We often look forward to “CAMPING OUT” to free ourselves of urban clutter and noise, tiring and draining work assignments and forced contact with people we haven’t consciously chosen to interact with. Now, with this massive shelter in place, the shutdown of many businesses and life that we know has seemingly forced us to “CAMP IN” for an indefinite time to help save our lives and those around us. Perhaps there are some positives to camping in for us to explore beyond the negatives that we constantly hear over the airwaves.
For example, “CAMPING IN” can promote intimacy and a feeling of safety for ourselves and our loved ones. How long has it been that you were this close this long as a family? Have we become so self-sufficient and isolated emotionally that we can’t appreciate the value of the relationships we chose years ago that have helped to sustain us in so many ways? Have we forgotten why we married or chose a partner to live with? Have we forgotten the joy of time with children and friends? Perhaps we need a reminder that we are not here in this world alone for a reason. During this time of shelter in place, we may discover several benefits that we want to continue to practice when this is over that will prevail.
As we “camp in,” we must focus on the NOW. The past is done. The future has not come, and NOW becomes the only time there is. It is important during this time to get in touch with how am I feeling NOW? Take a moment and check out the basic feelings of MAD, GLAD, SAD, and SCARED, and some possibilities to explore with each that can help you navigate these sometimes intense and confusing feelings during this time:
- SCARED: This shows up emotionally as ANXIETY. It is often a fear of some future change that we have no control over. The first thing to do is to bring the awareness back into the present moment. Accept that the future has not come yet, and when it does it will be NOW. If there is something that you can do NOW to prevent what you fear can happen in the future, get busy doing that something and you will notice your feelings already changing. Other activities that help ground you in the NOW moment include deep, slow breathing, meditation, prayer and gratitude.
- MAD: Anger usually indicates a need for something from someone else to get back into our own comfort zone. Who or what are you angry about and what do you need from them in order to get back to feeling OK with yourself? Sometimes acceptance is required because we are not able to change the situation or another person. Refer to the ideas above under SCARED as they help with MAD, too.
- SAD: This often involves loss --- of a relationship, an object, a way of life, etc. Sadness is part of the grieving process, which can be helpful right now. If there is no way to bring back what is gone, you will need time to emotionally let go and gradually allow yourself to experience feelings of sadness and grief so they can then be replenished or balanced with other more positive feelings.
- GLAD: Tap into GLAD to offset SCARED, MAD and SAD feelings. We are glad to be able to stay in touch with friends and family with the technology available. We are glad to have up-to-date information about the nature and spread of the virus that has forced this shutdown. We are glad for the love and support of the people in our inner circle as we prepare to “hunker down” together until it is safe to come out again. GLAD, right now, is all-encompassing and necessary for survival so we can find the silver lining or what we’re grateful for in our current situation.
I listened to Governor Cuomo of New York this morning and paraphrased some of his statements that he emphasized: We will never be the same again. We will get to a new normal. Strive for positive transformation versus negative. Don’t get wary of intimacy and isolate yourself from those whom you love. Don’t be afraid to hug someone, to hold hands, or to kiss someone (who is your “shelter mate”). Think of ways that we can learn and grow from this experience. Can we be wiser and smarter instead of just getting more fearful? How do we work and live better together? Once the social distancing is gone, how do we continue relating to one another with a positive sense of purpose and respect for each other’s humanity?
A meditation I listened to this morning about ABUNDANCE tied well to Governor Cuomo’s message. The emphasis was on natural change. For example, as Spring breaks forth, plants begin to bud and flower. Snow turns to rain, and the sun shines longer each day. Perhaps our mood will change, and thoughts will bud just as the flowers seek to push themselves out and up again. Nature itself is symbolic of healing change, growth and transformation.
In closing, let’s CAMP IN and feel thankful for life, health, and loved ones. Let’s be thankful for our own brain power to think, reason, and plan as we stay put for safety. Consider that there may be a higher purpose for everything that happens in our lives. We now have time to think and plan instead of acting impulsively out of fear. Let’s expect that more good will come to us and through us as we focus positively on the good that we can do for others – starting by CAMPING IN.
With Warm Regards,