I was recently doing a webinar for some wonderful educators, and I started by asking them to share with me in the chat if they had allowed themselves to cry during this pandemic. Over half of the group said that they had been crying at different times during the quarantine. Some people were crying in the shower, going to sleep, at the dinner table, with a friend over FaceTime, after a Zoom call with their students because they missed the kids and were concerned about what will happen in the fall, etc. I personally have found myself bursting into tears during my walks, while meditating, going to sleep, and speaking to my closest friends. I get hit with waves of missing my life the way it was; and although I am surrounded by love, blessings, and sunshine, the emotional rollercoaster is affecting me.
I am writing a book on the power of prayer, and when I would talk with one of my best friends she would say to me, “Why don’t you just pray,” and I would say, “I’m crying at the same time as I’m praying” (it’s allowed). Please by no means think that crying is a weakness. Our hearts feel the contraction of the conditions we are living under, and it can be very emotionally draining. Crying releases pent up emotions, and if you put words to your crying, it can carry you like a river into a new place, seeing with new eyes as you feel renewed.
It’s easy for those of us who are emotional beings to acutely feel the losses in our lives, and it’s important not to do a spiritual bypass. I know there are many people out there who are using this time to be extremely creative and productive, and might be writing their next new novel or their next symphony. But there are also those who feel extremely victorious just getting to the end of the day without completely losing it — at home with the kids or their partners, or over endless Zoom calls. Many have this feeling of “Groundhog Day,” waking up thinking “Oh my gosh here’s another day,” challenged by the monotony of the uncertainty, even if they are healthy and still have their jobs.
“The Lexicon for a Pandemic” by Jay Martel in The New Yorker puts a humorous spin on it all. He wrote, “COVID-30: Formerly COVID-15; the amount of weight gained by an average adult during quarantine,” and “Body Zoom-morphia: Finding your own image on a group video call so unappealing that you are unable to focus on anything else.” Another article I loved is “How Things Work in a Pandemic” by Kathryn Kvas and Mia Mercado. They wrote, “Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are no longer the designated meals of the day. Now there is ‘eating,’ ‘not eating,’ and ‘thinking about what to eat next.’ Sometimes ‘eating’ takes place from dawn until dusk. Other times, you will just go back and forth between ‘eating’ and ‘thinking about what to eat next’ until you pass out.” Sometimes it feels like you’re putting the key in the ignition but the car won’t start so you have to get out and push it to get it going and hop in once it starts rolling. If we were to take an M.R.I. of our nervous system and brain, we would probably find that every particle of us is at a state of alert and stuck in fight or flight.
But I do believe that with all that, if we take a moment to disconnect from the world outside and from the overwhelm inside, and connect to a place within us that is steady and peaceful, our inner compass will guide us in a clear direction where we can feel present and grateful for our lives. But we must be willing to take a moment to make the shift and go there. When we ask and pray to the higher self, we can shift into our enthusiasm, our joy, and our creativity; and in the midst of contraction we can absolutely move into a more expanded state of being. Everything in our physical world right now is pushing us to contract, and the fear of the unknown can overtake us. Then we cannot feel the expansion that is available to us in our own heart and spirit. And, of course, the judgments we impose on ourselves that we should be doing better, and the judgments we have on the circumstances around us. add more inner pressure. Be smart with yourself and tap into the inner mastery that is available to you. Take mental dominion over your thoughts and release yourself from the inner bondage of your fears.
The only way to do this is by evoking tremendous self-compassion. Amplify the whisper of your spirit saying to you, “I love you no matter what,” and take that gift into your very cells and see how much more grace is extended to your day. I have written a prayer that I encourage you to speak out loud, because our voice carries healing power. Add your own words to it so you can empower yourself to renew your enthusiasm.
Today is not just another day that piles on from yesterday’s.
Today is a brand new day because I am breathing, I am alive, and I can tap into endless possibilities. And how grand is that!
Just like the weather is never the same, just like in nature things are always changing, and just like in the whole universe everything is moving, today I welcome this brand new day, and I ask that I may look at this day with brand new eyes, not assuming it will be like yesterday.
Rekindle my enthusiasm and let that spill over to everything I do, without taking for granted the little miracles of life or forgetting to be grateful for every little thing.
Help me make this day a brand new day so no matter the circumstances of my life, let me find the newness in myself and break down the walls that I have built between me, my heart, and others.
Let me drop any judgements about how I think my life should be and move into acceptance embracing everything that is, and, from that place, make new choices to bring the spirit of more kindness, more tenderness, more loving, and more laughter so that the spirit that makes all things move can also move in me right now and make this moment and the next one (and the next and the next) a brand new moment.
I turn my gaze inside to the lighter parts of me so that I can see how I might have forgotten and been blinded, so that I may reveal what lies before me.
Help me trust that I am one breath away from knowing that the conditions of my life can be transformed with more grace, more ease, more loving, and yes, more joy.
I dare to let my heart soften renew myself in your embrace.
Allow me to see the truth of who I am and not the habit of who I have become; a glimpse of the bigger scheme of all there is!!