overriding the undercurrent

You cannot ignore the shocking events of the last weeks in the Twin Cities. Responding to police brutality in the death of George Floyd, protestors looted, started fires, and challenged as the National Guard was deployed. Already faced with exasperating circumstances created by COVID-19, everyone has felt an added layer of fear and frustration with the unknown. Desire for stability on both fronts is intense. The undercurrent is surging.

Some of us feel helpless. Some of us look to state and national government for leadership. Some of us have taken matters into our own hands. All have been touched by shattered hopes and dreams resulting from the virus or explosive emotions. Now is the time for deepest understanding, for bringing light to the undercurrent.

All want to be understood. Each says: I am the center of the universe; yet, more importantly, all need to understand:  I am not the center of the universe. This sensitivity begins with questioning your motivations and values, examining and eliminating your judgment of others’ motivations and values, and finally connecting inclusively on all levels. Where do you start? With yourself—through individual reflection and self-care. The result is you become a balanced and thriving member of the community and use your influence for the greater good.

Anxiety and uneasiness are a constant undercurrent within your psyche, resulting in stress, nervousness, and irritability. This is understandable, considering the uncertainty around you. It seems the same questions and situations are always in the back of your mind. Will I get the virus?  If I do, will I die from it? When will I see my family? When can I be with my friends? When can I move around without rules? Will I have enough money? Is the sky falling? How will this end? Globally, all are concerned with these questions.

No one, not even the experts, can provide answers with certainty because everything in the universe is temporary. Meanwhile, you must do the best you can to live with your questions and circumstances.

Three strategies could help you invite more ease and stability into your life. First, begin to change your perception. Consider a single moment, rather than the sweeping past or the unknown future. An example is when a lighted candle is placed in front of you. You begin to watch it, moment after moment. After a while, it appears as if the flame offers thoughts. However, these thoughts mirror the meaning you attach to the moment. Will you create anxiety or stability? The flame, itself, is neutral. You can change your perception by changing how you approach each moment.

Say you have a cough. Your choice in that moment is to jump to an immediate conclusion that you have the virus and panic, inviting more worry and fear. OR, to step back and notice calmly, Hummmm, right now I have a cough, inviting ease and soothing awareness. Staying in the moment allows for greater clarity.

When you control your approach to moments, stability follows. You develop a habit of remaining neutral to circumstances as they come to you, allowing space for an informed opinion. This wider perspective—a choice—balances your feelings and tempers urgency.

Another strategy that has the potential to bring ease and stability to your life is to use your imagination. For example, imagine a scene that is very restful, like telling stories with family while watching a crackling, smoky campfire. Or, perhaps sitting with friends in front of a fireplace of muted flames and quiet embers while you share thoughtful conversation. You feel warmth, a sense of safety, and bonding. This is a type of self-care. These comfortablememories can bring a smile to your face and relaxation to the cells throughout your body. These positive images can get you through challenging times. They help to override the undercurrent.

A third strategy that could help you invite greater ease and stability to your life is to recall a common practice and give it expanded meaning. You are familiar with lightning-generated woodland or prairie fires. If you have seen the aftermath, your humanness may cause you to doubt any benefits. Yet the ground has been imprisoned by layers of plant material and stressed by competition with other plants and animals for nutrients. Higher wisdom knows these naturally occurring blazes eliminate invasive plant growth, restore nutrients to the soil, and encourage positive plant and animal diversity—in a sense, a type of self-care for balancing the land. An unspoken trust in the circle of life is part of the universal eco-system. This is the larger meaning!

Like the land, your body is also an eco-system. Weathering the pandemic, you are bound by unusual restrictions and stressed by the uncertainty of what will happen regarding jobs, money, food, relationships, or education. Anxiety and uneasiness gnaw at you. External circumstances constantly bombard. During a time of personal reflection, higher wisdom nudges you toward self-care, calm, and balance. The undercurrent responds to light.

Self-care is slowing down and turning inward to acknowledge how all parts of your body are feeling. With love and kindness, you breathe into those areas that cry out for your attention. Fewer sharp edges surround your body, mind, and consciousness. All aspects of your being begin to connect. Deep inside, you find a greater degree of acceptance and understanding. Working with that, you feel alignment with an energy greater than you are. Only external circumstances have caused you to feel disconnected. Self-care helps you to reclaim stability. With a balanced body, mind, and consciousness, you feel stable. This mindset enriches your community. Any undercurrent dissipates.

From a higher vantage: This is a heavy time of uncertainty, anxiety, and stress for everyone. Life is decidedly uncomfortable. What can you learn from these times? Offer kindness to yourself and others. Look beyond anxiety, as uncertainty will recede. A more expansive plan is in place, regardless of appearances. Recognize the stability and ease deep within you and call upon it now.

© 2020 in the thick of things