Viruses spread. More than illness, the coronavirus has spread fear and rightfully so. We are reacting to something that is out of our control. It’s scary. The fear is perpetuating more fear and that is becoming paralyzing for many.
My mentor, Seth Godin, wrote on his blog, “In normal times, it’s easy to get into a rhythm of simply responding. Someone else setting the agenda. When things are uncertain, it’s easy to react. But now, right now, is the single best time to initiate. We’re in for a slog, but there will be an end to it. Make things better by making better things.”
My husband and I signed our SBA loan documents to start a business that relies heavily on socializing on a week that businesses associated with socializing are closing. It would be inhuman to not be scared right now. I’m also feeling hopeful.
Humans have an amazing capacity to band together when times get tough. We help each other out. We make sure our family, friends and neighbors are fed when they have little or no food. We make sure they have a safe place to sleep, their babies have diapers, the sick have their medications.
I saw this in Vermont the days after Tropical Storm Irene ravaged the state. I’d been visiting my best friend and Goddaughter when it happened. Bridges were washed out on the two lane highways on both ends of town cutting small towns (much like the town I live in now in Arkansas) from the rest of the world. People came together like I’d never seen.
When I returned to Phoenix, I stood on my porch for a long time before entering the house. I kept looking up and down my street wondering what would happen if a natural disaster struck, would people come together or would it be all out pandemonium? (kind of like we’re seeing now with hand sanitizer, toilet paper, and water)
I moved to Vermont a year later. I served on the town government for a year and signed off on the last FEMA paperwork to demolish a destroyed house. That felt surreal. People had returned to their “normal” lives and old grudges had been picked back up, a few new ones had formed. But nobody forgot that in a time of need, everyone set that aside and helped where and how they could.
I wish I knew what will happen next. I don’t. I can’t know. Too many factors in this particular equation. All I can do is choose to focus on the present, seek beauty, stay calm, help where and how I can, take good care of myself and those around me. “This, too, shall pass” as an old friend used to say. Right now all any of us can do is make things better by making better things.
Something you can do now.
Let’s start that by grounding. Press your feet into the floor. You can close your eyes or keep them open. Inhale and say to yourself, “I am.” Exhale and say, “Here now.” Repeat that 3-10 times. Anytime you feel your anxiety mounting, stop and ground with this simple practice. It brings you back into the present where you can make better choices and initiate something better.