How do we keep our calm, maintain our cool, manage to go on with everyday life as though we have some amazing future when the reality is that we can hardly even imagine what tomorrow looks like? Each day, we turn on the news to statistics that are more traumatizing than the night before, and sooner or later, you start finding out that friends and distant family members are suffering or dying from COVID-19… friends that were at the brunch you were supposed to attend but made some last minute ditch… or you get the news that elders you’ve worked with in the past have, suddenly and unexpectedly, succumbed to this mysterious virus.
We are surrounded by uncertainty… the world is practically falling apart around us. The reality is that our strong nation isn’t so strong, and it only took one missed pay period to send our nation crashing into economic turmoil! That six months worth of living expenses your mother told you to save for your whole life sounds really promising right about now, sans the fact that you never sacrificed long enough to put it away. Those Instagram worthy vacations and latest fashion fads seemed much more important than living as though you weren’t making all that new money with your newly earned college degree!
Roughly 40% of Americans already couldn’t afford an unexpected $400.00 emergency expense and the majority of single people under the age of 34 only have about $2,700.00 in savings! In some cities, our monthly bills are more than that. How will we ever make it?
Major businesses are crumbling with no contingency plans in place. Millions of workers are being laid off, and the death toll is rapidly rising. On top of that, we are on house arrest… it’s for the greater good, but we are literally confined to our homes indefinitely, during the most wonderful time of the year, the time when people want to get out and enjoy nature with the sun kissing their winter ridden skin.
Let’s step away from being inside of the turmoil and truly consider the macro-picture of what is going on right now. Take a moment to do a self check. Are you physically present? Are you able to read this article? Are you breathing? Take a moment to blink…to close your eyes in gratitude.
Now, consider, we are at war with something we cannot see to defeat...an invisible enemy has come to ravish our nation, to reset environmental balance by reducing the population tremendously within a matter of weeks. Take that in… hold onto it… breathe in it.
Understand that in order to win in war, you must be able to develop a sense of equanimity. You have to prepare your body, your spirit, and your mind to withstand the reality of truth that surrounds us. That reality is that for the next few months (indefinitely), we will be in social isolation. For the next few months, you will see death more closely than you ever imagined. For the next few months, you will stand by, helplessly, watching the thread of our nation unravel.
These next few months will be a defining moment in history, no different than the Bubonic Plague or the Influenza Pandemic that wiped out between 20-40 million people in 1918. In these moments, you have a choice to make. After we seriously process the psycho-social-emotional trauma that this has and will continue to cause, we can choose how this moment in time will define the rest of our lives. We can choose to sink into the depths of nothingness, hopelessness, defeat, or we can use this as a time to accept the universe’s command, telling us to sit the heck down, and make a reality of resilience and prosperity! It's all in how you perceive it...
I did not want to write another article simply giving you generic tools to use during this time. I want to leave you with a survivor’s mentality toolkit. So… let’s lean in as we decide to be warriors who live to tell our stories, vividly, heroically, but most importantly, presently!
Develop an Acceptance Mentality
All that we know is that we don’t know! You have to accept that this is simply a moment in time where you will have to adapt to a new normal. You will have to find balance and happiness in these moments. You will have to be creative. You will have to learn a new way of existing… and guess what, it will be OKAY! Even in the worst circumstances, even if people are not going to make it, we must hold on to the reality that as a species, humans are resilient and one of the most adaptable species on the planet. You should find comfort in that reality. Push through!
Understand that we are not independent of the universe… as every other species exists in union with earth, so do we.
Environmental scientists, as best they can, inform the general population of what’s to come. Our leaders tend to be too focused on capitalistic gains to prepare for their forewarning, but the universe shows no mercy for ignorance. When we have built too much on her land, she shifts, causing horrific natural disasters that swallow up thousands of people within moments. When the world seems so caught up with technology and multitasking on autopilot that we cannot take a moment to be still and exist with her, she has decided to force us into stillness. Listen to mother nature... sit still. Operate in unison with natural flow of life.
Just like environmental change inevitably happens every million or so years, pandemics have a cycle in which they occur. We just happen to be around to witness its devouring effects.
Take this moment as an opportunity to disconnect from social dependency, validation, and distraction and reconnect with yourself. Listen to your spirit. Do those things you always say you don’t have time to do. Mother nature has given you time to advance yourself. There's a quote on the internet that says "six months of hardcore focus and alignment can put you five years ahead in life." We have a choice to make. Will we use this time to gain or will we use this time to simply exist in fear, worry, dread, and excuses to give up?
Understand that you are not in control and find peace in that.
There is only one way we are leaving this planet! Baby, we are all going to die. It’s an unfortunate truth, but it is a truth, nonetheless. So, instead of fixating on that moment of demise, think about how you will live, each day. What legacy will you leave? How will you inspire those around you. How will you seek to be remembered? What will you give the world? Now, go do that thing! Or a small piece of that thing each day... or… use this time to plan for that thing...
Have faith in knowing that you are always provided for… see it, envision it, believe it and do not panic!
People, we are okay! There are resources. Ask for help if you need it. Trust that no matter the devastating circumstances that you believe are coming to consume you, tap into your divine being’s resources, walk in true faith, and remind yourself that you are provided for. Even if it doesn't seem that way, you must know that miracles can and will happen. Do you believe?
Lean into the earth’s rejuvenating and restorative ability. Be renewed.
This is a time when we can be new. Whoever you were yesteryear, you don’t have to be anymore. You can recreate who you are by truly making a concentrated effort to be different, every day. You can journal without the stringent time constraints of having to wake up two hours early in preparation of work nor sit in traffic for an extra hour at the end of your day. You can listen to guided meditations, you can learn a new language… you can RESET your finances by choosing to ONLY purchase essentials (because COVID-19 is living on boxes and some delivery people are spitting on them purposely! #staywoke!) and actually have that six months of savings at the end of this.
I asked my 97 year old grandmother how she made it through World War II, Jim Crow, and all the other catastrophic periods in history that have become survival stories. She told me that each day, she finds something to be grateful for. She finds a way to say thank you to her higher being and to have faith that tomorrow will always be better. Friends, I hope that you take this moment to be grateful as well… grateful for the life you have or the life you’ve experienced with others. The beautiful people who have come and gone and the not so beautiful people who have helped you develop character.
And… I want you to also be grateful for this period in time, where we, humans, have been forced to slow down and lean into our faith, our families, ourselves… where we will learn and adapt to a new reality, a better reality.
If you need therapeutic support to help maintain your mental stamina through this period and have an assigned therapist or Medicaid, Precision Health Solutions may be able to help you, a loved one, or a child cope through virtual therapeutic behavioral sessions and therapeutic coaching. For more information, be sure to visit their website or contact them at www.myprecisionhealth.net, firstname.lastname@example.org , or by phone 301-591-1708.
Stay sane out there, friends!