These are times when a lot of expectations have fallen through. Some of us are cancelling tickets for long-planned vacations and taking a deep breath to manage our families inside the confines of one house for the foreseeable future. Some of us have worked tirelessly to achieve a dream; and now, when the end is almost in sight, we have to wait (no one knows how long) for results. And nearly all of us are watching our expectations of what a normal day looks like disappear, leaving us to stand on unsure ground that shifts and unbalances us every other day.
In moments like these, how do we keep soldiering on? How do we exchange a daily dose of disappointment for that Zen feeling of being in full control of our lives, of our families or even of our own emotions?
In our home we try to focus on two G’s every day.
Gratitude: Every evening, as the stars begin to show up, one every minute against a darkening sky, we walk out, turn our faces upward and we count every single thing we are thankful for. We have jobs, we have health. We have friends we cannot meet, yes. But we stay in touch, and they are concerned and considerate about how we are doing at all times. We have enough to eat, we have each other. We think of someone’s smile. Someone else’s selfless act of giving. We think of the faceless teams working to keep our world going on at times like this. And our gratitude is such an amazingly powerful instrument that ushers in calmness, composure, and lasting contentment.
Grace: The next morning, waking up to a sun that wakes up even before we do, we write down goals. Small, achievable steps. And when those steps are written, we jot down those failed expectations and underline them – because we are willing to wait, able to be patient, and we fully understand that this too shall pass. Although things may not go the way we planned it, there is a larger picture, a bigger motive, a grand design. We close our eyes, take a deep breath and wait for the grace of God to shine through. When our brains wire us to ask why, we remind ourselves that such questions distract our attention, divert our positivity and drain our energies. Focus instead on what needs to be done, how to band together to protect those among us who are most vulnerable and how to carry our ship through the rough seas with optimism, cooperation and faith.
Here is a simple meditation you can try to harness calmness and slowly build it up over the next few weeks.
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