Turns out I've not been handling all of this as well as I first thought. All of this, being the worldwide hurricane known as COVID-19. I'm stressed. And, it's in my body.
While giving flowery words to being positive and optimistic, staying present and healthy and upbeat as I try and boost up my family and friends along with myself, I'm realizing something. I've been in denial. Denying the stress, fear and anxiety that I've truly been feeling. So, now it's in my body and made me sick this week. Headache, vertigo, tight chest, cough. So, then my mind got messy - OMG do I have IT? I don't, but I went there.
I don't think I'm alone in this denial thing. While out on a socially-distanced walk yesterday I came upon a woman. As we made eye contact and shifted to make sure there was appropriate distance between us, she said, "I think this is ridiculous and not real. Just stupid." But, as I got closer to her she had a flash of panic in her face and backed away from me. So, maybe she doesn't really think it's so ridiculous after all, somewhere down deep. Denial?
It got me thinking about this thing that's grabbed hold of me and so many others. I may not have the disease, but I have most certainly have dis-ease.
Dis-ease. Dis-ease is a way of being, one filled with worry, doubt, and anticipation of the worst outcome. Sound familiar?
In other words, fear.
Just what does dis-ease do to our bodies? There are a plethora of effects that take hold in a state of anxiety or dis-ease, but importantly, for this time, it can "weaken your immune system, leaving you more vulnerable to viral infections."
So, that begged the question as I sat with my journal, what do I fear?
For the next several moments I took off all masks and laid to bare. And, made a list of all that I'm in fear of. And, they all came out. Of being alone. Of getting IT. Of death. Of losing work and healthcare. Of not finding true love. Of not thriving as a writer. Of not having money for retirement. Of being alone. Okay said that one twice. Of losing my passion, my drive, my creativity. Of this being the new normal. Of running out of time. Of. Of. Of.
I felt like I'd run a marathon after spewing them onto the page. Interestingly, seeing them in black and white, on a flat surface, letters and words, thoughts on paper, made them less huge. Less... real.
Next questions: Are these fears real? And, so what if they are? And, if they're not, what is the truth? So, I went back over each one again and asked myself the truth in and under each.
Are they happening right now? No. In truth, most are future projections based on a series of self-created expectations and unknown circumstances that have nothing to do with me or with me, right now. They do not reflect my present, now. Then, when examining them, one by one, the truth was often the exact opposite of the fear.
And, what's the opposite of dis-ease?
Ease. Just uttering the word is calming. It happened to be my word-of-the-week this week in my Quick Sunday Read.
The word means "absence of difficulty or effort." Or to "make something unpleasant, or intense, less serious or severe." And, "move carefully, gradually, or gently." Or "to give freedom or relief."
Alleviation, comfort, release, relief.
It's the state of being comfortable.
"Verily, with every hardship comes ease." – Quran, 94:6
Certainly, no one is truly in a state of comfortable right now. And, much of it is due to the unknown.
"Being at ease with not knowing is crucial for answers to come to you." – Eckhart Tolle
There's a lot of talk about immune systems right now, I mean a lot of talk, and rightfully so. But the act of acquiring ease is something we can do all day long to keep our systems steady and healthy.
So, how to get there? To ease?
Some of my friends and I are trying this simple technique...
When dis-ease or anxiety happens, ask yourself this question at the moment:
What will give me ease right now?
The same goes for when a friend or loved one is in dis-ease. Ask them to consider what might give them ease, right then.
It could be as simple as taking a deep breath, remembering to exhale. We often hold our breath without realizing it.
It could be turning off the news that causes dis-ease. It's one thing to be informed, it's quite another thing to overload on the same fear-inducing info over and over.
It could be calling your doctor if you're feeling ill.
It could be reaching out to a friend. So often, once we say it out loud and release it, the ease comes.
It could be taking a specific action. It could be getting quiet.
"I am restless but deeply at ease. Branches tremble; the roots are still." – Rumi
And, so what if any of those fearful circumstances become my/our reality? Then, I'll find a new pathway.
Another truth is, my heart's desires are ingrained. What's not ingrained are the hows and the ways to get and be there.
Another truth is, the world will open up, widely, in new ways. Exciting ways. Ways we haven't thought of yet.
So, I'm surrendering to this. This time, this place, this pace. And, to the new portals that have yet to present themselves.
What brings me ease right now? That does.
"Never lose hope, my dear heart. Miracles dwell in the invisible." Rumi