For some of us, the heavy “pause” mandated by quarantine is the first time we’ve had down time in ages. What if this forced down time is a gift? What if it’s an opportunity to get the rest and clarity we so desperately long for and need?
What can we learn from disruptions like this? How can we transform a shocking event into an opportunity for self examination and care?
It’s an odd time, to be sure. We find ourselves forced into unexpected isolation. But there is a difference between being lonely and being alone. I wonder what healing we would find if we shifted our perspective and saw this as a gift of solitude and retreat, a unique opportunity for withdrawal from the daily hustle that demands our attention and strains our focus?
The way I see it, this is a sort of “spiritual time-out”, an opportunity to distance ourselves from the things that we would normally allow to control us in order to become grounded. We can use this integrated distance from daily over-saturation and hurry and substance abuse (be it overspending or technology or the need for affirmation from others) to practice being present, to really listen to what your body and emotions are telling you, to nourish them, and to learn yourself at a deeper level.
It is a gift to put space between the things that usually dictate your time, to cleanse your body and mind, and to tend to the needs of your body and soul.
But where do we even begin in tending to those needs?
Honor Your Feelings
Honor your feelings in this moment. What name would you give them? Are you restless? Anxious? Afraid?
I’ve been feeling “off” since quarantine began. After wrestling with my emotions, I discovered that what I was feeling was actually grief, an aching for the loss and fear that lies in COVID-19’s wake.
I want you to know that your feelings are valid. They’re integral to your processing and healing. It’s ok to feel however you’re feeling. Don’t run from your emotions, sit with them and listen to them. Peel them back and see what lies underneath them.
Develop A Contemplative Practice
Every now and then, we need to give ourselves space to think, so that we can move forward with more energy. This inflicted pause is an opportunity to examine where your heart is and what is holding it captive in order to “flip the script” and form a strategy to peacefully and proactively recalibrate and move forward with more intentionality.
Activities like prayer, meditation, study, journaling, breath-work, and moving your body are good ways to examine and nourish your inner being.
This period of unprecedented change demands focused contemplative practice, and therefore will require us to stop, examine, and re-calibrate our busy lives.
Rest and Reset
Rest has been proven time and time again to dramatically increase our well-being … and yet, we don’t do it.
Due to technology advances and constant access to information, the cognitive load on each of us is heavier than ever before. Our minds simply don’t have the capacity to process the ever increasing hurry of everyday life.
When we rest, we come back to ourselves. We reduce the clutter to the essential.
Take this time to rest in solitude and silence, which will increase your inner tranquility and enable you to reset. Rest is the most reliable path to equanimity and peace, and is essential for mental, physical, and spiritual health.
Yes, this time is challenging. But you will be able to grow when you surrender to the reality of what is. You can find energy in gratitude. There is light at the end of the tunnel. How we show up now is predictive of our future in many arenas.
If we see this seeming chaos as an opportunity, we can allow ourselves to sit still, rest, surrender, and examine the life-sustaining dimensions of our deeper self. We can look inward to that sturdy, constant, and life-sustaining force that gives us clarity, energy, and purpose.
Embrace the challenge and re-emerge wiser to become a champion of and for yourself and others.