This crisis can break us, but what if it makes us?

This crisis can break us, but what if it makes us? What if we wake up to the seductive ways in which we fell asleep? We are being called home to our shelters and to ourselves. We have been breathless with busy. And maybe a virus that attacks the lungs has a message for us.

Retreat. Come home. Now is the time to observe our habits and renegotiate the relationship we have with ourselves. We have permission to pause and become reacquainted with ourselves. Most of us have been trying to outrun the quiet where self-reflection and the Truth reside and where we observe the ways in which we may have become unconscious.

This great pause reminds us there is nowhere to hide. There is not enough booze, junk food, Netflix, busyness, or business to disguise the fact that we must rise to the responsibility of taking care of ourselves. The cacophony of our lives has drowned out the desperate plea for a pace that nourishes rather than punishes. We crave a cadence that intimately understands what is enough. Where there were pieces of ourselves scattered about, let there be peace.

Rarely do our teachers appear as we would expect or want. Cloaked as a virus, this teacher expects us to show up for class. And we want to learn everything we can.

Here is our homework that takes us beyond the basics and leans towards the bodacious:

Tea-A tea ritual is one of refinement, a practice designed to awaken us, especially at a time when our defenses pull us towards numbing binges (food, watching, social media etc.). Prepare and consume one cup of tea in silence every day. No doing, only being. Congratulations. We now have a mindfulness practice, sans mountain top and robe.

Organize-Whoosh. In what felt like seconds, our delusion of control is gone. Boy, do we miss it. So let’s gain some mastery over our space by organizing one spot every day. Setting a timer for 15 minutes, we can liberate ourselves from whatever no longer serves us, appreciate what we have, and set ourselves up for feeling successful.

Plan day- Embrace the gulp of white space on our calendars as a canvas. A vision for the day provides scaffolding in a world that feels wobbly and uncertain. Checking in with ourselves daily allows us to get a read on our capacity in terms of energy and clarity balanced with external commitments and family demands. We are collectively compromised so we need to be real. Identifying 3 things we commit to complete and doing them, we set ourselves up to be successful. Defeated, we stay stuck. Compassionate and clear, we rise.

Cry-Permission to fall apart granted. Getting up is not optional. Let’s own the anxiety and respect the trauma inherent in this pandemic. It is legit and deserves to take real estate in our days as long as we don’t slip into indulgence. We can cry until we have drained every drop, or if we fear there is no end, then set a timer for 15 mins and sob.

News limits-Our minds are the gates to our immune systems and we must fortify and patrol that fortress. Turning off the news reminds us of our responsibility to cultivate our own thoughts., tame our minds, and curate content that supports us. Rather than paralyses us in fear. We need to discern how much is enough for us to feel informed without tipping into panic.
Ask does this information empower or debilitate? The same applies to social media. Screw “comparisonitis”, especially now as we need to strengthen and prop ourselves up.

Bubble bath-In our attempt to make sense of the unfathomable, we are living neck up and we need to reattach our heads with our bodies. Hydrotherapy -bubble bath or shower-allows us to take the elevator down and inhabit our physical selves again. Rinsing off the debris of the day, the fears wash way. Then we can begin again with a renewed sense of purpose.

Poop- Yup, potty talk. We gotta get rid of old sh!t. We can settle on our throne and flush the waste of the day 1-2x daily. Add ground flax seed and eat real food to encourage the process. A tough ask during a TP shortage, but there will never be a more ideal time tor regulate ourselves.

Boundaries- What was a bedroom is now also an office. Where there were distinctions like school time, work time, family time, there are now none. What was meal time is now a day long buffet. There is no off duty. Blurred lines everywhere. Chaos magnifies fear so let’s gain as much clarity as possible. Establish a start and end time for work, school etc. Commit to a consistent meal time to quiet the urge to graze. Using the phone’s alarm, enact the time-tested bell ringing to signify transitions. When the lines between us feel pencil thin and a Sharpie border is what’s needed, we can find a nook or favorite chair that we can call our own. A time out.

Feel Good List- Brain dump a list of all the things that make us feel good. When we start circling the drain, we forget we have permission to feel good. Capturing what makes us feel good in an accessible list gives us alternatives to slumming it with our habits and thoughts. We interrupt the Pavlovian and often destructive responses and replace them with what delights us. A bubble bath, foot massage, singing, bird watching candle light ..These goodies sprinkled throughout the day shift us from deprivation and catatonic dismay to joy.

COVID 19 School has been open for weeks and will be in session for months to come. Don’t play hookey. We have been given the assignment to study ourselves and our habits. This crisis will change us. Let’s make sure we have some say in how. This collective exhale liberates us from the tyranny of our expectations. We may not be able to go out so let’s go inward.

Katie