I personally am not affected very much with this change, but my clients (the majority are entrepreneurs), my family, my loved ones, my community, my economy, and my world are affected. This basically means I am affected.
Being in a helping profession, I get to experience it not at the global level, but at the details, goals, core-oriented values level. What I mean is that in my clients’ businesses I witness them grow and flourish. I see the progress and the sweat and the hard work that my clients put into it. There is an unknown feeling of what could happen next, or what actions they should take. I do not know the future, neither do the economists.
It’s a difficult feeling to lose control over what our future might be, or just our normal day-to-day activities which are no longer the norm. We strive to find our norm, but how can we really do so when nothing around us is promised or known at this time? Not to mention that we are “required”, for our health and safety, to stay six feet apart: social distancing.
I have seen many cases where people feel they need to create a temporary norm. Others judge themselves for taking certain actions before they know what could have been. Some are attached to the idea of what it could be and not what it is right now.
We need to be practicing the beginner mind with all of the updates that we have to cope with. All the new information about our business that we need to learn: “the new ways”, the market, and all that that we had prepared ourselves for up until the time we realized nothing is “usual” anymore.
I use the word “realized” because everyone has their own pace. Not everyone recognizes or moves from the avoidance stage at the same rate as everyone else. So wherever you are – no judging. Just recognize that you are not alone in this sense that normal is no longer here. And yet at the same time also recognize it is just temporarily absent, only until an unknown time when it will again return.
So as I was trying to help my clients cope during this crisis that is also new to me, I was staring at the Wheel of mindfulness by Jon Kabat Zinn. I realized we can replace many of our sufferings these days with one or more parts of the mindfulness wheel. Mindfulness is key during this time.
• Acceptance: “seeing and accepting things as they really are in the present, which reduces the energy drained by denying, suppressing, or resisting what is already here, thus freeing and focusing our energies for positive change.”
• Non-Judging: “Cultivating the stance of being an impartial witness to whatever we are experiencing, breaking out of the habitual categorizing and judging of experiences which locks us into automatic responses/reactions.”
• Beginners Mind: “coming to each experience as if for the first time; freeing ourselves from preconceptions and biases so that we may see things in a new light and perceive new possibilities.”
• Non-striving: “non-doing, with the intention of creating space for simply being who we are, being with what is already here; realizing that, in meditation, the best way to achieve our goals is to back off from striving and focus on seeing and accepting things as they are, in the moment.”
• Letting go: “non attachment, letting go of our investment in particular thoughts, feelings and experiences; not elevating one thing while rejecting another, but accepting whatever is here in the moment.”
• Patient: “a type of wisdom, recognizing that things must unfold at their own pace; letting go of the tendency to be impatient with ourselves, our efforts, etc.”
• Trust: “learning to have faith in ourselves and our own intuition, honoring our own feelings, our innate wisdom; following our own path, not imitating someone else.”
I have chosen to accept that this as my new norm until further notice:
Non-judging– stop judging yourself, the situation, or others. You did not know what you know now. You did the best you could with the information that you had. Any financial situation or relationship, or any other decision you made before all of this mess started is relevant and you made the right decision. With the new info of the outbreak of COVID-19, looking back is not going to change anything. Non-judgment is the key to enjoying your moment now.
Beginners mind – oh how much info and updates we get. Every time we make sense of what is new, we then have to start over. Have a beginner’s mind and start fresh in whatever change or loss of control that might come your way. If you need to start learning a new thing, go for it. Be right here, now; start fresh because it will serve you during this rapidly changing time.
Non-striving– doing is our default mode and we now have the time to just be. Our ego connects the amount of busy-ness to our self-worth. Try to take a step back and use this time as a chance to be. Let that being inform the doing.
Letting go of what I hoped and planned for. Many of us had plans for vacations, big moments, graduations, or weddings. We worked hard and we looked forward to these times, but with all of these changes, all we need to do is to let go of what should be and just be.
Patient– knowing this will pass and having some patience during this ride is helpful. Patient with your kids, with your inefficient technology, patient with not knowing or having no plan or control.
And finally, trust that this time will pass and we are all going to get through this dark cloud. Trust that a good teaching and message is for us to learn as a person, family, community, and as a whole, worldwide. Trust that when you feel a certain way, it is ok to validate it and acknowledge that this is hard. If you push too hard it will make it worse and you will not learn from what it is trying to teach you.
My question to you: What part of the wheel of mindfulness do you need to take with you today and this week to live in the present moment?