The popular quote often contributed to Gandhi challenges us to act in the way we want others to act, and to be the way we want others to be. Personal and social transformation go hand-in-hand. This is sound and true advice any day, but it’s especially helpful right now.
Our entire planet is facing the biggest challenge we’ve ever seen our lifetimes: a global pandemic.
Schools and workplaces have been shut down and people all over the globe have been forced into their homes to attempt to slow the spread of the virus. It’s unlike anything we’ve ever seen.
People are dying and it can be very difficult to watch. But this is the time we need to come together, more than ever.
Ed and Deb Shapiro said, ” It is in those very moments when everything looks hopeless that we have a real chance to grow into something better: what the caterpillar calls the end of the world, we call a butterfly!” (The Unexpected Power of Mindfulness and Meditation)
This is not to make light of the struggle that so many are going through right now, nor is it to be callous about the deaths. It’s an opportunity to find our own place in it.
What can you do when it feels like it’s all out of control? You turn to the one thing you can control: yourself.
Your thoughts, your actions, and your emotions are things that you get to choose; you get to control.
You can choose to feed into fear and panic, or you can choose to step into the light and find peace and comfort.
And this is no easy feat, in times like this. There will be times you need to cry, and that’s okay. There may be times you feel angry, and that’s okay. Allow whatever emotions come to flow, but don’t get stuck in them. Feel them and then when you’re ready, move through them.
Be aware of what you give your energy to. This is good advice always, but especially now. Checking the news is okay. Scrolling Facebook to check in with your friends? Fine.
Unless these things are causing you stress and negative energy. If you find yourself getting sucked into Facebook arguments, or feeling cranky, irritable and sad after watching too much news, then you are allowing these things to impact your energy.
This doesn’t mean you have to completely ignore the goings-on of the world. But only YOU can decide how much is too much for you.
When someone or something triggers you (makes you upset, angry, sad, or want to lash out in any way), rather than taking action, stop and think on it a bit. Think about what you’re feeling and why. What has this person or this situation triggered in you?
What is it showing you that you need to heal or let go of? Rather than lash out, look within. Heal yourself.
Practice turning your negative thoughts into positive action. Here are some examples:
“I wish people would stop being so mean to one another!” >>> Take action to show kindness to more people every day.
“___ is always judging everyone! >>> Look for how you judge others in your life and make it a practice to stop.
“People sit behind their keyboard and complain but they do nothing to help!” >>> Look for ways you can contribute to the current situation yourself.
See how that works? We can’t control what the world outside of us does or thinks, but we control how we respond to it and we can also choose to put our own bright light out into the world.
When people around you see you shine, it motivates them to shine their light as well. And this is how we can change the world – through being the example, through being part of the solution, and through being the change you wish to see.
Stay safe, my friends. Look after one another, and spread the love. The world can do with a bit more of it right now.