In these really challenging times, I want to offer resources that I value and I actively turn to for guidance, support, and nurturing of our hearts and souls. I hope these may be of use for you, and let you feel supported. Know that you are not alone. We are all in this crisis together, and with our collective spirit we will support each other through this difficult moment.
Breathe, Move, and Practice Gratitude:
Simply taking several deep breaths helps us feel better instantly, as we calm our internal nervous system with just a few deep breaths. Can you pause and choose to move in a way that would feel better to your physical body? And let’s consider what we can be grateful for in this moment. If you’re well, we can be grateful for the good health we have today. If you’re sick, know that you are more likely to recover than not, and try to work with being grateful for the love and concern our friends and family are sending to us. This collective experience that we are in will be tough, there will be terrible losses, and yet we can collectively support each other. The research on Gratitude is strong: practicing gratitude, even when it is hard, helps us and lifts our spirits. Try writing down 10 things every day that are blessings in your life.
Focus on the things that matter most to you, maybe family, maybe friends, maybe love. Being helpful to others is also deeply nourishing for ourselves. In these times, it can be hard to find ways to be helpful to others in the usual ways we’ve done. But by offering warmth and kindness to others, through an email, through a phone call, or in person, will benefit both of you. The power of prayer is also well documented. Connecting to a sense of how sacred each moment is, of choosing to become aware of the sacredness of life and of our important relationships will help you weather this storm. Prayer to connect with Spirit or God or the vast universe, and prayer for the world we want to create together — a world that is kinder, more peaceful, more just, and more loving, can help. Can you spend a moment to envision the future you want for yourself, and a positive, hopeful future for all?
Getting outside is such a deeply nourishing experience for our body, mind and soul. Connecting to nature, breathing fresh air, looking at the trees in the breeze, the blooming flowers, the grass, and listening to the sounds of nature, are all profoundly helpful in calming our thoughts and worries, and supporting our selves.
Meditation & Mindfulness:
Meditation is the practice of quieting our busy minds, pausing to breathe, and coming to rest inside a state of support and peacefulness. With advanced meditation we are connecting to a vast, available, expansive, nourishing source of awareness, connection, and stability. I’ve been fortunate to study at the Washington Center for Consciousness Studies with Rudy and Sharon Bauer for about 10 years, and participate in a daily meditation with advanced practitioners from the Center, where we practice with Buddhist texts, Psychology of Being, Chi Gong, Kashmir Shavism, Phenomenology, the experience of the Beingness of our Being and the field of awareness. www.meditatelive.com. I will offer as much of these skills as you may wish to try, as one method or another may be right for you. Our group is currently practicing the Medicine Buddha text and the 20th Tara text every morning that they may support and increase all of our ability to cut through this epidemic, and support the healing of all who need it.
Yoga and Movement:
This is an important time to move your body in any way that brings you joy. Walking, dancing, running, yoga, or a slow chi gong practice, any of these that might bring you joy, will be of great benefit. We are physical beings and our bodies inherently will know what will feel healing for us. Can you notice what movement brings you more joy? Can you pause and choose to move in a way that would feel better to your physical body? Physical movement and yoga are helpful ways to get out of our worried thoughts, and into our embodied Beings. There are many online classes to support you in getting out of your worries and into your body to move in ways that feel better.
Internal Family Systems:
IFS — Internal Family Systems — https://ifs-institute.com/ — is a method developed by Dick Schwartz. IFS helps us understand the different parts of us that are inside and drive our feelings and behaviors. Everyone of us has different parts inside; maybe a part that feels worried, maybe a part that feels avoidant, maybe a part that gets triggered easily. We also have, inside, a full, wise Self energy which we can connect to, and from Self, we can hear, understand, and soothe our own inner parts. In these highly stressful times, I feel the I.F.S. model is especially helpful. I practice IFS and have completed the Certified Level 1 in IFS. “Loving our parts, leading from Self” is the essence of the model.
R.A.I.N. and Tara Brach:
R.A.I.N. and Tara Brach – www.TaraBrach.com — is a gift for many. She is both a therapist and an acclaimed Buddhist teacher. I suggest her book: Radical Acceptance to many clients. The book helps us accept ourselves more fully. Tara has dozens of helpful podcasts on relationships, self-acceptance, finding meaning, and her therapy method of RAIN (Recognize, Accept, Investigate, Nurture), we can bring RAIN to any feeling, emotion, or state of mind. There are many, many good online meditation programs! I have both trained with Tara, attended many of her weekly meditations, and am honored to have been chosen to consult to their organization, Insight Meditation Community of Washington, during a time of evaluation and change. I often think the very best therapy methods are all quite similar, and I see a lot of similarity between R.A.I.N. and I.F.S.
There are many good meditation programs online, really many! Find what works to support you and your system, and share it with others!
We will get through this challenging period, together, as a collective, as people, and I am here to help, by phone and video, as much or as little as you may want.