What Fear Exposes

My new homepage is the Johns Hopkins coronavirus website, which you can find here: https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/map.html

As you see in the image above, the red dots indicating coronavirus spread are now covering almost the entire planet. We are definitely not flattening the curve. I think we all need to settle in, settle down and stop running to the markets for more food. It’s just an excuse to get out, precisely when what we need to do is stay in. But I am out of cucumbers, so maybe just one more market run.

Why is it so hard to sit still? When we think about this, it’s easy to see just how incredibly over stimulated we all are. So, how do we calm ourselves? How do we slow our brains down when we are surrounded by televisions, computers, and phones? All of these electronic devices seem to be conspiring against us. And the coronavirus symptoms only exacerbate the the situation. I’ve had a slight headache the past few days and have not felt my optimal self. Normally I would ignore it but in today’s environment I find myself checking my temperature and taking deep breaths to confirm that my lungs are still operating at full capacity. I look up the symptoms on multiple websites. Do I have it? Do we all have it? Is this a pandemic or is there something more nefarious going on? Is this a test to see if governments can control us? Our minds wander. Fear and paranoia are winning. People are stressed. We are hoarding food and stockpiling guns.

All of this behavior is the result of fear, and social media is only adding to the problem. We sit inside, alone with our social media reading about people who died or who may never recover. We have an insatiable thirst to know what is going on out there, and we have endless access to information. Some of it reliable, some of it not. Then our minds take what we learn and spin out of control. We forget to stop, but we can start with a breath. Inhale. Exhale. Feel this moment. Just being here, reading these words. Inhale. Exhale. We are going through a remarkable time together. We have all been pushed into this new situation. None of us have the right answer. We simply do not know what comes next. Our minds quickly move towards worry for our families, friends, and relatives. We are spinning in circles and we keep coming back around to fear of the unknown. It is not normal and it’s not easy, but there is a wonderful opportunity here.

At this moment many of us are living in a world where everyday loving kindness is our greatest priority. We are checking in daily with the people in our circle. Even better, we are expanding our circle by checking on neighbors we have never spoken to before. We are becoming more generous, perhaps even offering the last roll of toilet paper on the store shelf to someone who doesn’t already have ten rolls in their shopping cart. Okay, maybe not toilet paper but perhaps napkins. Change takes time. We stand on balconies and cheer for our healthcare workers. We find ourselves communicating differently with everyone. And all of these actions we are experiencing in person and on social media have a name. We call it love.

We are all experiencing an opportunity to touch the softest part of ourselves, our hearts. Each of us has different ways of dealing with our fears, but we are all sharing this new form of love. Only it is not new. It has always been here, just below the surface. It is our human nature and we are starting to see just how incredible life can be when we start with love.

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