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Mindfulness in Stressful Times

In these days of the spreading viral pandemic, feelings of stress, anxiousness, fear & even panic are common. Alas, what can we do to calm our minds and still the nervous body?

Mindfulness – being present in each moment, allowing self-reflection and insight, is something that, with practice, carries the capacity to transform turbulent times & situations into new possibilities for learning and compassion.

There are many ways to practice, but what I want to explore with you today are some of the tools of Energy Psychology specific for enhancing mindfulness.Here are some sample steps for transforming distress into inner peace:

  • When you note internal distress, visualize placing a white light around the whole situation, and step back a bit.
  • Then treat yourself with gentle rubbing of the mid-chest, the heart area, and affirm: Even though this pandemic is happening, even though I feel anxious, I deeply and profoundly accept myself and trust that there is positive learning and joy in this.” Repeat with your own words on the underlined areas as often as needed so you don’t get stuck in negative perceptions.
  • Next, allow yourself to move to gratitude. Notice every little thing that does indeed work well, including your fine and powerful mind. Write down 10 things for which you are thankful; then add 10 more.
  • Take time for reflection while doing daily tasks. Be mindful, aware, of getting dressed, doing the dishes, making lists, housecleaning, preparing food, eating, walking the dog.
  • Gently pat or tap all of your body starting at the head, neck, shoulders and arms, across your body, reaching to the back and down each leg to your feet, bringing increased vibrancy to all your cells.
  • Imagine each cell of your body listening carefully to your thoughts and send deep thanks to all of your being and to your environment.
  • Each evening before going to bed, write down at least 3 things you were grateful for that day. Can’t think of anything? How about being able to see, hear, taste, smell & touch? I’m grateful for having a bed, warm covers, a room with a roof that doesn’t leak. Have enough food to eat. . .water to drink. . .a place to sit. . .family. . .a pet (or 2 or 3) – all good things to appreciate.
  • When you awaken the next morning, try repeating this short gatha from Thich Nhat Hanh. (I know, it’s not energy psychology, but it works well to help start the day on a positive note.) “Awakening this morning, I smile. 24 brand new hours are before me. I vow to live each moment mindfully, and view all beings I encounter with eyes of loving kindness.” When I do this, after the words ‘all beings’, I add ‘especially Copper’ my loving dog who is always there when I arise. That way, both of us wake up happy!

Current and recent news

Poem for the Pandemic

Lockdown

Yes there is fear.
Yes there is isolation.
Yes there is panic buying.
Yes there is sickness.
Yes there is even death.
But,
They say that in Wuhan after so many years of noise
You can hear the birds again.
They say that after just a few weeks of quiet
The sky is no longer thick with fumes
But blue and grey and clear.
They say that in the streets of Assisi
People are singing to each other
across the empty squares,

keeping their windows open
so that those who are alone
may hear the sounds of family around them.
They say that a hotel in the West of Ireland
Is offering free meals and delivery to the housebound.
Today a young woman I know
is busy spreading fliers with her number
through the neighbourhood
So that the elders may have someone to call on.
Today Churches, Synagogues, Mosques and Temples
are preparing to welcome
and shelter the homeless, the sick, the weary

All over the world people are slowing down and reflecting
All over the world people are looking at their neighbours in a new way
All over the world people are waking up to a new reality
To how big we really are.
To how little control we really have.
To what really matters.
To Love.
So we pray and we remember that
Yes there is fear.
But there does not have to be hate.
Yes there is isolation.
But there does not have to be loneliness.
Yes there is panic buying.
But there does not have to be meanness.

Yes there is sickness.
But there does not have to be disease of the soul
Yes there is even death.
But there can always be a rebirth of love.
Wake to the choices you make as to how to live now.
Today, breathe.
Listen, behind the factory noises of your panic
The birds are singing again
The sky is clearing,
Spring is coming,
And we are always encompassed by Love.
Open the windows of your soul
And though you may not be able
to touch across the empty square,
Sing.”

-from Richard Hendrick (Brother Richard) in Ireland
March 13th 2020