These are highly anxious times: the primary elections, Trump’s questionable decision-making skills, the unusual unpredictability of the stock market, and of course, COVID-19 (also known as the “coronavirus”). In my spiritual support circle last weekend, COVID-19’s mass impact was discussed at length. The collective fear that this virus has created feels overwhelming for many people right now. We explored the linguistic characteristics of the name “coronavirus”, noting that, while this certainly isn’t the first coronavirus in history, it’s the first time we have referred to it by such a name. The word “corona” sounds like (and means) “crown”, and according to the Oxford English Dictionary online, “corona” refers astronomically to “the rarefied gaseous envelope of the sun and other stars. The sun's corona is normally visible only during a total solar eclipse, when it is seen as an irregularly shaped pearly glow surrounding the darkened disk of the moon.” I can’t help but see the relationship between the mass fear/panic induced by this virus (having to do with the mind and with thoughts) and the sun’s role in whether or not this virus can thrive. It has been said that viruses tend to die off during hotter seasons, when the sun is creating more heat. More sunshine, less risk?
One moment, I’m reassuring myself that things aren’t as bad as they seem, and the next moment, I’m buying into the collective panic. Grocery stores are running out of supplies, the stock market is crashing, entire countries are being quarantined, and there’s talk of schools closing down. I can’t help but wonder how this will impact my own work—after all, the services I offer rely heavily on being physically with other human beings. This has led me to think more about the nature of mental health care and how I can offer my services even if folks get to a place where they are no longer able or willing to sit face-to-face with me. It’s inviting me to spend time holding space for how such a virus might create some good, even in its wake of destruction. Having a strong support system is crucial now more than ever, because we cannot survive the Mental Virus alone.
Here are 4 tips for combatting the Mental Virus:
1) IMAGINE bringing in golden sunshine, warmth, and light into the very top of your head. Watch this warm light burn off all parasites, negative thoughts, fears, and contamination. Feel it melt away, watch it disappear and turn to smoke/ash or vapor.
2) CLEANSE your newsfeed/news alerts and conversations — turn off automatic notifications, take a social media break, set boundaries with folks when they try to talk about the virus with you, and limit overexposure.
—Engage in clearing/cleaning rituals that feel supportive and grounding
3) PREPARE adequately so that, if you are part of a mandatory quarantine, you feel supported with plenty of supplies (the basics and the non-basics to keep you feeling grounded and emotionally safe, too).
4) GIVE THANKS for your health, for the health of those around you, and for the opportunity to breathe deeply. Focus on what feels HEALTHY inside your body right now.
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