Many of us say we “feel” isolated in these times of “social distancing,” and “shelter in place.”
Headlines and social media posts abound on the dissatisfaction and suffering of being denied social gatherings and feeling socially isolated.
It’s not that we are isolated. (At least not for the majority of us)
We are in a time of being solitary or in some ways restricted. And our emotional response is to that restriction.
But it’s been a short period of time.
No one is quarantined.
The day-to-day grocery runs, trips for gas, car rides, jogs with the dog are going on. Door Dash seems to be booming!
What is so isolating?
Is it the idea of what we cannot do? What we are being deprived of?
Are we really deprived? Or is that an illusion of our minds? A falsehood born out of our fear?
In the center of a tornado or hurricane there is an eye.
That eye contains a much storied tranquility and peace. Nature has shown us the way and what’s possible in the middle of a storm.
Debris and destruction are on the outside but at the core is solid and secure peace.
In an emotional and spiritual level it requires us to trust and practice that trust with curiosity, innocence and willingness.
We feel we are being deprived of the movie theater, popping into boutiques and shops, meeting friends at a restaurant or bar. We are recalling a familiar routine or a memory. We feel entitled to those things. They have habit. They bring us comfort. We are very uncomfortable in our discomfort.
We are living inside of that memory rather than this current moment (see yoga sutras; activities of the mind).
Isolation connotes desolate and lonely. It doesn’t have to be. It’s all in how we view this moment and live this moment. Live it as an opportunity for peace in this solitude.
Savor the breath and our “selfie” time
When we live in memories or anticipation of a future we skip the present moment. And this moment is what we have. This very breath…right…now…
It’s all we’ve ever had. And it’s not a promise.
This may be a good time to start to become acquainted with spending time with ourselves (our “selfies”) and our loved ones – with our time and attention.
As we start to learn this, we may discover how much we’ve chased the distraction of “other” or “the next thing” or “more” but have been absent in the present moment.
Or we may discover what we have been running from in the present moment – some aggravation about our family members or ourselves, for instance. When we step into the present moment we learn what’s really there and what we like or don’t like about it. We get to confront our patterns of avoidance, procrastination, fear, anger and pain.
What pain did we want to cover up with that “more” – that cookie, that gossip session, that brunch or happy hour?
And how many empty spiritual calories did it really have? Did any pain or problem ever get covered up or filled up? We are discovering in our current state of the perception of being deprived of our cyclical patterns that… no, we’ve been running in place the whole time.
Hey everyone, I love cookies and brunch with my tribe as much as the next person. I’m not saying quality time together isn’t to be valued, but it doesn’t define us, and we mustn’t become dependent on any actions, events, people, behaviors if we are seeking peace and contentment in the now. I mean, if that’s your thing, or you want it to be.
That peace resides in every breath we take if we turn our attention to it. Honor it and give it thanks every time you breathe in and out. Treat it like a sip of a delicious drink. Remember it. Tell people about that yummy breath you took last night. Recall that flavor and essence just as you would something you ate.
Our breath deserves the gift of our attention and gratitude. The peace resides in the simplicity and depth of that breath.
Getting acquainted with ourselves
Maybe practice this little exercise. Call it a meditation, or whatever. But give it a spin and see what you notice:
Sit in a room in your house without a digital device, phone or TV.
What goes on in your mind and body?
Are you losing it or loving it?
What are your thoughts?
Perhaps FOMO takes over. “If I turn it off I will miss out.”
Don’t try to block them out.
Follow the story through. What’s the story you are telling yourself about that one thought?
And ask yourself, “Is it true?”
Then breathe. Check in with where you are in the room or location you are in. Check in with the state of your basic needs of life. Are they taken care of? The basics. Enough food for today. Enough water for today. Enough shelter and clothing for today.
Then do a gratitude check-in. What and who are you grateful for in this current moment?
- Waking up.
- Whatever amount of health and wellbeing we have.
- People who love us and check on us
- The ability to enjoy the gifts of the earth and springtime.
And when you feel like you’re spinning again, in the “isolation” tornado. Remember, that there is peace inside the eye of the storm. Find it. Sit in it. And let the madness, the debris, the noise of the storm whirl around you but not inside you.
Mantra of awareness of our connection
I am a being of light.
I am on the earth on this day.
I am connected to the water and the air and the earth and animals and the fire.
I am connected to the world around me and the universe and I am.
I am a being of light. I am a spirit of light from the greater light.
I am not separate. I am a part of the whole. I have never been separate. The thought of separation is the illusion.