“You can chain me, you can torture me, you can even destroy this body, but you will never imprison my mind.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi
I know how hard it is to feel like your life is shut down.
In early August, 2019, I was finally finding my groove in a new chapter of life. I was volunteering with hospice, publishing a new book (Reaching for Orange: Practices, Visualizations, & Blessings to Help You Happy Up Your Life), and preparing to lead healing circles again… But then a debilitating relapse into Fibromyalgia stopped me in my happy tracks. Suddenly I was homebound, canceling all of my plans and dreams.
After several months and many medical appointments, it was determined that along with Fibromyalgia, I have an Anxiety Disorder. Similar to the “which came first, the bird or the egg” question, it is unclear as to whether the anxiety caused the fibro, or the fibro caused the anxiety, but in any case, the symptoms are ongoing, ever-changing, maddening, and debilitating.
Needless to say, after being home for 8 months, I have figured out some ways to make the best of the situation. It helps that I was a homebody anyway, and my heart really goes out to those of you who are not naturally homebodies. If you are the kind of person who really thrives on extroverted worldly connections, I hope you can find some hidden internal pathways to joy that will sustain you during this time.
So, here are some tips for making the best of staying home ~
~ Acknowledge what you feel, and allow space for all the negative thoughts… Express your thoughts and feelings through writing them down or speaking them to others. Give yourself permission to be negative for some time, but don’t let yourself get stuck in negativity. Air it out, like you would shake out a rug, and then settle yourself down neatly into a calmer state. You can settle down through focusing on your breath, or tuning in to your heart (or belly or feet), or cultivating gratitude.
~ Choose to be happy… Per the Upanishads, a collection of wisdom by the ancient mystics of India, the mind is the means to happiness. Say over and over, “I am choosing to be happy.” Focus on doing things that really bring you joy, such as singing, dancing, and drinking coffee or tea.
~ Get dressed… Even if you are staying home all day, getting dressed will make you feel good. Lately I have even been putting on dangly earrings each day! And, even though I’m not going anywhere, I really enjoy the artistic feeling of putting together colorful outfits!
~ Cultivate Gratitude… Feeling grateful gives a big boost to your immune system, so take some time each day to count your blessings. Write them down, or tell others, or visit the Gratitude~Up Community Page here in this StarFire Temple of Happiness!
~ Keep perspective… Remember that you are not in prison, that you are staying home for your own safety and to protect others. And anyway, even if you were in prison, just like Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela, you can use the time wisely for writing or other creative endeavors, with a strong mind and a brave heart. Be relentless in seeing the Big Picture as you navigate this surreal time.
~ Create and follow a daily routine… The stability of a daily schedule will help to calm your nerves during this time of extreme change. Be sure to include some practices, such as sitting meditation, chanting (singing), visualization, and/or cultivating the Witness Consciousness. (You can read about these practices and many more in my book Reaching for Orange.)
~ Consciously work on elevating your virtues… The following qualities are really needed now: Patience, Understanding, Acceptance, Trust, Surrender, Loving-Kindness, Self-Love, and Peace.
My dear ones, I really hope this post is helpful to you. May you be of good courage and be of good cheer. May your days at home be blessed with goodness. May the Force of All Light energize and elevate you! May you be calm and happy in the midst of this bizarre sci-fi novel we are living in!
Happy Ram Navami to all who celebrate! Jai Sri Rama!
With happy high vibes,
Photo by Andrian Valeanu on Unsplash.