COVID-19 is associated with negativity and turmoil. Another way to look reveals stories of inspiration, strength and resolve. To beat COVID-19, it’s time to resist victimhood and turn towards the blessings.
Desperation to Courage
Exposure to COVID-19 raises fear’s temperature relating to anxiety, shock and depression. Managing abrupt changes in household activities and work responsibilities tests our resilience and coping skills. For those already compromised physically, mentally and emotionally, the pandemic offers no easy or short-term solutions.
It is common to experience fluctuating emotions and thoughts – positive and negative -especially under these circumstances. When our radar switches from passing emotions and thoughts to lasting and relentless emotions, we enter a realm of desperation. Desperation is like a hungry tiger which hasn’t eaten for weeks.
Deprived of its natural hunger satiation, the tiger charges at anyone or anything because need of food overrides all other instincts.
We humans are like tigers. We can feel desperate and lose control of body, heart and mind. Under stress we may give in to impulses without considering consequences.
A desperate body is vulnerable to illness, addiction and pain.
A desperate heart grapples with debilitating loneliness.
A desperate mind is triggered through overwhelm and frenzy.
Releasing ourselves out of our wounds of desperation is the blessing of courage. Dealing with desperation requires consistent calm and quiet. We need resolve to resist those demands which arise in the body, mind and heart.
For example, consider the pleas and demands in the format of incoming texts and calls around COVID-19. Although we love friends and family members, we can’t file every comment into our mental or emotional storage cabinet. With love we listen patiently, while at the same time bravely redirecting them out of negativity.
For the sake of our own health and well-being, we must consciously determine what we can and cannot permit to be part of our daily experience. Desperation requires the courage to feel it to heal it. Perhaps the greatest benefit of healing through desperation is that we become more clear about what we ourselves need.
We need the freedom to make choices, trust both others and ourselves, and return to a place of hope.
Fear to Gratitude
Fear is like an ice sculpture. Initially the artist looks at a block of ice to figure out what to create. Then he selects tools and begins to construct his vision. Fear can harden. Hardened fear then become solid matter morphing and twisting itself into grotesque monsters never before envisioned.
This pandemic reveals endless ice sculpture exhibits which we have individually and collectively erected out of fear. Threats to health and livelihood abound. Exposing ourselves to news doesn’t seem to satiate fear’s open-wound. We become paralyzed and numb in a world standing still in fear.
A gratitude blessing melts away the illusion of angst and inspires a remembrance of truth – we are here to practice Peace, Love and Joy. Humanity requires grateful hearts to push us out of fear’s icy grip. Madhuleena Roy Chowdhury writes:
Modern research and studies indicate that [gratitude is integral] to emotional resilience….by:
Helping us see positive things
Fighting negative ruminations and rebuilding pessimistic thoughts with optimistic ones
Staying grounded to accept the present situation, even if it is a harsh reality Identifying and focusing only on solutions
Maintaining good health by regulating our metabolic functioning and controlling hormonal imbalances
Sustaining relationships and appreciating people who are there for us. We feel more loved, cared for, and more hopeful.
Mourning to Meaning
Grief and loss are the hallmarks of COVID-19. Cancellations and delays abound. They leave us with no choice but to deal with grief in our homes and in our world. Concerts, weddings, conferences, travel plans, and graduations are in upheaval.
No longer assured of when social distancing will be a thing of the past, we succumb to feeling held hostage by a deepening wound of loss and sadness.
“We deal today with the collective loss of the world we knew.
— David Kessler
Mourning in quarantine seems impossible. Do we place it on the top or bottom of the list? How can we acknowledge its presence amidst the stress of managing what appears to be a virus-driven life?
To transform mourning into meaning we must align to the here and now. We thus construct a new identity and a new history. New meaning becomes our new blessing. We rise up and succeed beyond the virus. We incorporate the losses by engaging in meaningful acts such as kindness, empathy and acceptance.
Our threshold for thriving rises. Newly found depth of meaningis a blessing from which we craft our destiny.
Suffering to Wisdom
Suffering appears to be an endless and integral aspect to living on earth. The virus tests our resolve. We still don’t know if we have passed or failed. The current curriculum of “Suffering 101” contains a series of life lessons:
Shifting the Brain from Panic to Calm through Silence
Soothing a Restless Heart with Movement
Stepping out of Guilt and into Love
Going from Restless to Restful with Mindfulness
Global Pandemic or Worldwide Healing: We Decide
Wisdom is gathered every day. Wisdom’s message says we possess gifts of cooperation, service and humor to transform any event we encounter. Psychology Today offers this timely definition of wisdom:
“Wisdom largely emerges from reflection on past experience.
Wise people incorporate past observations and opinions into a more nuanced style of thinking—considering multiple perspectives rather than black and white options.
Being open to new ways of thinking, essentially challenging status quo, can be a hallmark of wisdom and help cultivate it.
Balance is a key component of wisdom.
Wise people generally act on behalf of the common good but also ensure that their own needs are met, striving for harmony among competing demands and goals.
Wise people seek to understand the motives of others, rather than merely judge their behavior. In addition to fostering understanding and respect of others, wisdom can provide a fulfilling sense of purpose.