My previous post was about lessons I’ve gleaned since the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are a few more that have bubbled up since:
* I have all that I need.
I am covered. There’s a roof over my head. There’s a bed I can sleep in. There’s food in the pantry, electricity, running water, and an internet-ready computer in front of me so I can do my work. I may have to wait a while for physical proximity, but moral support is also within arm’s reach – well, at least through that internet connection 😉
* There’s a big difference between want and need.
When I have an honest look at my desires it’s easier to tell between a whim or fad and an actual need. Being in our current world paradigm makes it easy to focus on what I don’t have, the possibility that everything may take longer, and the fear that the whole of life and my dreams can go to shit real fast. This can lead me to believe that there are many “things” I need, when in actuality they’re more like desires-turned-obligations-to-fulfill-and-I’m-screwed-if-I-don’t-get-them-quick. It’s important to detach from the idea that these are needs, and admit that they are wants – which may be allowed to wait with no catastrophe falling upon us.
This, however, is not to say that we must settle. Rather, it’s an opportunity to be grateful for what I do have, detach from my attachments, and reevaluate how much I want ( ________ ) and get creative in order to have it.
* After all is said and done, I am responsible for myself and my well-being.
Not the government. Not the news. Not my roommates, nor my family, nor the economy. Definitely not the half-conscious dude picking his nose and browsing the supermarket aisle with his booger-varnished hands in the midst of this pandemic (#truestory). I’m the one who’s in charge and care of me, and whatever situation I consider myself to be in is defined by the way I’ve created it – and by the very way I interpret it. And I can best direct myself from within. Not through the media, nor the contagion statistics, nor… You get it.
* Any difficulty is only change that I can’t yet make sense of.
That’s why I label it “difficult”.
In actuality, it is only what it is. Calling it anything else points me to what is inside me that is most ready to describe it, by default. There is a sensitive part of me that needs attention. And my default is to believe and defend its opinion – go figure.
What is happening frightens it, and it wants protection. So my real job is to realize what’s going on – that my mind’s reaction is usually worse than what is actually happening, because what I experience is the interpretation my mind is convincing me of believing. Then, I can take a step back and evaluate whether this is the most helpful way to interpret what is happening. If it isn’t (as in so many cases), I have the choice to shift my point of view – and transform my experience of it.
So, in short…
* Stop living by default. Be present: here, now.
When my mind is engaged, I’m not here. I’m “somewhen” else: either in the future, the past, or another fictitious situation – but not in this moment. I’m experiencing whatever my mind is convincing me of. And with so many distractions showering us 24/7, it’s easy to misplace the present. Continuously observing my internal images, words, and feelings can bring me back to the present – the only thing that is actually real. Breathing consciously and other forms of meditation help us develop this faculty tremendously.
* Menial, repetitive tasks are not really that boring. In fact, they are therapeutic.
Today I took all our knives that needed sharpening and spent the better part of two hours whittling on my oil stone until each blade could slice through any strand of virus we know. Take that, COVID!
Doing the dishes, cooking, sweeping, washing the windows, exercise, and any other activity that requires more focus on the physical than on the mental can knock out our thought processes and help us relax. Plus, we’ll be able to slice through that overcooked steak like warm butter.
* Being mostly with/by myself has allowed me to better notice my physical and mental habits.
Keeping my own company has helped me to see the cause and effect of the situations I’m in in all areas of life, which gives me choice over what I am creating. What I have now is a residue of what I’ve been thinking and doing, and noticing how this process unravels is a powerful tool to drop the crap and get closer to what I want.
* And, last (for now) but not least… lessons keep arriving every day – as long as I’m open to seeing them.
Tell me whether these are helpful to you, and share some of your own with us. Help break the vacuum!
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