My Covid Mantra
There’s a morning meditation I listen to once in a while, particularly when I wake up feeling frazzled and restless. It’s by Jonathan Lehmann and it contains a series of 7 affirmations.
These aren’t “Stuart Smiley” affirmations, though that is one of my favorite SNL skits, but actual affirmations to help keep a pulse throughout the day – little reminders to help guide what might otherwise feel a bit overwhelming.
There is one in there that I always struggled with, though. It says, “I cultivate patience and by doing so I also cultivate self confidence.” I understand how choosing a more patient response as opposed to a less thoughtful reaction could be better for everyone but confidence? This part alluded me. That is until COVID-19 became as ubiquitous to our lives as waking up itself.
Four months into a pandemic that doesn’t seem to be resolving anytime soon, this has been, for myself at least, a true test of patience. Never one to remove the proverbial bandage one slow, painful peel after another, I rather rip it off and fix something and move on. The problem with this is that like most things, it’s not really up to me.
So we find ourselves in varying states of quarantine (literally and figuratively) and already surrounded by articles, debates and “plans” for a “post-Covid world” or “life after the pandemic”. Everyday there is more discussion about “re-emerging from COVID” and my personal favorite, a “new normal”. Normal? Nice try, buddy.
All of this conversation has me longing for whatever awaits once the bandage is finally removed and the real healing begins – and I’m not just talking about a vaccine, either. If ever there was a time to wish for a “re-emergence” and a “new normal”, 2020 fits the bill. The challenge with this mindset, however, is that it establishes a false narrative that we are close. It surmises that dealing with what is today may not be as critical because we simply just have to hold on until tomorrow, whenever that is and whatever that may present itself to be.
Isn’t this how we got here in the first place? Isn’t this how we get to many uncomfortable places – physically, mentally, socially and otherwise?
This is where the mantra finally started to make sense. We have to cultivate patience based on what is occurring now, who is in front of us today and how this feels in the moment. It is the only true survival mechanism and the more we can do this, the more we build the confidence that it is going to be ok. One way or another we learn to be confident by being patient with what is. And with what is not.
I hope we have a vaccine soon. I hope people recognize that wearing a mask and social distancing are not political manipulations. I hope the pandemic ends quickly. But if none of these things happen, I hope we can cultivate patience and confidence with whatever does occur. And, if for some reason, confidence proves to be too evasive, simply repeat what our good friend Stuart Smalley always said: “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me.”
Until next time,