
Then came reflection and assessment of what I wanted to be doing with my life and why, which prompted an immensely fulfilling move into the nonprofit world.
A similar experience when I was sidelined with Lyme disease, during which time meditation helped me keep my sanity. A few months after getting my strength back, I began a formal study of yoga, meditation and Ayurveda (the sister science of yoga,) which also brings me to where I am now. Which is: feeling my way through all this Corona craziness.
Resting. Taking it seriously; still not loving all the uncertainty, or being sick, but, confident it will pass. Experience reminds me that overthinking the future or analyzing the past isn’t going to help me.
Quiet time is.
And, I know in my heart, that the best way through, IS with faith and gratitude. Faith; in a caring and loving God who every day shows up in the way of loving, supportive, and spirited friends, family, and neighbors. And Gratitude, for a resilient body and mind, and in some weird way, for this whole catastrophe.
Many of us have found God through suffering. We are different people, better people, because of what we endured. We have been able to look back on these periods with increased insight into ourselves, greater understanding of the mystery of human life and a deeper bond with God.”~ Brother David Vryhof