People are afraid. The media is using “deadly” with “Coronavirus” as though “deadly” is part of its name. Reports from overseas are saying that the death rate isn’t the right yardstick with which to measure the effects of this virus. Italy is on a total shut down. The stock market is plummeting. The county has closed the schools. The fear is pandemic.
We are experiencing the effects of the pandemic together. It’s affecting us as a community.
COVID 19 isn’t personal. The virus itself is neutral; it neither likes us or hates us; it’s not out to get us; it’s not evil or malicious. It’s how we perceive it that makes it good or bad, sinister or benign. Our thoughts about it are what make our anxiety (or resentment) rise. When we reframe our thoughts about our circumstances, our emotions around it change as well.
And yet, people are taking COVID 19 personally. MY retirement portfolio, MY underlying health condition, MY understocked refrigerator, MY kids are out of school; MY job is cutting MY hours.
I’m taking it personally, too. My brain thrashed around in a washing machine of Fox News and NPR. Alison’s interpretation of an article from the Guardian added to my internal churning. My husband’s computer screen glowered with a heat map of all the cases worldwide, complete with a ticker of fatalities as they occur in real-time. It’s enough to make even a well-grounded person shift into the spin cycle.
What should I believe? What should I do? Fear. Fear. Fear.
Frances said that mediation helped her settle. Skeptically, I thought that’s nice for her. But whatever… I tried it anyway. After 20 min of listening to a nice monk direct me to send white light to the globe and chanting “OM” 9 times, I felt like myself. It may not be your cup of tea, but it workded for me.
What I realized is that regardless of your spiritual practice, we are all connected.
When we take this approach of being a community of people experiencing this together, we can shift from fear to responsibility. Each one of us can behave responsibly. We can limit the contagion, practice social distancing, and “wash yer hands, ya germ-laden criminals” (This is the current catchphrase in my home.)
- We are in this together. We are not alone.
- We are responsible for one another.
- We can practice gratitude and humility.
- We can find innovative and creative ways to stay connected to one another.
Just for Today
I will NOT take COVID 19 personally. I will choose to reframe my thoughts around the virus and let go of my fear.
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.