Updated: Apr 1, 2020
Here’s something that came up in a recent journaling session that will help us not only get through this challenging time but help us come out of it better than we were going into it.
I believe with every challenge there’s an opportunity for us to learn and grow.
We have no control over our future (at least it doesn't feel this way at this time). Only now with a pandemic at our door do we notice and feel the uncertainty. We can speculate all we want over the future. There’s a lot of anxiety. A lot of talk of doom and gloom. But here’s the thing. If our thoughts manifest our reality (and they do; you can refer to Dr. Joe Dispenza on this), then we have created this situation that we’re in.
This is not to blame ourselves or each other, for blame is wasted energy. Rather, this is to explore why we manifested this global crisis and, ultimately, what we can do about it.
This pandemic is a reflection of us. What we’ve thought about ourselves and what we’ve thought about each other. There’s a lot of hatred in this world. A lot of anger. A lot of judgment. We all experience these emotions in varying degrees (or, if we’re not yet ready to admit it, we’re at least all capable of experiencing them). That’s not to say there’s not a lot of love or not a lot of joy or not a lot of kindness in the world. There is plenty of that too. What makes the difference is how long we’re attached to these emotions.
Psychologists talk about the negativity bias, which is our tendency to not only register negative stimuli more readily than positive stimuli but to dwell on negative events longer than positive ones. (This is often why we have so many issues in our adult lives because of childhood traumas we still hold onto). How long we hold onto our emotions will affect how we experience life.
Most of us are addicted to our emotions. There’s a satisfaction in anger because it justifies our being right about something. There’s a comfort in sadness because it keeps us connected to who or what we feel we’ve lost. There’s a sense of gratification in our judgments about others because it makes us feel better about ourselves. But why do we need to feel better about ourselves in the first place? Why aren’t we already feeling good about ourselves on our own?
There’s nothing wrong with feeling anger, anxiety or sadness or any other emotion we may deem as “negative”. Emotions are signals to us that help us process life experiences (if we don’t ignore them, that is…more on that later).
And, as we’re well aware by now, this is about way more than a virus. This is about a recession. This is about the collapse of entire systems and businesses. This is about changing the way we live our lives permanently on a global scale moving forward. This is about the uncertainty of what that will look like for us. This is about all the things that trigger us and bring up those uncomfortable emotions like anger, hatred, frustration and fear that we spend our whole lives trying to avoid only to walk smack right into it.
In a way, going through this pandemic is like going through grief. We are grieving life as we once knew it, trying to make sense of how suddenly crazy and strange our lives have become (as if overnight!), processing a roller coaster of emotions and wondering what life will be like on the other side of this.
Being forced into isolation to protect ourselves and each other, we are now coming face-to-face with ourselves and also, if you live with others, face-to-face with family members and/or roommates who ultimately serve as a reflection of you.
Most of us when faced with uncomfortable feelings want to avoid it, run away from it and preferably not have to deal with it. Ever. It flat out sucks being in the depths of emotional pain. God knows how many times I cried so hard I couldn’t breathe after my mom died. I wanted “out” so badly that I secretly wished to die. That’s how dark the valley was. It was so dark, I saw no hope left around me.
The beautiful thing about being in darkness is that there is light when we open the door to our pain.
Emotions are energy in motion and they need to be moved and released from the body, which is also a form of energy. The more we’re willing to acknowledge and accept all of the difficult feelings that arise from life events, the easier it will be to let them pass through us.
Awareness of our thoughts and emotions is the first step. (Meditation, practiced in a way to observe your thoughts rather than quiet them, helps give you this awareness). Then acknowledging and accepting our emotions will help us to let them go with ease instead of resistance.
We’re often resisting life in some form. “I don’t like this.” “I don’t like the way he/she does that.” “This is not what I wanted.” Or if you’re like me at times, you might think, “I didn’t sign up for this (life)!”
I often struggle with resistance myself. I expect things to be a certain way and, when they don’t turn out the way I hoped, I can feel frustrated, angry and disappointed. For instance, I did not expect this pandemic, prolonged isolation and initial loss of income (can you relate?). I have, however, learned to take this in stride, to go with the flow and, deep down, I do believe that a lot of good will come out this difficult period in our lives.
As Michael Singer points out in one of my favorite books “The Untethered Soul” (of which I’ve highlighted more paragraphs in it than not), the key to freedom, peace and joy is to allow the feelings to move through you. Not to avoid or resist them. When we let the feelings move through us and let them go, we can move on in a healthy way and we can even grow from the trauma, grief and pain.
That was me after spreading my mom's ashes.
This is the same for the catastrophe we find ourselves in today.
When we let whatever thoughts and feelings around this to come up...
When we allow and accept them as part of our natural human experience...
When we acknowledge the parts of this global crisis that all-out suck (letting ourselves cry, scream, get angry, feel frustrated and FEEL all the feelings)...
When we do these things, we give ourselves the freedom to let it all pass through us and eventually let it go.
Just like the breath comes in and out of the body in its own natural cycle, we can allow the thoughts, feelings and triggers to come in and then we can release them. Breathe in. Breathe out. Take in. Let go.
Having been entrenched in my own darkest valleys before, I get that this is easier said than done. But with practice—and the willingness to face your feelings—it does become easier. And it is totally possible to let go of the stuff that weighs you down and breathe in some fresh perspective, one that may give you a brighter outlook to all this than you could’ve imagined before you faced your feelings.
TIP: The difference between letting challenges like this pandemic destroy, define or strengthen us are the questions we ask.
Instead of asking, “Why me?” or “Why is this happening to us?”, better questions to ask would be, “What is triggering me and why?” and “What can I learn from this?”
With that we can manifest a new life, a new world. The key is to first accept, acknowledge and express your feelings so you can let them go. From there, the world is your oyster. Once you've released the burden of what's triggering you or weighing you down in this crisis, what will you choose to create out of this?
"Know that what you do in the time of your greatest trial can be your greatest triumph."
~ Neale Donald Walsch