Finding Zen During Crisis

With recent media and news trends focused purely on the many calamities which are possible from recent worldwide events created by the current epidemic, I’ve too often found myself in a state border-lining that of fear, worry and even panic. How could I not with such increasingly disturbing reports coming out of countries closing their borders and international flights , conferences, concerts, graduations and sporting events being cancelled? Never in my lifetime have we dealt with an issue with such severe global implications as this one seems to have. The globalization movement, which I’ve been privy to enjoy on a full-time basis over the past 3 years has seemed to suddenly come to a screeching halt…and with it, the many pleasures and security it’s provided to all of us, to one extent or another, over the many years.

Even I, who may have the unfair advantage of an unusual outside perspective currently residing somewhere between the US (where I’m from) and mainland Europe (where I’ve primarily been living over the past couple years) on a Portuguese island in the Azores islands, at times, have found myself actively engaged in a downward spiral of “what if’s?” Again, is this possible to avoid seeing that most of us have never lived through something as dramatic and economically debilitating as this has already been? We have no idea where things will go in the days coming or how much of an affect this time will have on our global economy, our loved ones and our lives. However, even as I write this there’s a small, quiet voice within me which says not to worry and “all will be alright”. It’s hard not to argue with this sound within me but, as I’ve learned to listen so closely to it in the past, it’s never steered me wrong before…and I don’t expect it to begin to do so now with so much at stake.

So what do we do? My regular attempts of escapism to avoid reality are far too ineffective to deal with something as impactful as this is. No Netflix show is funny enough, no bottle of wine deep enough and nothing tasty enough to dull out the sting of such a violent threat. My attempts at meditation, even on an almost empty idealistic beach, have been disturbed and disjointed at best, so my attempts to self-soothe healthily have also been somewhat ineffectual. But in spite of all this, I feel hope and faith in the days to come and the direction of our future because if I’ve learned anything from my homeless, nomadic lifestyle over the past few years it’s this: even after the darkest days, the sun rises again in the morning and all will be as it should be. If we need to change our plans, adjust our sails and replant our crops…there is always space for a new beginning if we’re willing to move and flow as the wind requires. Flexibility and surrender aren’t naturally in my comfort zone, but they always lead me to better places…places I wouldn’t even know how to dream up on my own.

So this is what I offer you today, if you can’t hear the voice inside of you telling you to have hope in the future, try to believe in mine. As we look forward in faith, we’ll see that the unknown, as dark and unpredictable as it may appear to be, is really a place of unlimited growth and potential, offering us an unusual new beginning with possibilities that weren’t possible before this setting of the sun occurred. It may be uncomfortable at first, but as you move forward, one step at a time, each step will grow stronger and faster and before you know it, the sun of a new day will shine brightly again.

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