“These are the times that try men’s souls.” wrote Thomas Paine, about the tyranny of the British against the colonists of America in December 1776. It feels like we are experiencing the tyranny of a microscopic entity known as COVID19. These are indeed the times that try all our souls and our hearts, our patience, and our hope.
These are the times when I’m reminded of the Serenity prayer – again and again. Grant me the serenity to change the things I can. What can I change in this time of uncertainty and what appears to be an unraveling of connection and compassion?
First of all – just breathe. Stop for a moment. Put down your phone, your pad and all the “stuff” coming in at a billion bits a second and breathe. Sit. I’m reminded of the words of St. Clare of Assisi – gaze upon, consider, contemplate, imitate. Ponder all the information that’s been coming at you for weeks. Consider YOUR personal reaction and the choices over which you have control. Will you up your game with better personal hygiene, eat better, drink more water, or take a walk?
Contemplate. Yes. During this time of social distancing, you have been provided with the wonderful gift of solitude and an opportunity for contemplation. Put down the phone, the social media, turn off the streaming news and JUST BE. You’re afraid or nonchalant. I get it. Whatever feeling arises. Whatever thoughts arise. Let them flow by like a leaf floating in a stream. Whatever arises – just keep breathing.
Imitate. These are trying times. People are scared. Let’s be honest. Everyone is scared. Some admit it. Some don’t. Some are cavalier and throw caution to the wind. Some are daring, defying or depressed. Above all we need to be compassionate. There is no need to taunt the shopper in the grocery store about bathroom product or other purchases. No need to hoard either. There is enough for all. Those on the margins need your help more than ever. Imitate compassion. Imitate Love. Be like Jesus if that’s your thing. Be like Dorothy Day or Catherine Doherty or anyone who seems to go above and beyond. Be inspired. Breathe peace. Walk peace. Be peace.
The other part of the Serenity prayer is accepting what we cannot change. There are just some things beyond my control like the value of my retirement portfolio, the spread of virus causing cancellations of large gatherings of people and the postponement of events like the start of spring (meaning – the beginning of baseball season!). I don’t want to appear flippant yet if you’ve read prior blog entries you know how much I love baseball. I read the news today and it felt like winter was going to last another 6 months because the start of MLB was postponed. I was reminded to be grateful for all that I have. Spring will come as it always does. America has rolled on through the years and the one constant has always been baseball (thank you Terrance Mann and Field of Dreams!) It will come.
And so I hang on to all the quotes, wisdom and learning from sages and mystics of long ago especially to Julian of Norwich. “All will be well, all will be well. All manner of things will be well.”
Trust. Believe. Hope. Be healthy. Take precautions. Be well.
Please note: I will be taking extra precautions for directees I meet with in person Hand sanitizer and wipes will be made available. Lots of extra cleaning and spraying with disinfectants too. Still uncomfortable? I will companion you through FaceTime, Skype or other platform. Let’s talk.
(This blog is not intended to serve as individual spiritual direction. Spiritual direction and spiritual companioning is typically done face to face in a confidential setting. If you would like to explore one on one spiritual companioning, group companioning, SoulCollage©, the Labyrinth or Reiki, please contact me. If you, your faith group, your church or your book club would like to know more about spiritual companioning, please contact me. In the meantime, my hope is that the photos and this blog serve as a pause in your day, food for thought, or just a reminder to breathe in and breathe out all that is holy and good. The Divine Milieu is all around us. Thank you all for your prayers and support.)