Coronavirus and Your MENTAL Health

Can you get in a solitary walk today? Right now, the world feels quite chaotic. It seems like it is at best a swirl of uncontrollable chaos and at worst, a seeming death spiral of plague, financial loss, and social isolation. Heavy heavy stuff.

As you may know, our minds are designed to fixate on potential threats. It’s constantly scanning for “what’s going on?”, “what’s going on?”, and “what’s going on?” That its job and it is designed to keep us safe from potential threats. And that’s a good thing.

The problem is that our brain then keeps pushing us for more data on this threat and stories get made up in our minds about future catastrophes. And you know you’re in a false emergency when your mind is giving you a story about future bad (or good) things.

A true emergency reveals itself through the LACK of story. When you’re in a real emergency, stories drop away. Hand wringing stops. You’re actually more in the midst of calm as your mind drops away and you’re left with pure presence as you deal with the immediate threat to your safety. Everything else is just a story that is likely not true.

For me, I saw that I started to fixate on the lack of testing. I wanted to know why the US wasn’t testing, how we got here, and who made the decision to not accept the WHO testing kits. Also, I wanted to know how South Korea could be testing something like 10,000 people per day and we had something like 4600 total tested. I went deep down the rabbit hole and spent hours chasing down various news sources. So now I have a better sense of how we got here. But how does knowing about our testing problems and delays help?

I see now that I was using the testing kits as a proxy to try to control the covid-19 chaos. If I understood how many people had, I could understand its trajectory in the US, and even how long this would last. Of course that’s all false. I don’t know what’s going to happen with additional testing data.

And I do know that all the time I spent on my phone on Facebook and searching news sites meant I wasn’t here in the present. I wasn’t spending time with my kids. And I was distracted enough by these swirling thoughts in my mind that I forgot a lot of things on my list when I was at the store.

Knowing how my mind is designed to focus on threats is so helpful. Now that I know what it does, I can accept that and also detach from the stories my mind is building to support my focusing on the threat.

I also noticed that I’m experiencing high anxiety because my mind is focusing on the coronavirus and I haven’t been present to my own body and its needs. Sensing this, I began to deliberately detach from my thoughts and can see them swirling in my mind, bumping into each other, speeding up and getting frenzied. My breath is also affected and I find myself breathing far more shallowly than I have been. My attention span is incredibly short right now.

And none of this is helpful in any way. It’s unnecessary anxiety. So I accepted my mind for what it does, loved it for protecting me, and put the grown up in charge.

The plan for today is immensely reduce my time on social media and on news sites. There’s almost nothing more that I can do to plan or prepare for this. We’ve been practicing social distancing for nearly a week now. We have enough shelf stable food to last for a few months. I have the ability to exercise and do yoga at home. I can instead deepen my practice of being present and detach from any future or past thoughts.

My thoughts are already slowing. My anxiety is already much lessened. I feel so much more capable and relaxed.

If this sounds good to you, I recommend that you do the following:

#1 – recognize your thoughts and start to detach from them. You are not your thoughts and you don’t have to believe your thoughts (likely of doom and gloom future events). But the first step is to actually identify them as they cross your mental screen.

#2- drop your stories. Get the data you need about the virus. Make a plan for your family in terms of food, supplies, medical needs and then follow the plan. And then drop any story in your mind about future catastrophe. Just drop it. Don’t feed it. Don’t follow it. Just drop it as soon as you become aware of it.

#3- limit your time on social media and your phone. Others are likely still caught up in their future stories and are fearful. Limit your exposure to it. And put your phone down and be here now.

#4- practice calming techniques. Sit in stillness and silence. Take long deep breaths in and even longer breaths out. Like count to 6 on your in breath and 8 on your out breath. This activates your parasympathetic nervous system and allows your body to drop out of flight or fight and into rest and relaxation. Take a solitary walk in nature, while still practicing social distance.

These feel like scary times. But only because you’re thinking about them that way. Understand that your thoughts about the entire circumstances drive your feelings and your actions. Practice creating better thoughts about these circumstance and your feelings and actions will be better and serve you better.

Hugs and much love to you.

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4 Ways To Reduce Your Plastic Usage

After spending 9 months in Bali, my outrage at the mess we’re making of our planet appears to be limitless. However, outrage without action is of no help at all to anyone. I’ve been thinking on this issue a great deal since then, trying to think how I can help and what could be a global solution for our excessive plastic usage and the mess we’ve made of the ocean.

First, I want to utterly reduce my personal/household usage of anything plastic. I think we should outright ban all styrofoam and plastic production and usage. Realistically, I’m aware that state of reality is far off. So what can I do now?

#1- Stop using reusable bags for all of your shopping and never ever take a plastic bag from the grocery story again.

Even for your meat. Even for your potentially leaking whatever. Stop using all plastic bags. Put your meat in a washable, reusable bag and clean the bag once you’re home. Easy peasy.

This means too you have to tell the cashier that you don’t want any plastic bags right up front or they will just use plastic bags as they are trained to do, for certain items- like raw meat and precooked items.

#2- Stop buying liquid soap, shampoo, and conditioner. Of any kind. This is a biggie. I know.

First, use up all of the liquid soaps and shampoo and conditioner that you have. Not using them means wasting what you already purchased and unnecessarily adds to the plastic bottle trash. Then, save the bottles and rinse them out. You never know what you may need them for in the future and you don’t want to BUY more bottles. So keeps those stored in the back of the closet or somewhere so it’s not cluttering your space.

Move to bar soap, bar shampoo, bar conditioner, and bar lotion. You may be wondering what this is. There are several companies who have seen the light and understand there is a burgeoning need for plastic free everything. Specifically:

As you know, bar soap can be found anywhere. Just be sure to buy soap that isn’t in a plastic wrapper. Obvs.

But what are bar shampoos, conditioners, and lotion you may ask. Right now, I’m using the Ethique brand for all of this. I think it works as well as liquid conditioner.

I also have a few brands from France that I picked up while traveling so I’ll let you know how those fare when I’ve used them.

I actually haven’t used the bar lotion yet because I’m using up every drop of my previous lotion purchases from before leaving for Bali. I have several partially used bottles so using those is my first priority. However, I have ordered this bar lotion from Amazon and I have some tea tree oil so I’m going to whip it up and see how it is. I’m excited at all the applications for shea butter oil blocks.

#3: Stop using dishwasher tablets.

The dishwasher tablets are either wrapped in individual plastic wrapper or in a dissolvable polyvinyl alcohol. And they come in a large plastic container to keep moisture out.

Therefore you’re buying large plastic containers and throwing out the little individual plastic wrapper or adding to the the polyvinyl alcohol to the water supply. Go back to using the detergent crystals which come in a cardboard box. It’s an extra 30 seconds to pour in the crystals into the detergent container. But you’re not touching the detergent pods and you’re not adding to the millions of plastic bottles in either landfills or recycling programs which may or may not actually recycle the bottle.

#4 Change how you consume liquid laundry detergent and fabric softener.

Fabric softener has been shown to have all sorts of harmful effects to you, your kids and the environment. Try a more natural solution the fabric softeners. This reduces the consumption of the plastic bottles for liquid fabric softener as well as helps the environment due to its ingredients. Two wins for one change!

There are several plastic-free options, like Cleancult, my Greenfills, and others. Their fabric softeners take a different approach altogether.

As for liquid laundry detergent, apparently the detergent crystals can cause additional friction on clothes which release more microplastic fibers from the clothes than does liquid laundry detergent. So instead of the crystals, either make your own powder or you use environment friendly brands like Cleancut or my Greenfills.

I think these changes are extremely easy to implement and cost very little extra money. Remember your plastic bottle has a 500 year lift span. It will be around forever. And it’s estimated that only 30 to 50% of recycled products are actually recycled so the chances are that every plastic bottle you use will end up on a landfill.

Together we can change the course of environmental catastrophe.

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Coronavirus and Meditation- keep meditating

Keep up with your meditation practice, especially now. And it is a perfect time to re/start one if you haven’t sat in meditation recently.

Last night I spent a full hour on Facebook, researching the coronavirus, looking at projections and trying to find data on the US infection rate and projections, where I could. An hour.

This morning I woke up and was immediately seized with the obsession to get on social media or my phone to find out what’s changed in the last 8 hours. I thought, “there’s no way I can meditate this morning”. My mind feels like a barrel of monkeys, rather than my normal monkey mind thinking about all that there is to do.

I then realized this is the perfect time to meditate and ground myself. This is exactly the moment to meditate. My mind is trying to spiral out of control in fear, obsession, and worry over things I can’t control.

And so I sat. At first I thought of the R0 figures- what is the R0 of the flu versus Covid-19, the mortality of Covid-19 in Italy and South Korea, and in China. Round and round my mind went until I caught myself not being present. I have long since dropped any shame or surprise at how my mind can get trapped in recursive thinking. I just noticed that I was no longer present and centered myself again.

As I mentioned in this post the other day, there are many techniques to center yourself. I prefer this one. I close my eyes. I then focus with my mind’s eye on my third eye (the space between my eyes, a few inches back) and turn my actual, real eyes up to the third eye (eyes closed). I think feel for my dantian and I’m immediately grounded.

I sat for 57 minutes today. Not my longest by about 15 minutes but I was able to stay for 57 minutes.

Now, after the session, I can still feel how grounding my session was. My obsession to get on my phone has passed and I’m writing this blog now. My stress and compulsions seem to have evaporated.

Don’t panic. Don’t stress. Don’t fear. Instead sit in meditation. Get grounded. Do what you can to plan for a quarantine. Act on what you can control. And then let the rest go.

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How To Manifest a Million Dollars by Inviting in the Sacred

Lotus flower

Want to earn a million dollars? But feel icky about it because it doesn’t feel spiritual? Feeling super selfish about your desire for more money?

This is often a tough one for people who are looking to make the world a better place,who want to slow down and make a soulful connection with others in their community and the world.

But wow, a million bucks would really be helpful. The lure of money continues to pull at you. I get it because it’s true. Money does solve a lot of problems. Need to eat? Money helps you buy food. Need some health care? Money helps you afford the care you and your family needs. I’m sure not many are conflicted about that level of income. It’s the idea of more many than you “need”. But here are a few different viewpoints on money to consider.

New Idea #1: In order to feel selfish and icky about money, you have to believe at some level that money and abundance is a zero sum game. In order words, for you to have a million dollars, someone else wouldn’t have it. This doesn’t have to be the case. By allowing for true abundance, you can intend for all beings to feel and have abundance as well. As they say, you can’t help others be and feel abundant by intending a lack of abundance in your own life.

New Idea #2: Be a conduit for abundance. Recognize that you can earn and give away some portion of your income. Let’s say you decide to give away 20% of your income. The more you make the more you can give away. You can also set up “your number” that you want to make each year and then give away the rest. So let’s say your number is $1M. Each year you will keep $1M out of all you make. And if you earn $10M a year, you’d be giving away 90% of your income. It’s definitely a different perspective.

#3 Commit to being an amplifier of the Divine’s abundance. For me, intending abundance in my life, especially about large amounts of money, feels wonderful when I also visualize all the good I’ll be doing with it. For example, the jobs I would be providing by hiring people to work on my house, hiring people to work with me, giving money away to charity, and following my intuition about how to save and spend it.

I follow Tosha Silver and she has a great book called, It’s Not Your Money. And she helped me to really understand the concept that money is just energy that comes and goes. But it’s not my money, it’s the Divine’s. I can’t take money with me when I do and it’s not something to horde. Abundance comes to me when I’m aligned with it and it falls away when I’m not.

It’s ok to have money. Choose to be a force for good and use it wisely and lovingly.

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How to Manifest – a Short and Quick Guide

What will you manifest?

I know there is a lot written about manifesting so I’m going to be short and sweet to help refine your technique, in case you’re frustrated with your results.

Step #1: Activate your connection to the Sacred. This is the most important step because trying to intend something without the Divine can be counterproductive, hard, or frustrating. And the results are likely as not to be somewhat off the mark of your true intention. There are several ways to active your conscious connection with the Sacred. Use any technique to get into a higher vibration or a vibratingly intense state or stir your kundalini energy.

Here are a few techniques to active this connection. Try them all to see which is the easiest and most effective. All of them should be practiced in silence and without fear of interruption.

Technique #1: Breath work. Breathe out to a count of ten (or as high as you can) to activate the parasympathetic nervous system. Breathe in normally and then focus on the out breath, making it as long as you can. Do this one more time and then begin, if you feel the tingling and the weightlessness that can indicate your connection is active and strong.

Technique #2: Breathe in slowly through your nose and then let it out of your mouth. Do this between 3 and 13 times. For some reason, this works as well as the previous one. For me, when I use this one, I feel a vibration in my dantian and my scalp starts to tingle and feel warm and I know I’m connected.

Technique #3: Visualize your spine and the current of kundalini energy that is vibrating up and down your spine. Attach your mind’s eye to the energy and follow it, starting from the kundalini pot at the base of your spine and see it spiral up and around your spine, like a snake spiraling outside the spine, and back down again. Follow this coursing energy for several moments, perhaps up to a few minutes. Begin to feel the tingling somewhere in your body to know that you’re connected to the Divine.

Technique #4: I got this technique from combining Martha Beck‘s and Eckhart Tolle‘s advice. Both are fabulous teachers, btw and definitely check them out if you haven’t. With this technique, you sit in a chair or on the floor in a meditation position, back upright, eyes closed, palms upright on your knees. Begin to sense the energy in your palms. Feel this energy and keep attached to it with your mind’s eye. Then, while holding with your senses the energy in your palm, begin to feel the energy in your dantian or third chakra. Feel the energy flowing between them and through them. And then while holding your sense of the energy in your palms and in your dantian, bring your focus to your 3rd eye (sixth chakra). Now hold them all together and feel the energy flowing through them and between them. You can then feel your connection to the Sacred and the tingling in your body.

Once you feel the connection, continue to the next step.

Step #2: Create a clear intention. Spend some time getting clear on what you want and then perhaps write it out and say it out loud.

You may lose your connection if you write it out and say it out loud so don’t worry if this happens. Either drop back in using any of the techniques above or end your session and sit with what’s happened.

When you’re connected, continue to the next step.

Step #3: Feel and sense the visualized intention in your mind and body. This perhaps may be the next most important step. Your mind and body don’t really respond to words and logic. Instead the language of the spirit and body is visualization and feeling. So hold the intention in your mind’s eye and really feel it being real.

Again this is important so I’ll walk you through it. Let’s use a common intention which is to manifest a million dollars.

If you want to manifest a million dollars, feel the feeling of having the money in your bank, writing the final check to pay off your debt, or on the plane with flight you’re able to purchase because you have this money. Or whatever it is that gives you joy and excitement about this intention. Feel it. See it in your mind’s eye. Sense the joy that comes with it. Continue doing this until you feel a zing. It doesn’t have to take long. Maybe a 30 seconds or a minute. Don’t linger but also know that your intention needs the power of your feeling and sensation to really bring it manifestation.

So if you don’t feel the “zing” or a sense of pure peace and joy from the visualization, then the intention is either created out of fear and anxiety or youre conflicted about the intention.

It’s ok if you’re conflicted. You’ll need to understand the pushing and pulling you’re feeling about the intention and resolve the conflict, otherwise the intention won’t be manifested.

Step #4 – Once you can feel that the intention has been activated, release it back to the Universe to be brought from the Unmanifested through the Mystery, through the Universe’ own way.

How, when and if the intention is manifested isn’t your concern. You keep on with the intention, which is your part.

Still have questions? Lemme have’em

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