Fear and worry are real and just emotions, and the COVID-19 pandemic is definitely serious. Still, I think there may be a Coronavirus silver lining.
Every news channel is covering this topic. There are travel restrictions, countries are closing their borders, school prolonging spring break and governments are shutting down gatherings of more than 250 people. As I write this, there is breaking news that even our prime minister’s wife has tested positive for COVID-19. No doubt this is a big deal and I know many people are deeply concerned.
I recently shared my thoughts on Instagram about what might be a Coronavirus silver lining and the post garnered quite a bit of attention. I wanted to elaborate.
A good global pause
Over the last few weeks, I have been wondering if and how we can transform the fear surrounding this pandemic into something positive. Can we transform this widespread anxiety into an opportunity to take a good global pause?
I feel the weight of the world’s tension, the intensity of emotions, the non-stop noise, chaos and pressure of our hustle-bustle lives. The constant distractions, social trappings and need to be forever on the go. It’s simply a continuum that seems designed to break us apart mentally, emotionally and physically. We are experiencing depression as a society and our collective mental health is unstable at best. I feel this too and it’s too much.
A Blessing in Disguise
Paradoxically, the Coronavirus is forcing us to make changes. We are being told, no forced, to stay in, work from home and avoid crowds. Another way to see this is as huge permission slip to stay home with our families and practice self care for a minimum of two weeks. A global bed-in perhaps?
Revered meditation teacher and founder of the Art of Living Foundation, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar (aka Gurudev) echoed my thoughts in his Satsang (teachings) earlier this week, notes of which were sent to me by a friend after seeing my Instagram post:
“See the human race was going so fast, everyone was constantly on travel, doing this, doing that, running constantly. Suddenly the nature brought such a disaster – so everyone is slowing down and calming down. See airports, restaurants, cinema halls, even offices are going empty, no crowd. […] Maybe this is a blessing in disguise to get us out from too much consumerism, too much socializing.”
“All of us need to be careful but there is no need to panic. On the other hand, let’s not be complacent either. Accept this challenging situation & see how you can use it constructively.”
I believe constructively is a key word here. So I created a Coronvirus silver lining playbook and I welcome your suggestions and ideas, of course.
Coronavirus Silver Lining Playbook
Let us greet each other with “Namaste”, the way we do in yoga, with your palms touching and slight bow of your head and torso. (Namaste often said to mean “I bow to the Divine Spirit in you and recognize that this same Divine Spirit is also in me.”) It’s a sweet way to bless and acknowledge someone that doesn’t require us to swap germs.
Permission to Self-soothe
Even if you aren’t sick, do all the things you would have to do if you were sick: nap, sip herbal tea, read, journal, nap, have soup, etc. This is the amazing illness prevention tactic Nischala Joy Devi writes about in her fantastic book, The Secret Power of Yoga: A Woman’s Guide to the Heart and Spirit of the Yoga Sutras.
In her book Big Magic: Creative Living beyond Fear, author Elizabeth Gilbert described fear as a crazy, irrational character whose “job is to induce complete panic whenever [we’re] about to do anything interesting.” I like to think of fear the same way and although it can provide valuable warnings, it tends to take over everything. Click here to download a meditation I recorded to help you release fear.
Boost your Immunity
Having a strong stable immunity helps improve digestion, mental clarity, mood and libido. In ayurveda, immunity is a process of good prevention, treatment and recovery. It starts with reducing stress and eating warm, easy to digest food like soup and stew in a calm environment. See more tips, herbs and suggestions to increase immunity.
Ultimately, this is a great opportunity to turn inward and reconnect with what we want, what we really want in life. Determining what my priorities are starts by considering and answering several life-changing questions like, When do I felt most at ease and free? Why? When do I feel most light? Why? This is a nice journaling exercise and interesting conversation starter with yourself and the people you are close too.
Although logic suggests that there isn’t much we can do to control the outside world, this doesn’t always stop us/me from spiralling through different disaster scenarios. Time away from our normal distractions and routines can cause us to come up against other deep rooted tension and emotional patterns that aren’t too pleasant. A great way to acknowledge and let go of this is through a write & burn exercise – See Letting go during difficult times. Speaking to a therapist or another trustworthy person can also be helpful.
In the end, I believe we are and will be ok. Spring is coming and life is being renewed. This is an opportunity for us all to rest, restore and support a deep and necessary global healing.