Rev. Elizabeth M. Semenova, MSW MTS Practice Director & Psychospiritual Guide
By: Rev. Elizabeth M. Semenova, MSW MTS, Practice Director & Psychospiritual Guide
We’re all experiencing an upheaval in our daily lives, which is bringing to bear our unique versions of grief and existential questioning. For some of us it’s bringing up a lot of fear, anxiety, loss, grief, frustration, and anger. When these thoughts and feelings arise, it can be hard to feel safe, to feel like everything is or is going to be ok.
How do we care for ourselves and each other through this journey?
How do we meet our basic needs and support the needs of the more vulnerable?
How do we facilitate healing within and bring that to our loved ones?
I cannot speak to every issue that arises, but issues around the various forms of fear, grief and anxiety that have been coming up for people certainly speak to me.
Here are some brief offerings in matters of mind, heart and spirit, in the hopes that they may serve you along the journey:
1. Create space for yourself. We’re all sharing spaces with people we love who probably trigger the heck out of us. We’re all doing our best to stay calm and comfortable while our deepest fears are bubbling to the surface. This is an opportunity to encounter yourself at a new level.
This is an opportunity to build practices that will support you not only through the course of the Coronavirus pandemic, but through the course of the rest of your life. This is an opportunity to honor yourself in a new way, and to learn or practice honoring others, too.
2. Give yourself permission. Everyone is feeling a mixture of intense emotions, and many of us find ourselves battling challenging thoughts. Sometimes these thoughts and emotions can feel overwhelming. Often our response to that sensation is to resist the experience – to push or pray it away, or distract ourselves with activities of purpose.
These responses make sense! However, the result is often that the burdensome experience returns, often amplified. What can we do instead? Honor the things that are coming up for you. Allow yourself to experience them, to give voice to them, to differentiate yourself from your thoughts and emotions.
Some ways this can be facilitated are by having a meditative conversation within yourself, writing in a journal, or talking with a trusted friend or guide.
3. Ground yourself in the moment. When everything is upside down and you’ve got heavy ideas and emotions swirling, it can be easy to lost. Bring yourself back to presence with yourself in this moment.
Some ways to facilitate this are breathing and sensory meditations that focus on experiencing your body in the moment, getting outside to connect with nature and move your body, or writing about what’s happening in the here and now (eg: Where are you right now? What you are actively experiencing? What would you prefer to be experiencing? How can you facilitate that shift?).
4. Facilitate a shift. After inviting yourself to simply BE, and allowing the experience of whatever was present to rise and be honored, you can invite yourself into a different space. Envision what you would prefer to experience in this moment – peace-of-mind, generosity of heart, wisdom and clarity in the face of upheaval, etc.
See and feel yourself in the space, let the experience of it sink into your being. Register the sensory experience of choosing peace or joy or love, and give yourself permission to come back to this nurturing experience any time you choose to.
5. Offer the gift of service. Once you are connected to yourself in the moment, you’ve allowed yourself to experience the uncomfortable emotions, and have facilitated a gentle shift, you are now in a space to offer something to someone else.
It may be something very small, or something more grand, whatever is possible for you in the moment – a smile to someone you’re sharing space with, a text or a call to someone you care about but haven’t seen since things changed, a trip to the store for someone unable to go, a word of encouragement to someone else facing challenges, or a thank you to someone who’s supported you in this difficult time.
6. Give thanks for the gifts. Each of us is experiencing upheaval unlike any we’ve known before. Even in the most tenuous of circumstances, there is often still room for gratitude. As with gifts of service, opportunities may be small and underwhelming in comparison to the changes and losses we’re experiencing.
Nonetheless, I’d encourage you to explore where those little gifts, opportunity and silver linings may be, because every little bit of gratitude can make a difference in your experience of this journey.
We’re Deeply Interconnected
We are increasingly discovering how deeply interconnected we all are, and how valuable the presence and love we offer each other is. If this message resonates with you, please feel free to share with other; if you have trouble engaging it, please don’t hesitate to reach out.
We are all guiding each other along this bizarre and magnificent journey. Let us buoy and support each other each step of the way.
For support, guidance or more information, please reach out directly to Elizabeth Semenova at firstname.lastname@example.org or reach out to the practice, Integrated MD Care at 858-925-7445 (https://integratedmdcare.com/elizabeth-semenova/).