Take a deep breath in. Then breathe out. As Virginia Woolf wrote, “Life is a dream, ‘tis waking that kills us.” Or not – because how we choose to take on each day is what defines the time we have.
The Interconnectedness of Our World.
The Coronavirus has also shown us how interconnected we are and how much more we are alike than we are different. Disease knows no geographical boundaries. In the concealment of uncertainty we gather together in the shadows…waiting, wondering, hopeful yet anxious, and also fearful in these inexact and uncertain times. Mystics throughout the ages have told us that separation is an illusion. Our invisible threads are illuminated now. Across the world, we are challenged in unity like never before. It is the “together” that is our greatest antidote. We need to all cast our gaze into the telescope of our interconnectedness; it is infinite and wondrous. And together, we are a formidable force.
“The interconnectedness of life shows that life is a unitary phenomenon, no matter how we express that fact.”
--Lynn Margulis (evolutionary biologist)
Solitude: Into the Space of Quiet and Stillness.
Forced or not, we can use this time when we are not rushing from one appointment to another, to soccer, piano practice or social occasions as a time of reflection in this place of solitude. We live in a world that feels intensely overcrowded and no doubt immensely overscheduled. Allow yourself to let go of the worry, the fear and concern and sink down into the sacred quiet, find new connections at home with family, friends and within yourself and renew those lost conversations that have beckoned. We must call on our collective consciousness to bring peace, healing and love to all and perpetually feel the buoyancy of humans pushing us up and beyond this challenge and all those to come.
So what can we do to prevent loneliness and even despair from seeping in during these difficult times? We are indeed creatures of “doing” so it’s important to redirect our actions to things that allow us to feel productive and valuable to ourselves and to others.
First, really allow your brain to “turn off” and unwind, which improves concentration and increases productivity, makes room for self-discovery and allows space for deep thought. With listening skills engaged and enhanced, in our stillness we can truly become more present in our life and in the lives of those around us. Imagine the benefits that could see your relationships grow, bloom and fully blossom.
Check in regularly on your friends, colleagues, and relatives to see how they are doing. Call (the old fashioned way or with “facetime” features), text, use your social platforms or even conferencing tools like Zoom or Skype to get multiple people in one room – at least virtually!
Other online platforms like Ikaria, Cocoon, Monaru and Squad (we’ve included links below) make it easier to optimize our online interactions and stay connected whether we’re separated by a one or one thousand miles.
Online groups are ideal for a sense of community. Create a personalized WhatsApp group with neighbors, family or your best friends – be sure to share how you’re getting along too as well as any ideas for staying busy as you check in to see how others are faring.
Use Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to keep up-to-date and keep in touch. If you haven’t tried any of these media platforms, now is your chance to become a pro!
If you started a hobby in the past and then got too busy, pick it up again or try something new. Try knitting, playing the guitar or another musical instrument, crossword puzzles to expand your vocabulary and your cognitive thinking.
Offer to help with shopping or running errands for people who are in higher-risk categories like the elderly or infirm. Use an app like NextDoor to see if your neighbors need assistance. And if you’re worried about transmitting the virus, just prearrange a time you can simply leave the bags on the doorstep.
And PLEASE take a break from the 24-7 news coverage. While we do need to stay informed, the nonstop news cycles are mentally draining and can be truly exhausting. In fact, you may find yourself even more tired at the end of the day than if you were engaged in your usual activities. So give your brain a rest from focusing on things that are stressful and may just be beyond your control.
Be spiritually creative.
Read, write, learn, create, listen to music, and allow yourself to be immersed in this essential stage of unconscious processing.
Get some daily exercise (yoga, Pilates, and strength-training can all be done at home) and try to keep moving. Take a walk with or without your favorite canines, ride your bike going nowhere in particular and just enjoy being in the moment in nature.
Be kind, gentle, more patient and more compassionate than ever before. Often when we least feel gratitude or much like extending a hand is when it can do the most good for the giver and the receiver.
Meditate, pray, breathe…a brain spa awaits as does your soul's awakening.
There is a creative purpose to daydreaming, even to boredom. So rather than fight it, just give in to it – you never know what may happen!
Love to the depth of your being.
Never, ever lose hope. Hope is what make it possible to face a new day that may otherwise seem insurmountable. But we must maintain this hope in each of our hearts, for without it none of us could survive.
I leave you with words from our beloved Maya Angelou from her “Brave and Startling Truth,” written in 1995 for the fiftieth anniversary of the United Nations.
When we come to it
We must confess that we are the possible
We are the miraculous, the true wonder of this world
That is when, and only when
We come to it.
In health, healing and with love,
Dr. Suzanne Gazda
If you haven’t yet discovered BrainPickings you are really in for a treat. Self-described as “an antidote to isolation by way of tiny marine creatures and a broken Romantic heart,” this unique site features an extensive collection of art, imagery, writing, video, audio recordings and more, with plenty of choices to creatively and cognitively occupy your time.
Links to social connection sites mentioned above:
Dr. Suzanne Gazada, Integrative Neurology