It’s time for us to accept that this pandemic, and social isolation, are here for awhile. But in addition to that, our reality has changed, possibly for good. We’re in a new normal.
In the middle of the chaos of the world right now, what can we do to take care of ourselves? Let’s talk about a handful of simple mindfulness practices that can be helpful.
The world is in a state of fear and uncertainty right now, and it’s stressful and overwhelming for most of us. This kind of fear, stress, uncertain and overwhelm can have some really strong effects on our lives. So how do we cope with this?
Before I started Zen Habits, I was in a place in my life where I had a beautiful family, but I was stuck and dissatisfied with myself. I knew I wanted to change things — my health, finances, job, way that I was approaching life — but I didn’t really know what I wanted to do about any of it. Most of the time, I just ignored all of this, and distracted myself. I didn’t have any clarity on what I wanted or what I needed to do.
Mindfulness has (amazingly, wonderfully) become quite a buzzword in the last decade or so, and for good reason. It’s powerful, and can help us to become more present, happier, more focused, and much more.
Our minds have the tendency to turn away and move away from what we’re fearing and resisting the most. We naturally don’t like pain, frustration, difficulty. So turning away and avoiding and putting off are protective acts. And yet, this keeps us in our comfort zone. The path of growth is in the parts we’re resisting.
How many of you have felt overwhelmed recently by everything you have to do? How many of you have felt something you have to do — or everything you have to do — as a burden?
There are a lot of us who would like to change something, but find it difficult to make that change. I’m here to share with you the fact that making a shift like this is absolutely possible, and share how that shift might happen. So let’s start with this: making a shift in our lives is absolutely possible.
I don’t think you can get control and order over everything in your life — life is inherently messy and uncertain, and all attempts to make it ordered and certain are fundamentally futile. It’s often more helpful to practice mindfully with the uncertainty rather than try to control it. That said, this is not an all-or-nothing choice. We can create structure and practice with uncertainty.
Think about your day so far, and your day yesterday: how much of it was spent in busywork and distraction? Messaging, social media, videos and news, reading favorite websites, answering emails and doing errands, replying and reacting. In the middle of this craziness, do we ever have space for silence? For creation, contemplation, reflection? And for a practice that I think we do too little of much of the time: listening.