Be Well Be Happy

Spending even more time with myself prompted me to think about “contentment” and how really hard it is when something colossal is going on. Being content at where we are in our lives, the circumstances we find ourselves in, the people we have around us.

I am finding during this time that it is impossible to embrace the total feeling of contentment. Rather, I am feeling that I can be accepting of what is going on. I can accept that which I cannot control. By letting feelings arise, naming them and expressing how we are feeling is a way of bringing to the surface the personal effects of this so-hard-to-believe tidal wave. And this leads the way towards acceptance, which in turn brings a feeling of peace and ease. 

A special person shared an article with me when I acknowledged that I am practicing acceptance now. In it, the author interviews David Kessler, who is an expert on grief. He co-wrote the book on grief with Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, and wrote one on his own adding an understandable, hopeful, light aspect to the stages of grieving. 

Kessler expresses that we are grieving—everything as we know it has changed, feeling a loss for life as we knew it, and we’re grieving all together.   And, because we do not know what is going to happen, how long this is going to be, who is going to get sick, who is going to die, the “anticipatory grief,” as he calls it, strips us of any safety net we have. He says, “Acceptance, is where the power lies. We find control in acceptance. ‘I can wash my hands. I can keep a safe distance. I can learn how to work virtually.’” This hit home for me.

There are a few other pointers Kessler shares which taken all together, provide a recipe for coping, then moving forward away from being stuck in the harsh realities. One is to “find the balance in the things you’re thinking.” Bringing the swinging pendulum to center: on one end my ___ is going to die to no one else is going to die because we’re all self-quarantining to somewhere in the middle. 

The second is “to come into the present.” We talk about this in our columns over and over again. Be here now. Things have definitely slowed down, so just taking the time to look around, making a mental note of the objects, people, dogs, cats, plants, flowers, whatever is in the room with you—bringing your mind right back in to your body—and breathe. That’s what it means to be in the present and being fully present in most every moment and situation is a gift—a waking up to life no matter what the circumstances. 

“Let go of what you can’t control. What your neighbor is doing is out of your control.  What is in your control is staying six feet away from them and washing your hands. Focus on that.”

“Stock up on compassion.” Be patient with others—and give them some of these tools to work with, starting with naming the deep feeling as grief and going from there. Kessler’s last stage: “Meaning.” Eventually we can find some meaning and light in the dark times. I have personally experienced some of these moments in these past weeks. I wish for you the same. 

(Interview from “That Discomfort You’re Feeling is Grief” by Scott Berinato.)

May you have some light moments filled with love and compassion. May you find some inner peace, some calming. May you connect with others in a deep profound way. May you find meaning in the simplest of things. May you be happy, healthy and whole. 

By Paulette Mancuga

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