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From Fear to Love: Three Best Practices for Spiritual Mindfulness In A World With COVID-19

Research-based knowledge to alleviate fear, and to live as love in far more moments of your life; now and beyond this time. From Fear to Love In this health pandemic, there is a lot of information that can heighten your fear; the overloading of information some of it inaccurate, some of it truthful; can still […]

from-fear-to-love-3-best-practices-of-spiritual-mindfulness-in-a-world-with-covid-19-the-wisdom-podcast
from-fear-to-love-3-best-practices-of-spiritual-mindfulness-in-a-world-with-covid-19-the-wisdom-podcast

Research-based knowledge to alleviate fear, and to live as love in far more moments of your life; now and beyond this time.

From Fear to Love

In this health pandemic, there is a lot of information that can heighten your fear; the overloading of information some of it inaccurate, some of it truthful; can still cause you to feel fearful when you have not previously.

Sometimes, as you seek to have all of the right knowledge and information; focusing on the finding and having of facts can cause hypervigilence – acute focus on a problem – even if your facts can now offer ideas for what you need to do.

It is only when you are fixated on a problem that worries surface: your mind directed towards what is unwanted and what causes you to suffer.

There is a great deal of luxury in fear. In fear you are not focused on improving your life, because your focus is on what you do not want and what you believe will be a worst case scenario. You tell yourself “What if…” and complete this sentence with the “what” that you don’t want to have happen.

Fear keeps you locked in feelings of powerlessness; your worry of the future causes you to ultimately lose your life in the present moment; unaware of the power that you have to focus on what is wanted.

Here, I’d like to show you how to alleviate fear; and to explain how you may move from a place of fear about anything, into one of knowledge, truth, and a focus on what is desired and wanted; and then to build upon this further into a state of love. Think of love as: calm, knowing ‘right’ action, perseverance (of a plan and the steps that are needed to help you stay on course towards what you desire, confidence (as you mobilize yourself and take right action), and purpose (of accomplishing constructive behaviours and feeling the relief of fear).

This is possible for each one of us – of all ages; to do for our self.

PRACTICAL WISDOM:  This is not about conquering your fear. We all need to feel fear because it has a purpose if experienced for the right reasons.

The ‘right’ reasons include a real threat that then allows you to mobilize yourself in safety and care. Perceived or imagined fears are psychological and are not necessarily based in real and factual information.

When you experience the feeling of fear based upon your worries of a future moment that has not yet or may never happen; the feeling is real, although the fear is not based in absolute truth. And there is a difference.

In fear, you have lost control; you have let go of the threads that weave together your life so beautifully; this intricate and necessary tapestry that supports you in all of the moments of your life; – evades you when you are in fear. – Dorothy Ratusny

When you are in fear, you do not notice the love in the eyes of your partner, you miss out on the feeling of love that is present in the hug that your child gives eagerly; you see the robin scanning the path in front of you as it runs hurriedly over the earth before lifting its wings in flight, easing itself upward to sit on a branch of a tree; but you are not able to give any of this your full attention because you are trapped inside your mind, dwelling on what keeps you locked in worry and fear.

Your first step to alleviate fear; fear of this present global health crisis or any fear that you are consumed by, is akin to the analogy that you must cast yourself a life buoy and then observe intently as you are securely pulled to safety. Your life buoy is a metaphor for your ability to pull yourself into the present moment.

1. The first best practice is to move yourself into the present moment. 

A way to define the present is to ask of yourself, “What do I need in this moment?”

This is an important question because it brings your attention from wherever your mind is focused into now; because you need to be able to assess yourself from the present moment to know what you need. This is how you direct your brain to focus in the present.

Another question that brings your attention into the present is to ask: “How Do I Want to Feel Now?” With either answer in mind, you continue by next asking, “For what I need, how can I give this to myself now?” Or in the case of the second question, for how I want to feel, “What thoughts will allow me to feel this feeling?” and then, decide what those thoughts are, and write them. Return to these thoughts when your mind becomes focused again onto what is less helpful.

For whatever you need and for how you want to feel; as you focus your mind in the present moment, you will be able to provide for yourself what is wanted. Here, it is important to follow through; to answer your questions and then to act on these as it keeps you engaged in the presence of your life.

For example, What are the thoughts that will allow me to feel calm? Then to write these, and to say your thoughts aloud so that you can hear your own voice comforting you as you observe your desired feelings of calm rise up.

For example, “I am beginning to feel calm”, “I am working towards calm now”, and “I am calm.”

The emotion of fear is felt whenever you recall and focus on a past situation in which you experienced fear. Fear is most likely to surface when you are anticipating a future unwanted moment that has not yet or may never happen.

It’s not thinking about a piece of factual information that causes fear; its thinking new thoughts about this information based in the future – of something that is unwanted that causes fear, worry and panic. 

So learning about COVID-19 for example, and how best to support yourself and your family (as long as this is factual and from reliable sources) is not the problem; its the thoughts that come next – that cause you to become afraid, worried, and which immobilize you, that are the problem. So its okay to take in information; its most important how you think about this information that will either evoke fear, or an entirely different feeling; one of reassurance, relief, and even calm, as you hold resolve towards what is most wanted, which then propel you to take the steps towards this.

The present moment is the only time that you have true control; in what you choose to think, how you feel, and what actions you take.

The key is to think of and mobilize yourself towards what is wanted.  During this time, you are likely going to read a lot of reliable information from trusted sources that is also tragic and devastating. How you will choose to think about these facts is within your control.

Accurate information can mobilize you with the best possible strategies, solutions, and a plan for what best action will reinforce your desired feelings of calm, reassurance, positivism, and hope.

2. The second strategy or best practice for alleviating fear is to focus on taking action based on what is wanted. You remain in the feeling of fear when you are focused on an undesired outcome.

If you think about what you don’t want; what you are fearful of, what worries you of the future; your attention and focus is going to be entirely on the very thing that you do not want.

“Fear lies in the future unknown. It is extinguished when you are of this moment.” – dorothy ratusny

To eliminate fear, you must focus on having factual information that educates and then mobilizes you to take the right action towards what you desire; to best protect yourself and your family, to avoid others as much as possible through social distancing, and to be self-disciplined in the need for self-quarantine or self-isolation if you have travelled, or if you have flu-like symptoms until you feel well again.

*Trusted sources for COVID-19 updates and facts: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO).  

Rather than hold thoughts that cause you worry, focus on what positive action you will take and do this. Assertive action will cause you to feel encouraged, relief, reassured, empowered, and even calm and happy.

When you focus on what is not wanted or a worse case scenario, you will feel anxiety, fear and even panic. It isn’t that you can’t think about you fears, its simply that doing so is not going to help you.

Your best decision is to use the accurate information that you have gathered to make proactive and wise decisions for yourself and your family; and then to take action and continue this positive action towards what is desired.

This includes problem solving, choosing to hold reassuring thoughts and to speak these with others. What can you tell yourself and say out loud in the presence of others that will be reassuring and uplifting? You may also want to write these and to remind yourself of what is most helpful.

3. Finally, let me show you how to move out of fear into love.

You know how fear feels. We all have felt it. Fear of something imagined or real (such as this global health crisis) remains your reality for as long as you choose to focus on the future worse case outcome rather than focus on the present moment and what you are doing now to achieve what is your ideal or desired outcome.

Remember the strategies we’ve just discussed and the first best practice: to focus on how you want to feel and then to decide what you need to think or do to feel this – now.

You can also identify what you need in this moment to feel calm, secure, safe or any other desired feeling; and then seek this out, whether to calm yourself, to enjoy an activity in the present moment, to learn, to laugh, to enjoy being with your family, and to do your best to remain healthy; to take every precaution that you can, and to have faith and belief in a global positive outcome for all of us.

You also know how it feels to feel love. Try it with me now. Close your eyes. Say it for yourself. What do I love? What simple joys, pleasures do you love? Who do I love?

Notice what feelings rise up. Choose to focus for a little longer, here, in the space of what love feels like. Allow yourself to enjoy this feeling, to notice where in your body you feel the energy of love; to live in this feeling; to describe to yourself what the feeling of love feels like.

As you make the decision to live more of your life in the space of feeling the feelings of love; whether by thinking about those that you love, or what you love and feel appreciation for; what allows you to feel joy; and to witness the feeling of love and joy felt throughout your being, you can also begin to evoke love as a state that you live in; as you live from your heart more of the time, to step out of the busy nature of your mind and to live intuitively – in the present moment, and of your heart.

Let me show you how you can live as love as a way of being. It’s a simple heart opening meditative practice that will allow you to feel full with love.

As you close your eyes, imagine a beautiful light in your heart centre. Give this light a colour. What colour best represents for you the colour of light and the energy of love? See this colour glowing in your heart center.

As you give this light you attention, you realize that it is always present, always a part of you in all moments. Maybe before now you were not conscious of it but it has always been with you. Now when you wish to deliberately live out of your heart; see, imagine, and visualize this light within; glowing, and expansive.

Begin to witness it filling the area of your chest and expanding outward, filling your entire body. Notice the vibration of energy that you feel as you see and imagine the energy of your heart moving outward.

This is your reminder of the energy of love that you hold within and that you allow yourself to be by choice. As you hold this image and the feeling of this energy, you witness it as a sacred part of you.

Remember this energy – and the feeling of love as it rises up – expansive and throughout your being. Come back to it in all moments that you want to feel this love. This is what you are.

At this time in our lives, we all need to make the decision from where we will live; whether in a state of love, where we can share our loving nature with others by choice; through loving words and actions and as we choose to make responsible, educated decisions (and as you do so, to do so) out of love and the desire for what is wanted, as you hold faith and belief that your actions guided in the right way, will allow you to achieve all of what is most desired.

Dorothy is a Registered Psychotherapist, Author, Meditation Teacher and host of The WISDOM podcast. For more guidance, support, and love, please visit www.dorothyratusny.com. Namaste!

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