Panic is infectious. When the energy surrounding you is charged with fear, anxiety, hopelessness, and agitation, it can be extremely difficult to retain a calm and collected demeanor. Even the most spiritually strong and resolved among us can find ourselves carried away in the waves of apprehension when pressed enough and our steadfast principles become that much easier to fall by the wayside. The global pandemic we have currently found ourselves in the middle of has proven this to be true beyond a shadow of a doubt – an unprecedented sitiation. It is scary. It can be paranoia and worry-inducing on an extreme level. It is easier than ever to get carried away in our relentless ruminations. While it’s important to recognize that it’s natural to feel uneasy (at the very least) in times like these, it is imperative that we maintain and stay the course.
I had a hard time this week. I don’t think I got a solid night’s rest once. My head would hit the pillow after relentlessly monitoring the news for hours and the inner machinations of my brain would start turning, exploring what if’s nonstop. I started overindulging in unhealthy food after having dialed in my nutrition for the past several months. I found myself spending more time with the news and my phone than with other people. I am by no means a perfect example of spiritual living but before this madness struck I’d like to say I was working a decently solid program. Very simply, and swiftly, I let those things slide. I let myself get carried away. My firm diligence, my studious approach to healthy spiritual living was blotted out by the collective panic infused atmosphere surrounding me.
After soaking in some good emotionally exhaustive depression for longer than I should have, I realized how useless this attitude is. I asked myself, what exactly am I accomplishing by reading the news 6 hours a day? Is it serving myself, my family, and my friends to wallow in the negativity of this situation constantly? Of course, it’s not; when I can’t focus on anything but the sordid drama unfolding incessantly in my head I’m of no service to anyone else. I am not present. I am not available emotionally or physically. And when I’m not present, when I’m not directing my thoughts toward God and others, I backslide toward miserable self-absorption. Now, more so than probably any other time in our lives, is the time to be strong for others. It is the time to practice prayer and meditation. It’s the time to ask God for his enduring wisdom and guidance. It’s the time to simply take care of ourselves on the most basic level. Don’t let go of your boundaries, your principles, your education that you’ve endured so much to internalize. The things that have always worked for us in the past will continue to work for us now if we press on and utilize them, even when it seems like the world is crumbling around us.
While I’d like to say my realization was self-motivated, I’d be remiss if I didn’t explain its inspiration. While doing my usual hourly news roundup I stumbled upon a short video online. In it, a man looks at me directly through the camera and said: “YOU LOOK GOOD TODAY. I’M GLAD YOU GOT UP TODAY. I KNOW YOU REALLY DIDN’T WANT TO AND I KNOW YOU REALLY GOING THROUGH IT RIGHT NOW, BUT I LOVE HOW YOU KEEP PUSHING. I LOVE YOU! GOD LOVES YOU! YOU HAVE A PURPOSE IN THIS WORLD, DON’T EVER FORGET THAT!” As you can probably tell from the caps, the gentleman in the video is aggressively yelling these affirmations and encouragement. And that might sound silly, but it was in that exact moment as I watched it that I snapped out of my BS and realized I had to move on. I wasn’t going to solve the world’s problems by endlessly turning them over in my mind. I wasn’t going to escape my sadness by sitting in it either. What I could do, and should have done in the first place, is resolutely turn my thoughts toward God’s will for me. To embrace positivity. In this time of seeming insanity a positive attitude and Godly work can be like miracles to the people around us.
Check in with 5 people close to you daily. Ask them how they are holding up. Ask them if there’s anything you can do to help them in these trying times. If you have any extra supplies or groceries, see who might need them. Start your day with prayer and meditation. Get some exercise. Lean on your mentors in PALS, your church, or support group. Hold onto the education you’ve worked so hard to accept and implement. Greet the people you see with a friendly smile. Eat a comforting meal or make dessert for your family (just don’t eat the whole cake.) Watch a man scream affirmations at you on you-tube. WHATEVER IT TAKES! If God carried me through the hopeless and painful disease of addiction, I have to believe that he’ll carry us through this too. Stay safe.
Sean – In Recovery
You can read, comment and ask questions for Sean to address in his blog on the PAL website, home page – www.Palgroup.org