Coping With The Corona

The Corona is getting on my last nerve! I’m thinking it might be a good time to talk about some coping skills for high stress situations. As many of you know, I practice and teach a spiritually based form of conflict resolution that I learned early in my spiritual walk. (I will go into more depth on the conflict resolution method in future posts.) For now, let’s talk about the inner conflicts we are all experiencing and ways to handle our conflicts so we can live happier, calmer lives even under an unusual amount of stress.

Often, we think of a conflict as being an experience with another person, such as a fight with a friend or anger conjured up by the actions of someone else. While these are certainly examples of conflict, when we pull back to look at the idea of conflict from a spiritual perspective with the aim of healing, the first step is to acknowledge that the place we are experiencing the conflict is inside ourselves. Once we acknowledge that our conflict (the way we are responding to the stressor) exists inside ourselves, it is easier to see that the real issue is not really about something outside us. Yes, an event takes place out there, but the conflict is inside. When we take responsibility for our own inner conflict, we have all the power we need to heal it.

For example, when we look at the pandemic, we see that the conflicts we are experiencing are not being caused by anger at a person outside of us and it would not make much sense to spend a lot of time being angry at the virus, itself, would it? Instead, what we’re all dealing with is fear, frustration, grief, economic insecurity, confusion, anger, sadness, etc. This is a lot to cope with all at once! It also creates a kind of inner conflict that is quite different from fighting with another person. The answer is still the same… By taking responsibility for our own internal experiences, we acknowledge our inner conflict and go to work healing it. When we pick up our personal power In this way, we can heal and live happier lives!

So, we are all experiencing the same pandemic, but our experiences might be quite different. In other words, my inner conflicts are probably different from your inner conflicts. In terms of the virus, you may have heard it said this way, “We’re all in the same storm, but we are not in the same boat.” Same virus, different experiences.

In terms of our interpersonal exchanges, many of which are becoming quite strained these days, let’s review some basic coping skills that can help keep the peace ~

Email is a sure road to hell – It is important to remember not to have emotional conversations via email or text. I have heard it said this way… “Don’t have a 3D conversation on a 2D device.” Even in these days of social distancing, certain conversations need the advantage of voice intonation and body language, which only comes from voice-to-voice or face-to-face. If you have a conflict with someone you cannot be in the same room with, use a program on the phone or computer so you can at least see and hear one another.

Speak the truth, always with Compassion – When you are faced with a difficult conversation, remember that sometimes (often) the truth is difficult to hear, especially these days when we are already stressed. In my practice, we use a funny little phrase that helps keep a little compassion in the words we speak… We say, “Choose your words very carefully, for someday you will have to eat them!” This phrase goes straight to what Jesus said about, “Judge not, lest ye be judged.” His statement says that we will be judged the same way we judge others. Ask yourself how you want to be judged in the world? I want to be judged with love and compassion, so that is what I strive to give to others. Let us please add an extra measure of grace and forgiveness in our conversations these days.

Let it go – Not every comment demands a response and sometimes it is easier to acquiesce, rather than escalate. This is a skill that was hard for me to learn. Ask yourself, “Do you want to be right or do you want to have peace?” When I get triggered, I do my inner work and I move as quickly as possible to the place of peace. Sometimes I don’t even need to go back and comment, because through my healing work I have been able to rise above it. Before I learned to do this, I was often triggered and looking for a way to be right, which led to a lot of problems.

Say “I’m sorry” when you screw up This one takes large amounts humility. Take responsibility for your part of the problem, own it and simply say, “I’m sorry.” And remember, when somebody else screws up and says they’re sorry, make sure you receive their apology with humility. Sometimes receiving an apology gracefully is harder than the one who has to say, “I’m sorry” in the first place. (Think about it.)

Lessons from MotherhoodOne thing I’ve learned from being a mom is to pick my battles. I have also learned another important lesson… You can win all the battles and still lose the war. I often pull back from situations because the relationship (my goal of “winning the war”) is more important to me than any particular battle. When you have done your healing work on those inner conflicts we talked about a moment ago, you will find you no longer need to keep going back for one last attempt at being right. Your inner work makes things right for you and that is your primary goal… Healing the Self.

As We Open – Many states are starting to open back up to life “out there” as opposed to the lock-down so many of us have been in. Please remember that no matter what the government or the news says, if you don’t feel comfortable and safe going out there yet, you do not have to go. No matter how much it opens up out there, you alone decide what you feel ready for in this new world we’re all going to create together, post virus. Taking this experience at your own pace is a terrific example of being Self-empowered. You decide.

Please try this at home.

I welcome your comments or private messages so I know if I’m hitting the mark for you and where you would like this blog to go next.

If you would like to receive my blog posts and other announcements in your inbox, please sign up by clicking in the upper right-hand corner of my website… WherePathsCross.net

Let Go and Begin Again

Can we cross the bridge into a brand new day full of light?

In meditation practice we are taught not to worry when the mind wanders. It is often said that the most important moment in your practice is when you realize your mind is wandering and you come back into your body and find peace in the present moment. So, the mantra is, “Let go and begin again. Let go and begin again.” We learn to realize that it’s OK if we get lost… Simply notice and come back to balance. In contemplating this idea in reference to our current situation, we could see this time of pandemic in the same way… For now, we might feel lost and need to practice coming back to balance, over-and-over, as best we can.

I don’t know about you, but the level of fear and worry I’ve been experiencing has sometimes been overwhelming. I have occasionally been afraid for myself, but mostly I’ve had to fight debilitating worry for my family and for the world. One day, when I was changing my grandson’s diaper, I reached for a second butt-wipe and a huge rush of emotion came over me. I was overtaken by sadness for the people who might not have any butt-wipes at all. That might sound silly, but the feeling was very powerful. In that moment, as my nervous system got all charged up, I had to refrain from following the stream of fear all the way up to panic. I recognized the moment as an opportunity to take a deep breath. I let the energy of fear pass through me as I sat quietly breathing and feeling gratitude for the beautiful, healthy child I held in my arms.

We talked about fear last week and said, “Don’t fight it and don’t feed it.” This idea takes me back to a book I read many years ago… In “Dune” by Frank Herbert, there is a powerful passage called the Litany Against Fear which was said by the people when they were in peril…

As we search for meaning in this experience, we might contemplate the possibility that we are undergoing a powerful Transformation on the Earth. In a Reading in late March the Angels said, “One of the greatest vaccines that is happening right now is Compassion.” They talked about how we are being forced into deep emotion while feeling and showing Compassion for ourselves and others. We are being shown the cracks and flaws in the old systems… the cultural systems at large, the systems within our own homes and families and even the systems inside our own hearts and minds. It’s as though the virus is showing us what we’ve been missing, the things we’ve forgotten and so much that we have taken for granted. What have you learned is truly important to you that you have taken for granted in your life? These are good things to learn even though it has been a tough way to learn them! As we have said before, this medicine may be tough to swallow, but God is present here, dear people. There will be new Light in the darkness.

Even though we might feel lost right now, eventually our isolation will end and we will return to life in a whole new way. Let us look forward with gratitude as we come to a new moment of balance. Can we imagine Compassion as vaccine and Love as antiseptic? Can we cross that bridge into a brand new day full of light? Perhaps we will see this new way as the first moment we can truly, “Let go and begin again.”

Please try this at home.

I welcome your comments or private messages so I know if I’m hitting the mark for you and where you would like this blog to go next.

If you would like to receive my blog posts and other announcements in your inbox, please sign up by clicking in the upper right-hand corner of my website… WherePathsCross.net

Fear ~ Don’t fight it and don’t feed it

I posted only a poem and a few short words last week, because I was in the midst of a whole week of anger! It surprised me, because I don’t do a lot of anger, but there it was. We’ve talked many times about how important it is to feel our feelings and not minimize them or pretend they’re not there. A common self-help saying comes to mind, “When we bury our feelings, they are buried alive.” Then they come out of us in some really counter-productive ways… like spewing the green vomit of anger on a completely unsuspecting loved one, for example. Or the anger festers deep inside and eats us alive over time. So I spent the week feeling and breathing some real nastiness.

One of the most important things I reminded myself NOT to do was to attach a big story to why I was feeling anger. It’s important to remember that when we create a story, we end up living inside that story. We may start to close down and obsess on the story line, which easily takes our awareness away from the messages of Spirit. What we find is that sometimes our feelings aren’t about the stories at all… They are about things we don’t know or understand yet. The Angels taught us not to “predict possible futures” if we can help it. Rather, it is best to stay in the present moment, feel and breathe, and see what comes. We must also remember that creating a story is more like thinking about our feelings, rather than actually feeling them.

Coming into the Present Moment – What about feelings that come from trauma? One of the things that happens, especially when we’re on the hamster wheel in our minds, creating stories and trying to describe and justify our feelings, is that we re-live the trauma and the pain, over and over. This keeps it alive and sometimes even accentuates it. We forget that the trauma is in the past. Our stories can even project the fear and pain into the future, creating dread and overwhelm. When we come into the present moment, we are able to calm down and center. Then we realize that the trauma itself is over. Now we can move more fluidly through our emotion about the pain, instead of recreating the pain itself over and over again.

In our current situation, processing the trauma is easier said than done, because we didn’t have one big trauma that is over. We are in the middle of a trauma that is ongoing. This is frightening and creates a sense of dread about whether or not it will get worse. Still, the answer is the same… When we come into the present moment, we come into our bodies where we can hold those feelings gently… Dare I say, hold the fear… and move through it. Denying it doesn’t work. Accentuating it doesn’t help. But when we simply hold it and allow ourselves some grace and the fullness of time, we get our power back and we can move through it. The fear might still be there, but we are not expending so much energy trying to run away from it… or kill it.

My friend, Barbara, and I have talked about the story of Jesus spending 40 days in the desert, talking with the devil. This is sometimes referred to as “the temptation,” but I don’t think Jesus was actually tempted by the devil. He knew better. Have you ever thought about the fact that Jesus did not kill the devil or in any way try to destroy him? Instead, he used a tool I call “disappearing.” He simply knew better than to be taken in by the force of darkness that appeared right in front of him. Jesus picked up his Power and simply “disappeared” him, even while the devil was standing right there.

We’ve heard this said another way… the way it is said in the picture at the top. Peace, being faith-filled and disappearing the darkness around you, is that calm place in the eye of the tornado… All hell is breaking loose around you and you are able to be centered in your heart. We may not be able to control the things happening around us, but we can find faith and peace in our hearts.

Please be in Gratitude for those who are on the front lines, feeding us, delivering what we need and keeping things going in so many ways. Please pray for those in charge to have the wisdom needed to plan well and to keep our best interest and the Greater Good in their hearts. May each be rewarded ten-fold for the things they put into the world. Please say a prayer to honor the dying and those already departed. Most of all, remember that it only takes the light of one little candle to dispel the darkness… Be The Light.

Please try this at home.

I welcome your comments or private messages so I know if I’m hitting the mark for you and where you would like this blog to go next.

If you would like to receive my blog posts and other announcements in your inbox, please sign up by clicking in the upper right-hand corner of my website… WherePathsCross.net

Tapestry Spring!

I don’t know about you, but I really need to focus on something beautiful right now and this year I have certainly had plenty of time to notice just how gorgeous Spring is! I’m counting that as a blessing. I wrote this poem at this same time of year in 2010…

Please try this at home!

I welcome your comments or private messages so I know if I’m hitting the mark for you and where you would like this blog to go next.

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Every Day is Resurrection Day

I dreamed everybody went to church anyway and it was OK. I went and I didn’t even know anybody else was going to be there! Because the truth is, we don’t have to actually go to a building. We can just hold Love in our hearts and voila! we are together!

On this day every year we sit in awe, grace and wonder as we remember the story of how Jesus rose from the dead and left behind a dark empty tomb. He did this to show us that physical death is not the end of Who We Are. He did this so we would know that we, too, live eternally. He showed us that we are The Beloved. What he did was an act of great love!

I truly believe that the Second Coming is the time when The Christ has awakened inside each of us and we all begin to live from that place of Divine Love. Perhaps that is what is happening now… Christ is rising from the dead and leaving behind the dark empty tomb that is so often inside each of us.

He told us that we are never alone. That must be what it means to “accept Christ into your heart.” I certainly do not believe that statement is a criteria or a test we must pass so the other humans think we’re doing it right! It means that we must be willing to receive the gift in order to receive the gift! It’s what needs to happen before you can feel Christ in your heart… Before you can feel like you’ll never be alone!

Jesus told us, “Greater things than I have done, you will do.” He said “Be not afraid” in so many ways. We are having a frightening global experience right now and we are learning about Love on a whole new level. Think about it… We are staying home, staying apart, isolated from all the other humans… We are doing everything we can so that we and they don’t get sick. That, my friends, is an act of great love! We shall overcome this darkness and rise again.

Be new today! And then be new tomorrow and the next day… Amen

Please try this at home.

How are you today? If you need somebody to talk to, please email or message me. We’re in this together and I’m right here.

Can We Hold This in an Open Palm…?

Blessings to you. How are you today? How is your family? May we all stay strong and healthy. Amen

So much has changed in a week… Now most of us are staying home as much as possible. We’ve all seen the curves showing us why that’s important in order to slow the virus down so the medical system can keep up. We have moved very quickly from, “Make sure you wash your hands.” to “Is this really happening?” to “It’s here and it’s real. What do we do next?”

It’s an interesting time to have a new blog and it’s difficult to know what to write that might be helpful in this strange experience we are all having together… apart. I realize that all I can do is what I have always done… what God called me to do 25 years ago… Share my story and hope that something I say will ease your struggle and help you on your Journey.

As many of you know, I’m a depression person, so my primary focus this past week or so has been to stay centered and balanced, since those things are sometimes not easy for me. They are especially challenging in these trying times. I have to be constantly mindful, because when depression takes over, little else can get in until it passes. I also have to remember not to go into fear about the possibility of depression, because that can put me over the top and cause me to become a bit manic. It’s a defense mechanism that is often helpful, until it’s not.

I’ve done a pretty good job staying balanced… Making sure to feel my feelings and breathe through them, not deny them. Holding gratitude for our many blessings, even in the face of some fear. I have reminded myself that acceptance of “what is” usually helps me cope better. Once we accept “what is” as simply that… “This is what it is.” …we can move past the parts we cannot change and free up energy for what we really can affect. This is where we find opportunities to pick up our power and actually do something helpful.

Accepting “what is” can be really tough though. (You’re listening to a Recovering Control Freak right now, so I know what I’m talking about.) We spend so much time trying to change “what is” into what we want it to be, what we wish it was. It seems obvious, but I’ll say it out loud… No amount of wishing this was different will make it different. I’m reminded of the 12-Step Prayer… “God grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the Courage to change the things I can and the Wisdom to know the difference.”

That leaves us with the question, “What can we actually do?” We’re in an interesting place with regard to this question, because one of the most important things most of us can do right now is… seemingly nothing. We have been asked to stay home… To hibernate, so to speak. For some of us (fellow extroverts raise your hands!) this is a big ask! It helps to remember that staying home is something you are doing for the Greater Good. Staying home will help you stay healthy and it helps everybody else stay healthy too. Staying home is not really doing nothing! It’s actively not spreading germs “all over hell and Georgia” as my Grandma used to say.

These things we are experiencing right now can be made gentler if we think of them as acts of caring and compassion. At first I was resistant to staying home. Even the phrase “social distancing” felt oppressive to me. It felt wrong. I had an attitude that said, “I’m tough. I can go out there. I can take it.” Then I realized that, by going out unnecessarily I could make somebody else sick. Or I could get sick and bring that to my family.

If we learn nothing else from this experience, we are learning how interconnected we all are. It’s funny, because Spiritual people talk about interconnectedness all the time and we are often called wacky and woowoo. But this is a secular example of how interconnected we really are and we are ALL feeling it!

If you are staying home, begin to see that as an act of compassion for yourSelf and for everyone out there. If you are on the front lines, one of those people who has to go to work right now, we thank you! We will pray for you. This is another way that those of us who are staying home are not really doing nothing… We are holding space for you to stay well and strong as you do the work that’s necessary out in the world right now. May God Bless you.

Here is some of the wisdom that has helped me in this past week…

This is from Mark Nepo: “Perhaps the washing of hands can become a modern sacrament, a holy ritual by which we hold ourselves and our global family in the deepest regard. Perhaps the slight bow of love and respect can replace the handshake as a holy ritual that will lessen our fear while sharing our love, so that we can bear the uncertainty together.”

I really love this from my Facebook friend, Jaime Meyer: “Take the opportunity to remember that Mother Earth sends us medicine all the time, and there is medicine in this experience, though it may be difficult to comprehend, and unpleasant to ingest. One part of that, for me, is that we are being taught how clearly interconnected all life is, and that core idea is probably the number one change of consciousness that our species needs, and is beginning to grasp and work with.”

As my dear friend, Jess, said to me this week, “Can we hold this in an open palm… Can we view it through curious eyes?” There is that lovely word again… Curiosity… Becoming as little children. How we choose to view this and how we respond to what is happening will affect our own experience of it. Remember… Too much worry can weaken the immune system. Don’t forget to breathe. Reach out when you need to.

How are you today? If you need somebody to talk to, please email or message me. We’re in this together and I’m right here.

May God Bless us every one.

Please try this at home.

*Curiosity (See Yoga Life Lessons post from 3-7-20)

One of my greatest outside supports has actually been my meditation app, 10% Happier: Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics

The 10% Happier podcast, which you can find through the app, has a piece about Parenting During the Pandemic

10% Happier is also giving FREE 6 month memberships (or for the duration) to all healthcare workers on the 10% Happier app. Email Care@tenpercenthappier.com or click on Caronavirus Sanity in the app.

You can also go to 10% Happier Live on YouTube (scroll down for episodes) at 3:00 Eastern Time (2:00 CST) every weekday for a live gathering that includes a wealth of information and a short daily meditation with some of the leading meditation teachers in the US.

#10percenthappier

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I welcome your comments or private messages so I know if I’m hitting the mark for you and where you would like this blog to go next.

If you would like to receive my blog posts and other announcements in your inbox, please sign up by clicking in the upper right-hand corner of my website… WherePathsCross.net

Don’t Worry Yourself Sick

I have Restless Mind Syndrome. (OK, I made that up.) But my nickname with my business partners is, “Obsesses Too Much” so let’s just say there’s a reason I own a coffee mug that says, “Hold on. Let me overthink this.” I overthink just about everything. I tend to worry and I need to remind myself constantly that, “Worrying is like praying for what you DON’T want.”

Earlier this week I woke up in the middle of the night. I saw myself standing on the edge of a huge lake covered in new-fallen snow. As I looked out over that vast ocean of white all I could see was… nothing. Pure white nothing. And all I could hear was quiet. In that twilight time, between awake and asleep, the vision lasted only a moment. Then my mind started to think about what it was seeing and describe it in the way I just said it to you. Even the moments of description were pure and quiet like the snow. The only thing occupying my mind was the beauty and serenity of the scene before me.

Not once did I hear the dreaded “C” word.

We’re all a little too nervous these days. Worried. Becoming consumed by something we can’t control. Being cautioned not to get too close to one another. But it seems to me that, in difficult times, we need one another all the more. By all means, take every precaution you feel you need to take, but don’t let fear overtake you. Worrying more will not keep you well. As a matter of fact, worrying too much might actually weaken your immune system. Remember when your Grandma used to say, “Oh, dear, I’m just worried sick.” There’s a reason for that age-old adage. We must take reasonable steps and remember that panic never helps!

If you feel you can’t leave your house, reach out to someone you love who might be isolating too much… or tell a friend if you think you are isolating too much. Send a text or an email… Make a phone call… Share yourself any way you can. In the absence of a hug, even a text or a phone call is human contact. And by all means, find some way to laugh! My personal favorite is to call somebody who makes me laugh or who thinks I’m the funny one. But watching a comedy movie will suffice. It’s that old “Laughter is the best medicine” thing.

Whenever you feel fear coming up, take a moment and close your eyes. Take a few deep breaths and picture a scene like the one I described to you… or like the one in the picture above. Anything of beauty that makes you feel calm and grounded again. It may only take a moment to re-center yourself… or you may have to feel and breathe a little longer. You might need to do this several times a day. It seems so basic, but when we’re scared it’s important to remember, “Don’t forget to breathe.”

Please try this at home!

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I welcome your comments or private messages so I know if I’m hitting the mark for you and where you would like this blog to go next.

If you would like to receive my Blog posts and other announcements in your inbox, please sign up by clicking in the upper right-hand corner of my website… WherePathsCross.net