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Let's practice mindfulness amid chaos

We can all use a little more mindfulness in traumatic times – and right now, it seems as though the entire world is in a state of crisis.


We can’t change current events. All we can do is heed the advice of health care professionals, continue social distancing, and try to remain as mindful and compassionate as we can throughout all of this.


I’m not here to preach social responsibility, though I think it is something we could all be a little more aware of, right now and on any given day. But I am here to help you think about mindfulness during what can feel like an incredibly scary and stressful time.


Mindfulness is the cultivation of the mind and the body in the present moment – it’s the practice of being here, now. It’s taking in what is going on around you and understanding what can and can’t be done in this moment.


Being aware can help lower stress, so you can “stop reacting to stress and begin responding to stress,” Jon Kabat-Zinn said in the book Full Catastrophe Living, which addresses using mindfulness to battle stress, pain and illness. And right now, when it feels like the world is burning down around us, mindfulness is exactly what we all may need.


So, and though it’s easier said than done, don’t simply react to this stress. Take it in, acknowledge it, and respond deliberately with a clear head. The financial strain is at the top of your mind from workplaces closing down and people being laid off due to COVID-19. You’re worried about your at-risk friends and family; you’re scared the pandemic will hit closer to home and you’re anxious about what all of this will mean for the future. And understandably.


Many of us have never experienced such a global crisis. The sheer shock of the world being on lockdown is strange and terrifying. So, knowing this is something you’ve never experienced, go into it with as much compassion, understanding, and mindfulness as you can. Because everyone around you is very much in the same boat; we’re all in this together.


Yes, you will be laid off work and money will be tight. Knowing that, can you respond in a calm and deliberate way. There are options available for you to approach this financial strain. Contact your utility providers and ask about payment plans. Many organizations are offering a grace period on bills right now.


No, it’s not going to make all of the stress dissipate completely – but it will help ease the burden some of us are feeling. Mindfully reach out to family and friends who may be having a hard time right now. I have seen an incredible outpouring of action and support in this community, of those who are able going out of their way to help those who many not be able to venture out to get the supplies they need, or who are struggling financially to care for their loved ones.


With a little clear thinking and calm resolutions, we can all come out of this relatively unscathed, if not a little humbled.


Keep an eye out for people in your community offering livestreams of their music and art. No, you can’t go out to watch friends play but you can definitely take advantage of their choice to offer a little uplifting togetherness through their art.


Ashley Michelle has created a private Facebook group called Home Base – which is a hub she plans to use for bringing us all together through possible yoga classes, mindfulness tips and meditation, drawing of oracle cards, etc. And though she is still working through exactly what that space is going to look like, it’s a positive jumping off point to come together digitally in a time when we’re all feeling so much separation.


Ashlee Standish will be performing this evening at 9 p.m. through a Facebook live video.


The Metropolitan Opera is offering free series of its encore live in HD presentations.


Mo Willems, The Kennedy Center's education artist-in-residence will be posting daily Lunch Doodles each weekday at 1 p.m. ET.


I would love to add more to this list - so please email me at mindfulniagara@gmail.com if you are posting any live entertainment, lessons, etc. throughout this time, or if you know of any who are!


xo.

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