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Where is Calm in the New Normal?

How Tapping Small Inner Ripples Revealed my Inner Strength

Photo: Shutterstock

Constant change, little control, and a timeline into the unknown are the perfect storm for anxiety, overwhelm, and hopelessness.  

At a time when buying toilet paper isn’t even in my control, I’ve discovered calm ripples in things that can’t be found in the grocery aisle because they’re within me  – breathing, gratitude, and kindness.

These small, inner resources have made tiny ripples. I’ve followed these ripples to find a bigger wave of calm.

Starting with Breath

A type A person through and through, I literally have trouble sitting down. The stay-at -home order overwhelmed me until I made one small change. I now wake early to spend 30 minutes in my bed- a place where I feel insulated and safe from the day’s coming demands.

Propped in my covers, I sit with coffee and meditate. Meditation and breath are one and the same to me, and now’s the time to double down on growing my practice. As a result of this morning routine, I remember to stop and breathe throughout the day.

Awash in Gratitude

Washing my hands repeatedly with the precision of a surgeon ‘scrubbing in’, had begun to make me feel anxious. In addition, my raw hands were tangible, visible evidence reminding me that our world is not safe and we’re all vulnerable.

Adding gratitude to my hand washing habit, I thought of three things I’m grateful for during the 20 seconds I wash my hands (thank you Alexandra Hayes, March 19 Thrive Global post). This practice created an unexpected ripple for me.

Grateful awareness that I can work remotely, made me think of the sole entrepreneurs in my community – people struggling to earn their living because they’re can’t move their business home or on-line.  

I decided to pre-pay for many of my next services. #Payinginadvance to my hairstylist, dog groomer and others, allowed me to pay my luck forward. The positive feeling from these acts of kindness boosted me for days.

Mindful Attention

I’ve realized that my positive mindset is my greatest asset right now, and I need to protect it with fierce loyalty. This means recognizing the difference between ‘news’ and ‘information’.

There isn’t room to take in beneficial information if my attention is constantly on headline grabbing, sensationalized news. I now give my precious attention to searching for articles and information that support an actionable, positive mindset.

I also mindfully give attention to my kids. Item #1 in my daily to-do list is ‘Remember, your kids are watching’.

Like millions of young people, my daughter and son are now in college as a mix of on-line classes and zoom video office hours. In other words, they have the work of college without the fun of living the college experience.  I try to keep this in mind as we learn to live together in this new normal. It helps me find more patience.

I also think of how I look through their eyes as I handle my stress, whether it’s consumption of the daily news or grabbing that second glass of wine at the end of the day. My new normal is theirs now too.

This new normal is the calm I have revealed through my inner strengths. This calm will last much longer than the COVID-19 epidemic. This belief now carries me thorough each day.

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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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