My grannie lived on her own until she was 90. Then she started to forget to eat. She is now 91 and cared for in a home. And COVID-19 has found its way into her home. My grannie is now alone all day in her room, quarantined to no fault of her own. Meals brought to her by someone who is trying to help her and be there for her but who is in a space suit. Does she even understand? How alone does she feel? She was happy when she arrived at the home, going to the social events and eating meals with others. A reprieve for a social person who had lived alone for many years. And now, alone again. Family is not allowed to visit. She has seven children and dozens of grand-children and great grand-children. If she gets sick, we will not be able to visit. If she dies, she will die alone, despite the many, many people who love her.
Too sad? Probably. But I share this because this is not just my story of sadness, of grief, of anxiety, of fear. We are collectively experiencing sadness, grief, anxiety, and fear. All of us are impacted.
These are unimaginable times and we would be remiss if we tried to pretend otherwise.
We can’t skip the sadness and the fear and force happiness or even gratitude. Yes, we can choose happy thoughts. We can choose to sit in gratitude for a few moments. We CAN do that. But – we must also give time and space to the sadness and the fear. We must allow them to be, see them, feel them. Stuffing them will hurt us and eventually make us sick.
We need to don our badges of courage and go INTO the emotions, take the time we have to strengthen the muscle that allows us to feel and be with ALL of our emotions, including those that we would normally prefer to avoid (and we won’t call them bad or negative emotions because all emotions are important messengers asking for our attention).
The next time a strong emotion comes up for you, consider just starting to lay the foundation of being with emotions:
-Sit somewhere comfortable, take a few deep breaths, then ask yourself the following questions:
-Where do I feel this feeling or emotion in my body? (Stay out of memory and thinking and see where you experience it in your body).
-How would I describe this feeing or emotion? (What is its shape, form, colour? Is it solid or vaporous? Does it appear as an object, animal, plant or person? Is it small or large?)
-Do I have any judgements about this emotion? If yes, what are they and where do I feel them in my body?
And that’s it – stage one of being with your emotions. Journaling afterwards can help develop your understanding of your emotions. And you can go further with working with your emotions once the muscle of being with them is stronger.
THIS is our work right now. To feel and process all of this so that we can choose how we want to show up and who we want to be now…even as we experience sadness, grief, anxiety, fear.
So if you would, keep yourself healthy and feel your emotions. And remember we are all infinitely connected and pray for my Grannie. I’ll pray for yours and for all of your family and friends and our community members who are suffering.
Please allow yourself to be wherever and however you are today. Your response is normal. Your response is beautiful because you are beautiful and beautifully human. Let’s show each other deep, deep care shall we? We are all doing the very best that we can.
With mutual courage, commitment, and acceptance,