WILLETT WORDS OF WISDOM
FEAR IS NOT A HEALTHY PLACE TO HANG OUT
Many of you are feeling fear and stress around the COVID-19 outbreak and understandably so. It is a new virus. It spreads very quickly. And there is so much reaction to it on many fronts. Fear is a good thing in small doses. We tune into something that seems off – say a creepy looking man up ahead who might rob us or a big pit bull that is walking toward us growling – and we respond accordingly getting ourselves out of harm’s way.
I was on a walk not long ago and there was a beautiful bunny in my path basking in the sun with her eyes closed. As I approached, she looked up and bolted into the woods. My presence presented a fear to her and she responded. More notable was that when I walked past where she had been, I looked back over my shoulder and saw that she had gone back into the sun basking once again. Fear served its purpose in the moment and she was then able to return to something so delicious on a cool day.
When we hang onto fear, we significantly raise our cortisol levels and put our bodies in an unsustainable mode of fight or flight (the stress response). It is a very unhealthy place to hang. It kills rational and positive thoughts, destroys our path as we freeze in anxiety, brings us to a primal unevolved level, and lowers our immune system.
What is going on right now is about sooooo much more than a virus. With the crisis comes a big light that is shining down on all that is broken. What was catalyzed by the death of my son as part the opioid crisis was the realization that our systems are all broken, broken on every level. Systems include governments, education, healthcare, banking, pharmaceutical, media, medical and on and on. We are operating in a completely non-sustainable mode and have been for some time now. Not only are big systems broken, so too are individual ones. Each of us is being called forth to look at how we operate in the world. Are we showing up as the highest and best versions of ourselves? Are we connecting to others with empathy and compassion and kindness? Are we treating the earth with full respect? Are we truly honoring our bodies (the vessel that houses the soul, the spirit)?
This crisis is forcing us to take a good hard look at who we are and how we operate individually as well as collectively. Tuning in to people’s reactions, I see some questioning how they manage their money (which is a form of energy). Others are questioning how they have/have not been caring for their bodies. You cannot go-go-go in a busy stressful life, eat poorly, move infrequently; and, expect to have a good immune system. Others are even realizing their own mortality. Yes, we are all going to die. That is very true. And we never know when. I never would have imagined a few years ago that I would lose a beautiful son when he was just entering his prime of life.
Nothing is profoundly new here. We have been social distancing for a long time – using our phones instead of human interaction for connection. We have been isolating ourselves globally with a rise in nationalistic thinking. We are now getting a full force taste of what that really looks like. With this distancing, we are being called to go inward in a way, to look deeply at who we are, what is our purpose in life no matter how big or small, and to make course corrections. We are also getting a chance to look at our larger systems and see where we need to make changes there.
According to the CDC, “…information so far suggests that most COVID-19 illness is mild (and) …a report out of China suggests serious illness occurs in 16% of cases. Older people and people of all ages with severe underlying health conditions - like heart disease, lung disease and diabetes seem to be at highest risk of developing serious COVID 19 illness…”
According to CDC, there were 34,200 deaths from influenza in the 2018-2019 flu season.
According to the CDC, in 2016, there were 63,632 people who died from Opioid overdoses (that calculates to 174 deaths per day) with over 80% of the deaths related to having begun with doctor prescriptions.
I personally do not believe COVID-19 is going to wipe us out. What I do believe is that we are all being rattled on a major scale. We are in the midst of a huge chaos forcing us to finally wake up, become more aware, and make big shifts. It is a time of purification where we are being boldly confronted. We are being challenged to face head on what is toxic, to destroy what was (through death, figuratively and in some cases literally); and, to build something new, something better.
PAUSE AND ASK YOURSELF:
HOW CAN I TRANSMUTE THIS CHAOTIC ENERGY?
WHEN I LOOK BACK ON THIS, HOW DO I WANT TO SEE THE ROLE I PLAYED?
Do you wish to react and panic; or, stay centered and respond? Do you want to be in the group who hoards toilet paper or steals hand sanitizers and rides the fear wave of sensationalism? Do you want to be someone who pauses and takes time to face all the toxicity in your life and in your world (whether it be people, thoughts, or practices); and, determines how to make a difference, how to bring about a positive shift, no matter now seemingly insignificant. Every little positive thing we do each day to bring about positive change and shifts is powerful. It all adds up.
FEAR - Fake Evidence Appearing Real
LIGHT – Let In God’s Healing Touch (whatever God or omnipotence means to you personally)
As I write this article, birds are singing outside my window, rejoicing in life. Life is going on, no matter what. You can look back in history and see many examples of great resilience. That being said, I do believe this is a huge time of death and rebirth, of profound transformation for all. And with that, I see this as a beautiful invitation to each of us to become more awake and more aware, to make big shifts, and to embrace new ways to operate on this planet that serve us (both individually and collectively) in a more positive and sustainable way.
We’re in the goo of it all now; and, we are going to have to make it through this part of the journey. As we do so, it is not healthy (again, individually or collectively) to hang in the fear. There are going to be up and down days. We will vacillate. We are all on a roller coaster. And until that roller coaster comes to a stop, we have to ride the ride.
In the meantime, what I suggest is:
Tune into the media just enough each day so as to stay informed. Not too much! And choose reliable sources. Notice how your body feels as you take in the news. After you turn it off, breathe deeply and wiggle your body, get up and down off the floor several times, reach your arms overhead, reach for your toes, go for a walk…just move!
Focus on honoring your body each day. We take it too much for granted! We should always be thinking about bolstering our immune systems, not just during crises. That means eating well and sleeping well and moving throughout the day. It means nourishing the lovely critters as I call them (microbiome) that live in you and on you; and, are assisting you in so many ways. And that is not about simply popping a probiotic pill each day. It is so much more than that. It is also about eating probiotics (foods that introduce critters), eating prebiotics (foods that nourish the critters), taking vitamins or supplements that call out to you personally. This is also a time to tune in to your intuition and what is specifically right for you. Honoring your body also means listening to it and responding – not running to the doctor for the answers or the magic pill of some sort.
Take time to be quiet with your thoughts. Journal. Note where and when you are feeling fear. Are you moving through life each day with fear or making decisions based on fear? What is toxic in your life? How do you want to shift? How can you make these shifts through new practices?
Get outside in nature. Notice the birds. Hug the trees. Work in your garden. Breathe deeply as you walk alongside the trees (they are our air purifiers). If you live near the ocean, spend time close to this healing entity. Or here in Tennessee, spend time walking along the river reminding us that nothing is stagnant, that there is constant flow. In Hawaii right now, the whales are present and they are singing their song in unison as they do each year. The song is always a little different, though they always sing it together. The whales are also playing. And here they are these ancient creatures – look at what we can learn from them.
Do something you did as a child that reminds you of feeling safe -skip, color, read a children’s book…
Turn on music that makes you smile; or, better yet, that makes you want to dance in your living room.
Call friends or family that light you up (not ones that bring you down to fear).
Pick up a fun book you’ve been wanting to read.
Turn on a fun show or movie that brings you joy.
Play cards or games with those in your home.
Focus on your breath often, on the new air coming in, on the old going out. Notice all the movement in your breath as the breath naturally massages all your insides. This virus is a respiratory one and I cannot say enough about the power of slow and conscious breathing.
And yes, wash your hands and stay away from others if you don’t feel well. This is a common courtesy that we’ve forgotten about. This is as basic as saying please and thank you. It is about cleansing, yes – though not just cleansing our hands.
“This is the end of the world, said the caterpillar.
No. It’s just the beginning, said the butterfly.”
Written with love (the opposite of fear),