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Peace to you, my friend! I’ve been in quarantine by myself now for over a month. I have much more work than normal offering extra support during this time and strengthening our community with additional offerings. I have no complaints.
In breaks, I like to catch up a bit while cooking and I watch youtube videos of the late-night hosts doing their shows from their homes. They have a lot of jokes about how they’ve seen everything on Netflix and are bored.
I get it. They’re used to commuting and having meetings all day long and getting dressed in hair and make-up, having rehearsals and all kinds of activities that they don’t have while doing the show from home.
Spiritual students who have the luxury to quarantine at home or who are forced to quarantine, have been laid off or fired due to the virus are having a different experience.
This is the time that we were born for and have been preparing for our entire lives. This is a time when we can do more spiritual practice and focus on being truly helpful in our community.
Now, more than ever, our brothers and sisters are turning to us for support.
It’s time for us to strengthen our hearts.
I was sharing in class yesterday that, at the beginning of this pandemic, I was watching an hour or so of news a day, while cooking and doing things around the house. I was learning about the whole virus situation, just like everyone else.
Now, I don’t feel a need to focus on virus news. I can read a few tweets, check the headlines in a few papers and that’ll do me.
My job is to be at Peace, and to know that, despite ALL appearances, everything is working together for our good. More people are becoming more compassionate than ever. They’re opening their hearts to those who are in service, and those who have lost loved ones.
Just think, each day in NYC, at 7pm, the entire city applauds their health care workers and those in service to help them get through this incredibly difficult time. I lived in New York for 10 years and people used to say that New Yorkers are tough, and they are. They are resilient. They are strong and they are also loving and appreciative.
The toughest people on earth are the ones with the biggest hearts. Or so it seems to me.
One of the things that helps us navigate this intensity is to be able to feel our feelings and let them pass on through. Rather than deny them or subvert them, we can learn to feel our feelings. That does take strength and courage. It also builds strength, courage and compassion that we can share with others.
When we have the capacity to honor our own feelings without drowning in them, then we can support others who are going through a tough time and not fear their emotional outbursts.
Many people are grieving now, and suddenly. There is the obvious grief for the loss of life, but many are grieving the loss of their lifestyle, their job, their plans for the future and a myriad of things that they’d thought would be theirs.
Think of the weddings delayed.
Think of the families with new babies that no one can come visit.
Having offered grief support to many people for decades, one thing I know is that many, MANY people don’t know how to handle grief, and they definitely aren’t very good at handling the grief of other people.
Many of the folks I’ve talked to have been intensely wounded by the thoughtless things people have said to them. People don’t have an intention to be unkind or disrespectful, they just don’t understand what the grieving person is going through.
One of the most intense things I’ve ever heard said to someone grieving was said to an 84 year old woman who had recently lost her husband of more than 60 years. After only a few months into her widowhood, some of her closest friends were telling her she had to “get over it.” I was shocked.
Of course, this woman’s friends didn’t wish to hurt her feelings or disrespect her. Not at all, they just wanted her to be happy again and move on.
When our loved ones pass away, we aren’t going to get over it.
And we’re not going to move on.
Those things aren’t ever going to happen.
They are unrealistic expectations.
When someone loses a child, a parent or a spouse, a dear friend, even a beloved dog, please don’t ever say anything about getting over it or moving on.
To the person who is grieving, it’s worse than saying to someone who just had both their arms amputated, “you have to get over it.” They’re not going to EVER get over it. What they WILL do is learn to live with it, but until that day comes, they’re going to grieve and that will include being in denial, being angry, and feeling like they wish they could just die too. These feelings are normal.
Even our most extreme feelings are often perfectly normal.
Please don’t tell people to get over it or move on.
And, when people tell YOU those things, just bless them. You may want to smack them or shake them, but they don’t know what they’re talking about. They are ignorant. Not stupid, just ignorant.
If they knew what they were talking about they would just be quiet, and say something like, “I’m so sorry for your loss. I can’t even imagine what you’re going through. This must be so hard for you. That is so rough. I don’t know how you can handle it.”
You really don’t need to say any more than that.
Sometimes it can be helpful to say, “I know you’ll get through this. It’s very intense, and I’m here to support you.” But no one really NEEDS to hear that.
Initially, it’s not a good idea to ask people how you can help them. I know that seems counter intuitive. But if they have to figure out how you can help them it just becomes more work for them. If you ask them how you can help, now they have one more thing to do. Now they have to help YOU.
Instead, just start helping.
That’s why people bring food.
Bring food that can be put in the freezer.
Cut their lawn.
Walk their dog.
Take out their trash, bring their cans to the curb, put them back.
Water the lawn.
Clean the kitchen.
Do the laundry.
Offer to wash their car, gas up their car, drive them places and don’t take no for an answer.
Do whatever you can do. Take care of their recycling.
Just do stuff. Everyone can use help. Especially now.
And let’s remember that our hearts, like our bones, can actually be stronger for having gone through the challenges.
We live to Love another day and with more compassion than ever.
I like to celebrate Spirit with friends and so this Sunday I’m starting live-stream Sunday services – open to all. Join me, Lisa Natoli, Jimmy Twyman and more friends. We’ll have a spiritual celebration together and if you can’t join us, you can catch the replay! Because we’re going to be live on video, you’ll have to register to get the details. All are welcome, there’s no charge.
Every day, part of my spiritual practice is to write inspiration and record a prayer to go with it. You can join me in cultivating the willingness that raises us ALL up so we can be truly helpful in this world. Please share my daily prayer with anyone who would find it helpful.
If you’d like extra support, you can subscribe to “My Daily Shot of Spiritual Espresso” if you haven’t already.
Having trouble sleeping?
There are more than 444 episodes of my radio show on podcast. And some people listen to me as they fall asleep. I don’t take it personally when folks tell me I put them to sleep. I’m glad my voice can be soothing. You can subscribe to my podcast and have that as a resource. Maybe I can help you fall asleep.
All of this is free.
I look forward to our Sunday gathering. It means so much that we can join together and love on each other!
May you and your family feel blessed today and every day!