“I’ve always believed that you can think positive just as well as you can think negative.” James Baldwin
How do you see the current situation? Does it depress you every day? Do you ignore what is happening outside your house? How does it affect your thinking?
The thought comes up several times a day – Is this really happening? It’s like a bad dream from which I keep hoping I will awaken. It’s a sunny day, a rarity among the many rainy ones, and I want to walk around the lake, either of the two nearby, but there’s a ban on going to the public parks that surround them. I feel angry about that. Isn’t that too extreme?
Then I remember. A public park is where my brother caught polio when he was two years old. The family was at a church picnic in a large crowd. Lots of little kids were playing together. His experience with polio was a tragedy and a miracle. He was in an iron lung for many weeks and died three times but came back to life each time. Despite having many surgeries as a child, he grew up to live a productive life, working and doing good in the world.
But not all tragedies are followed by a miracle. Many children died from polio or were seriously handicapped. It is always easier to believe bad things will not happen to us. I suspect at least some of the people who have died from the coronavirus have thought so.
It is always a good thing to be able to think positively, but it’s not good to ignore reality. So when reality is unpleasant, how can we think positively about it? Is there something we can learn? I think so.
FACING INDIVIDUAL REALITY
Perhaps it is easier for me to accept staying at home right now because I’m an introvert and I have a husband who is an interesting companion. I love to read. I love to write and that requires staying in. But staying in may push us to face the need to start spring cleaning early, get back in touch with an old friend, learn to use more technology, communicate with family and friends, meditate to calm our overactive minds, or play more Scrabble with family members.
Of course, if we have been laid off or the business where we work has been closed, we have much more to worry about. There are far too many people in this country who make little money for full-time work or have to work several part-time jobs to survive. They are the ones hardest hit by this pandemic.
FINDING ANSWERS WITHIN
So, what can we do to manage the fears that come with this hardship? We can take time each day to sit quietly, breathe deeply, direct our minds to release our fear, and choose to let it go, flowing outward with each breath. Sit until the mind is clear, then ask “What do I need to do today?”
Our inner selves know the answer to that question and it may take some time and more than one sitting to hear the answer. Sometimes we need to be quiet and take the time to find something positive about a situation that we would never notice if we stay “in action” all the time. And when we are dealing with many negatives, the silence may help us see what we need to do given limited circumstances.
Perhaps this event can be the opportunity to deepen and enrich our lives, to look for and experience a positive way of thinking about change that we have rejected in the past. One thing already clear about this pandemic is how unprepared the country was. It has brought to light much that needs to be changed. Perhaps it has also brought things to light that need to be changed in our own lives. And that is good. While changing them may be extremely difficult in some instances, we may now have the time to evaluate what we need to do.
Blessings to you all. Stay safe.
© 2020 Georganne Spruce
AWAKENING TO BEFRIEND OURSELVES
Thank you for this very thoughtful piece.
It resonates with what I have been feeling.
You are right, this is a hard time, but a growing one as well.