As a lover of acronyms (they help me learn and remember), I offer up a new one for this time of global pandemic and widespread fear.
FEARR (Feeling, Experience, Acceptance, Reality/Revelation)
Many of us are feeling fear as we hear about what’s happening in the world, in our country and in our immediate communities. Many of us find ourselves in the “high risk” category for the novel corona virus, covid-19. Many of may already know others who have contracted the disease and all of us know those impacted whether socially or financially or in other ways.
Concurrent with the virus spreading around the world, fear has been its close companion. We are advised against feeling fear and panic. If we trace our fear back to its ultimate source, for most of us that leads us to a fear of death. Yes, people are dying from this pandemic. More will die. We know this. What we can so easily forget, repress, suppress is that we all will die someday. This may or may not be your time. Every day holds that possibility. And one day the possibility becomes an inevitability. Fear of death, while so common and understandable, is not inevitable. We can cultivate a different relationship with death. I suggest using this simple acronym to help us move through these feelings with the possible benefit of bringing more ease our days and allowing us to be more of a force for good in these difficult times.
Feel your feelings. All of them, including fear and panic. Trying to shut them down, repress or suppress them uses precious energy that can be better used in other ways. I am not suggesting dwelling on your fear, catastrophizing your situation, or thinking/acting irrationally. Simply feel whatever feelings come up. Recognize them. Label them. Say “hello” to them. Ah, a part of me is feeling afraid. “Hello, fearful part.” Befriend that part of you. Recognizing it and giving it a bit of attention is the first step in moving through it.
Experience that fear (or whatever feeling arises for you). Get to know it a bit. Where do you feel it in your body? What messages is it giving you? Give it voice. Listen to it as you would listen to a friend. Be present with it. How does it impact your bodies (physical, emotional, energetic, psychological and spiritual)? Be curious.
Accept the feelings. Accept the thoughts. Accept the impact on your life of this pandemic. Are you infected? Do you know others who are? Are you socially isolating? Are you stockpiling food and household goods. Just notice what’s real for you and accept – for now – the choices you’ve made. Byron Katie reminds us that when we argue with reality, we always lose.
So equally importantly, accept reality. Learn what you need to about the pandemic. For some that might mean reading everything that they come across. For others, that behavior would stoke the fear and further compromise their immune system. Accept where you fall on that continuum and allow that self-knowledge to guide your actions.
Revelation is the last and maybe most important “R.” What does this process reveal to you? About yourself? About your family? About your community? About your world? About your habits? About your attitudes? About what’s possible? What inner guidance is emerging that you can trust and follow? Listen to the knowledgeable ones around you while not neglecting the knowledgeable one inside – your trusted and ultimate source of knowing.
This is a time that’s ripe for leaning into your spiritual path, your deepest trust in Being, your faith in God. And it’s a time that’s equally ripe for tying your camel. Doing what you know to do in the world to keep yourselves safe and well, to keep your loved ones safe and well, to be of service in your communities thereby practicing daily your understanding of the power of consciousness, compassion, connection and community to create a world where we all can thrive.