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Mindfulness and Dealing with Coronavirus Chaos

Even in the face of disruption and chaos, you have a choice.

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Have any of you who are reading this article not been affected by the Coronavirus?

I didn’t think so.

We are indeed in unprecedented times. Wars, terrorist attacks, other threats of disease, and other issues have affected us as a country in the past, but we have never seen anything that fundamentally changed life as this virus. Everything has ground to a halt. I’m not sure what ESPN is going to show on TV since there are no sports of any kind. Everything closing seemed to reach its zenith when Walt Disney World closed. If Mickey is going to close the shop for a while, we might as well go and cross everything off our calendars.

The optimist knows that the United States has some of the best scientists and medical professionals in the world. If they have the freedom to do their job, we will be okay. This will, hopefully, end up being a blip on the radar of history noted for being very inconvenient, but without a great deal of suffering or loss of life. That is the prayer anyway.

The truth is that it is a situation that we all have to deal with today. It is going to impact everyone’s personal and professional life in so many ways; it would be ridiculous to list them all here. However, I advocate that by exercising mindfulness in this situation, or any crisis for that matter, we can all get through these next few weeks, month, or however long the world is topsy-turvy.

I define mindfulness as “a conscious choice of living in the present, guided by value-based decisions and exercising non-judgment on others. It is the state of being when your fundamental core values define your mindset, guide your decisions, and align your intentions and actions to serve, support, and champion the success of others.”

Let’s take that apart in light of our present circumstances. First of all, as much as we might not want to, we have to live in the present. We have to accept things as they are. You might not be able to travel to a conference or finally see Hamilton on Broadway, even though you have been treasuring the tickets for six months. Like I had to cancel my in-person retreats, another entrepreneur had to cancel a conference, you might have a drastic loss of income as soon as the next payday rolls around. Even though I not overly fond of this cliché, it “is what it is.” No amount of complaining or cursing is going to change that. Once you accept the situation as being here, no matter how much you don’t want it, then you can attack it.

Coronavirus is something that should be easy to apply nonjudgment to, no matter how tempted you are to blame it on politicians, other countries, or the person in your office who has been in contact with someone diagnosed with the virus. It is a germ – a particularly contagious one. However, when you take any difficulty in your life and look at it objectively as we should the Coronavirus, then you only have one choice – you have to figure out the best way to deal with that problem or issue or situation.

As you begin to come up with a plan of action, your core values help lead you to decide what to do. Your core values are those non-negotiable ideals that should shape every decision we make. Though life is becoming almost unrecognizable with the Corona challenge, that makes it essential to exercise your principles. For example, your business might be negatively affected at this time, but you don’t want to get rid of any of your people. Perhaps you can bring everyone together and explain that you have to give everyone some reduced hours rather than getting rid of one or more individuals. Appropriately clarified, you can keep everyone while riding out the proverbial storm.

An example like that shows how you align your values and actions to help the greater good. Mindfulness means consciously exercising all these steps when faced with a minor or major crisis. It is okay if it doesn’t come automatically to you. The critical action you have to undertake is to practice mindfulness so that it becomes a part of you and allows you to ask questions as to what is your civic responsibility? It is about getting the facts, like visiting the CDC site (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). As you implement mindfulness in your life daily, you will find that it becomes your automatic response to anything that you have to deal with in your life. 

Think about it! Wouldn’t managing life be a little easier if you were able to look at any problem life threw your way and systematically solve it to your satisfaction? Even life-changing events like Coronavirus could be faced down and dealt with to minimize the impact. So, here is a great opportunity – mainly because there is evident disruption – to practice mindfulness and then continue to use those lessons for everything else that you face in the future.

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    People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

    - MARCUS AURELIUS

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