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How to decontaminate your mind

My home town became a no-hug, no-handshake, Zoom-video land this week, thanks to Covid-19 (global virus originating in China).

Friends and clients who were maintaining a delicate balance of stress have been knocked over the edge. Coughing in your sleeve, 20-second hand-washing, and not touching your face doesn’t calm a scared heart.

However we’re not lost in a touchy (don’t touch!) world. Connecting to a bigger presence or view gives your heart room to navigate, so your body and mind can be more at ease.

Moving from me to the world.

I usually don’t buy into hysteria, but there’s a lot unclear about the virus. While I’m not too worried for me (I don’t like to be sick, but I’d manage) I do worry about some of those I love. However I can’t live their lives, so there’s not much I can do. Other than irk them with unasked-for advice.

Beyond my own life, there’s my community.

At first, I was a bit cavalier about my insignificant role in spreading the disease. Then I shook the hand offered by a young woman. No big deal until she started telling me that she was autoimmune compromised! I didn’t want to unwittingly get her sick and was glad she kindly washed her hands when I asked. Now I’m making very few assumptions about who I think is safe.

My city and state are frantically trying to do what they can to minimize contagion. Who knows if this will make a difference after previous weeks of faulty and unavailable tests? But in case it does, I’m keeping my distance and hugging trees instead of people.

A bigger view is the one of our sweet planet. While events like this can be difficult on humans, they can can help ki* heal.

I appreciate that Covid-19 has reduced flying, and air pollution in China has gone way down. And as we stay at home more and travel less, we are reducing carbon emission, a good thing.

And then there’s the spiritual dimension; it helps with grief and fear.

Grieving is part of being alive, a painful part that I know—my two best friends and husband died within two intense years. I came through it with wisdom I’d not have found otherwise. (I’d have liked both the wisdom and the people alive… but wasn’t asked.)

What’s helped me manage grief and fear is a connection to something bigger.

Now, that’s not always an automatic feeling, so I’ve purposefully deepened that connection over the years.

Sometimes it feels like the flow of nature; other times, I imagine a personal relationship with the Divine. In all of that, there’s a purpose and Mystery I don’t know the answers to.

“I don’t know, I can’t know,” helps me decontaminate my mind and body, allows rest and conscious breaths, more kindness to myself and others, and more intention in this life I’m in.

Here’s a way to try it for yourself right now:

The purpose isn’t to eliminate your fear or anxiety by magic—poof! It’s to let just a part, a layer, maybe a molecule let go a bit… so stuckness and clutching doesn’t define all of who you are in the world.

Start by taking a gentle breath and exhaling a little longer than usual.

  • Feel gravity holding you to the earth… your feet on the floor or couch, bottom on a chair, arms where they’re resting.
  • Imagine you can send roots into the earth.They can be beams of energy, light, sound waves, plant roots, or…?
    Your tap root can descend from your feet or the base of your spine, wherever feels right. It goes through your chair, the floor, through the foundation of the building into the earth.
    This root goes past plants, bugs, and microbiome under the building into the crust of the earth. It can go down as far as you want, maybe into earth’s mantle or core.

  • Feel the energy from the earth come up and fill you as you inhale, and your excess tension going down into the earth as you exhale. It gets recycled to its highest good.

  • If you’d like, you can also feel energy from the sky, sun, stars coming down through the top of your head, down your spine. It mixes with the earth’s energy and cleans out tension in your body, which then leaves through your roots into the earth.

  • Let yourself settle into being connected to a bigger presence, and breathe gently into it. Feel yourself be more here, in your place on earth.

I’m curious about how this all works for you. Leave a comment if you would, or let me know.

Wishing you healthy, restful days and nights,

Sondra

Ki (“kin” is plural): a gender neutral term for earth, plants, and nature that’s not an object, like “it.”
This term was coined by Robin Ward Kimmerer, author of Braiding Sweetgrass. See The Language of the Earth for more information.

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