Recently I had a humbling moment, something that put me in deeper touch with the collective field we are a part of.
You see, I generally enjoy good health. I am grateful to have learned wellness and prevention early in my life and the tools and practices I do have built my immune system so that I usually don't get sick. Rarely even a cold.
So, that has engendered a more relaxed attitude about catching things...I'm not saying this is ok, I'm just being transparent!
Anyway, the other morning I woke up with a little bit of a cough and something just not feeling right in my body. So what was the first thing my mind did? You guessed it--oh no, maybe I'm getting the virus!
I got SCARED.
I felt pangs of real fear about this whole virus thing for the first time, not just the caution I was feeling before or the observation of everyone else's fear.
My own primal survival self kicked in.
Now, I know about all the research that says when we are in fear and stress it floods our bodies with hormones that can begin to break down our defenses. Stress is known to be a significant contribution to illness and death. Doctors know that chronic stress and fear are deadly. Fear may be helpful when we are running away from an attacker, but our bodies are built so that once we get out of danger, it needs to be able to relax again. Living in fear and anxiety day in and day out literally can make us more susceptible to the illnesses we are afraid of. So stress tools are not just for the meditators among us. They are essential for us all.
So how do we get out of fear?
Being the inner worker that I am, I knew I had to go into my body, my experience. I practice a type of somatic meditation that helps me get to the source of my challenges and helps to shift them.
I used it on this fear--which for me felt like a racing mind, a tightness in my chest, shallow breathing and my throat closing.
I went into it.
And as I went deeper into this experience of fear, I first got that humbling moment of remembering I am human and can get sick and die too...but this fear in my body brought me further, it allowed me to access or perceive this 'collective field' of fear that was more than just my personal experience. I was overwhelmed by this and saddened too.
In other words, I opened the door to what so many people are feeling. And this was important. Because it really awoke my heart and my compassion to such a place of suffering.
I am grateful to share that I was able to shift the fear in my own body. However, not before this experience enabled me to harvest the wisdom it gave me. The wisdom to not only be more vigilant and cautious around my own health--but to get on a deeper level what we are going through as a collective and to look for more ways to extend compassion.
I deeply believe it is through helping each other, sharing tools that bring us to calm and lift up our spirits that we will rise above this much more than we would otherwise.
And I also believe if we use this crisis as an opportunity, we can scale up our values of community, connectedness and resilience to a whole new level.
But it will take what might be for many the hardest work of all.
We need to engage in this shift. Social distancing gives us the opportunity to tune into things we normally aren't aware of and to do our personal work. in this way, there will be more of us better able to contribute to solutions.
If any of you have been neglecting your inner life or your personal or relational health in favor of maybe over-working or over-giving (and its nothing to be ashamed of-- I know you have been doing a lot of good out in the world!) then this is your time to do YOU