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Is everything muddled? Small (and large) intentions give meaning.

Hello, friends, Like you (I hope!), I’m managing one day at a time. I’m careful when I check the news, and I pull myself out of fear-potholes before they become spirals to the center of anxiety. But the thing that grounds me the most is my intention. What’s yours?

Intention: What you have control of in these out-of-control times.

Over the years, I used my intention to manage family visits. One was to take a long exhale when my mother was doing her – really, Mom??!! – stuff. That helped me stay centered even in the emotional ups and downs.

In these surreal times, my intention at night continues to be rest and welcoming sleep, using the 7 pathways to rest.

During the days, I use these pathways to create intentions for my body, mind, actions, and more. Some days I choose one, some days 2-3, to structure my how I approach myself and the world.

Intentions can speak to many layers of who you are.

I’ve listed some suggestions below. Before you read them, take a breath… a long exhale… and now notice what draws you.

Physical: Care for and live in your body.  
Move, breathe, eat for nourishment, dance, sing….

Mental: Help the mind grow and focus. 
Learn, create, choose how and when to listen to the news….

Emotional: Honor feelings, release their energy in your body. 
Notice emotional sensations, shake your arms and legs, rock slowly side to side, zoom in and out….

Earth: Care for and feel nourished by nature. 
Go outside, garden, listen to birds, pick up trash, hug a tree….

Community/ family: Stay in touch with others. 
Say hello those you pass by (with distance) out walking, play online games, honor the helpers, hold others with kindness….

Self: Create room for your self and honor your needs. 
Clarify boundaries, be creative, hold yourself with kindness…

Spiritual: Remember and relate to a bigger presence. 
Meditate, pray, ask for help, surrender, feel support from the Mystery….

I also want to get in touch with a larger intention.

I was inspired by a letter from Jack Kornfield, a leader who brought Vispassana (Insight Meditation) to the US. Here’s some of what he said that moved me:

Epidemics, like earthquakes, tornadoes and floods, are part of the cycle of life on planet Earth.

How will we respond? …. What can I do? What can we do?

In this moment we can sit quietly, take a deep breath, and acknowledge our fear and apprehension, our uncertainty and helplessness… and hold all these feelings with a compassionate heart. We can say to our feelings and uncertainty, “Thank you for trying to protect me,” and “I am OK for now.” We can put our fears in the lap of Buddha, Mother Mary, Quan Yin, …in the hearts of the generations of brave physicians and scientists who tended the world in former epidemics.

When we do, we can feel ourselves part of something greater, of generations of survivors in the vast web of history and life, “being carried” as the Ojibwa elders say, “by great winds across the sky.”

….It is time to be the medicine, the uplifting music, the lamp in the darkness.

Let this vow become your North Star. Whenever you feel lost, remember and it will remind you what matters.

Burst out with love. Be a carrier of hope.

If there is a funeral, send them off with a song.

Trust your dignity and goodness.

Where others hoard…help.

Where others deceive…stand up for truth.

Where others are overwhelmed or uncaring…be kind and respectful.

When you worry about your parents, your children, your beloveds, let your heart open to share in everyone’s care for their parents, their children and their loved ones. This is the great heart of compassion. Direct compassion toward everyone—those who are suffering and vulnerable and those who are causing suffering. We are in this together.

This virus can remind us we’re all in this together.

Let’s connect with kindness for ourselves, each other, and this little earth.

 

 

With care for each of you and your loved ones,

Sondra

P.S. I send a special tree hug to all you parents, children of adult parents, those caring for our health and food needs, and anyone in great pain of late.

The word “heroes” is a little glib for me, but I appreciate your work to stay present and do what is needed. Just go hug a tree and you’ll get mine back.

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