Still Moving

Inspiration motivates the spirit, and at times of great injury, times when forward movement seems nearly impossible, we need to be inspired more than ever. Watching how the first responders are going into battle every day, with an invisible enemy that can attack at any moment, inspires us. Risking their own physical and psychological safety to help others, they remind us that we are built to move, and to get back up regardless of what tries to knock us down, whether it is someone else, fear, or a pandemic. For those stuck at home, feeling the effects of stagnation, it may be reassuring, to know we will continue to move forward as a species, that we have an ability to fight for our survival with great compassion, and that we will keep going, no matter what.

Through this lens, the depression, anxiety, and the chronic stress experienced by people all over the world who feel stopped in their tracks, is absolute proof of what we are made of as human beings. We are meant to move, to help others, and to contribute to the greater good. We are supposed to feel uncomfortable when we are unable to continue moving forward. The sickness that settles in comes from feeling as if we are no longer growing, connected, or living with purpose. As mammals, we are meant to go into the cave, to be by ourselves at various times, but we are not meant to stay there. Otherwise, we are at risk of never coming back out. How can we keep going when we are being told to stand still?

There is always opportunity, even in the stillness. There is opportunity to practice self-care, gratitude, mindfulness, and meditation. Connection to those around us is particularly important right now, and the need to stay connected will no doubt leave a lasting imprint, due to the unity that we find all around the globe. Perhaps, our drive to keep going will also be stronger as a result of watching how all of the nurses, doctors, grocery store workers, military, and countless others have remained in the trenches through it all. Learning from their example, while honing on our own ability to continue, builds both confidence and stamina. Movement is essential, even when we are standing still. Some lessons for all of us from those in the trenches:

Continue to Contribute. By contributing we help others, feel as if we have purpose, a sense of belonging, and build our own resilience. Many of the nurses, soldiers, and police officers I have worked with over the years, discuss how they show up not only for the people they are serving, but how they are also showing up for their peers and cohorts. With great outward focus, they know that they are there to keep others safe. Continue to contribute. Offer to help get groceries for an elderly neighbor, or volunteer where your skills would be of value. Look out for those around you by reminding them take breaks, drink water, exercise, rest, and to ask for what they need. Focusing on others keeps us moving, gets us out of our own head, and also reminds us that we are part of something that has greater importance, then what we may be struggling with as individuals.

Stay Curious. When I feel the cave walls start to collapse it is time to find expansion. Getting curious about our surroundings, about someone else’s experience, and by finding new and creative ways to solve a problem, can keep the walls from closing in. Many folks on the front lines are finding expansion through their compassion for others and by helping to find a solution. In order to put themselves in someone else’s shoes, they have to be curious about the other person’s experience. We can’t be open and closed at the same time. Get curious about how those around you are doing, and help if you can, as they are probably experiencing challenges at this time. Get outside on a regular basis. Stay curious about the trees, the birds, and the clouds in the sky. Reminding ourselves, that there is a huge world out there, is essential when I feel stuck, looking at the walls of the cave, regardless of why I had to retreat and go inside.

Acknowledge Feelings. When we are called to action, we have to compartmentalize, and need to tamp our emotions in order to do so. Many folks in care-taking fields are good at this, and it is how people can continue to show up for those around them, and get the job done at the same time. But feelings are important, and will at some point need to be acknowledged so that we can stay psychologically, and physically upright. Tamp as you need to, but commit to taking care of yourself whenever you can, and ask for help as needed.

Take care of you, those around you, and remember that there are people out there, proving over and over again, that we are wired to keep going. We will not only get through this as a result of that powerful truth, but we will also heal because of it.

Clear Reflections

How have I been impacted by what is happening in the world right now? How is what I am feeling proof that I am wired to keep going? How is this an opportunity to develop more strength and stamina?

In what ways can I keep moving? What steps can I take to feel purposeful, effective, and to also take care of myself in the process?

How can I contribute to those around me in a way that is meaningful?

What is the compassion I have for those around me? How can I stay curious about others and what they are experiencing? How can I help them?

What do I need? How can I get my needs met?

Every step counts. Find inspiration. Keep going.

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