Choosing to be the Calm in the Midst of a Storm

by Leslie Sann

Facts not fear. Clean hands. Open hearts.
~ Dr. Abdu Sharkawy 

Life is doing what it does, yet again. This time we are ALL facing the same situation, and we each have the same choices. How are we going to be in relationship with what is? How will we care for ourselves and one another? Will we choose to stay calm in the midst of challenging circumstances?

From my point of view, the real virus is not COVID-19. It is the uncertainty leading to fear, reactivity and Crazy Brain behavior. I’ve heard N95 masks stolen from hospitals and urgent care clinics. These are the masks for the front-line healthcare providers. A grocery store reported that someone stole the sanitary dispenser. (That gigantic dispenser by the carts.) And we all know about the Toilet Paper Crises.

The Crazy Brain jumps into gear when faced with the unknown. This is our survival brain in action. Survival is good. And we don’t have to stay in reactivity. We are human beings. We can access creative intelligence.

It has been reported that about 80% of those cases infected with the new coronavirus will prove mild. Most doctors report the virus itself is unlikely do harm to those 80%. Yes, there are those who will die. People die every day. When someone’s health is compromised they are more vulnerable. That is true whether this particular virus is moving through the world or not.

Yes, this is a situation we need to face. It is not a trivial event. And we are much more useful to ourselves and to each other when we are calm. Calm lifts us up to our creative, resourceful self out and of the reactive thinking of Crazy Brain.

Let’s learn behavior that supports caring for ourselves and each other. Social distancing is wise. Washing our hands, a lot, helpful. Taking preventative supplements intelligent. Anything posted here useful. There is wisdom in improving our self-care.

The virus is a reality. We are called to pay attention and make choices that will serve our good and the good of all. How much food do we really need on hand? Many of us have neighbors who can help us if needed. The grocery stores deliver — or they did before the crazies hit. Our behaviors of hoarding — Me versus We — will have consequences long after the virus has been quelled.

Restaurants are delivering as well. They want to stay in business. They are doing their best to make their way through this. We want them to survive. We want the economy to recover.

Since I was out of town I hired a man who does errands to grocery shop for me. I had him buy what I needed so I would have 14 days supply on hand “just in case.” And if there isn’t enough, I can eat less. Perhaps now is a good time to cleanse.

We can get creative with our circumstances. Even if we get sick, it is just sick. Some who were sick say it is more gentle than a bad cold.

YES, if it is a “bad” case, go get help. I’m not trivializing that part of what is going on. Take care of yourself and your loved ones.

What we focus on we create more of. Focus on the fear of getting sick and guess what? You are setting yourself up to move towards that which you fear. Stress lowers immune resilience. Worry thoughts will diminish our ability to rest and recover. Do you want to keep feeding Crazy Brain?

Crazy Brain arises when facing the unknown, and we feel out of control. A key is to take action. You will find yourself calmer. One thing you can control is your media intake. You can find a gentler way to get your information. There are websites that are sensible, suggesting practical, useful action. You could limit your exposure. Ten minutes can be enough for you to plan your day.

The LA Times wrote a report about an 81-year old man who got sick — and got better. He is fine. The report shared the good news of his recovery. It also talked about how his wife tended to him, so she stayed well. This is good information. Some news is not as useful — as it is full of exaggeration, deletions and distortions.

I saw a headline, “Stay Home — Stop the Virus — Save the Planet!” Whoa! How is that going to save the planet? Perhaps, “Stay Home So You Stop Buying Toilet Paper!” (I just heard of a woman, living alone, with a stockpile of 75 rolls!)

What are you going to do about all that is going on? I for one am a blessing seeker. I see this situation as a time to come together in support. We can choose kindness. We can care.

I was visiting friends when they received a text from a neighbor. The text said, “We are at the grocery store, can we get you anything?” This touched me. A simple act of kindness. We don’t all have to run to get on line before the store opens. We don’t need to stock our house with everything we think we might ever want. The world is not coming to an end. At least it wasn’t when I last looked out the window.

Could our hoarding and fear be making things worse? Are we are fostering the worst-case scenario under the guise that we are taking care of ourselves? I understand how this can happen. When Crazy Brain does a take-over, most people are unaware and get caught up in the negativity of it all.

We can’t change our outer reality. The virus is happening. We can change how we relate to our situation. What do you want? Focusing on what you want will guide you to the actions that will help create that.

Rather than spreading the virus of fear, panic, let’s practice peace and patience. Let’s be part of calm, caring and loving kindness going viral. Let’s meet this challenge from compassion and benevolence. Remember, we are all facing the same situation.


P.S.You could check out what you are seeing/hearing by using

P.P.S. In extensive studies it was shown in the aftermath of the 9/11 incident increased television exposure was associated with post-traumatic stress and cardiovascular problems three years later. My suggestion: limit your exposure to the news.

P.P.P.S Focus on good things happening. Pay attention to the blessings here and now. If you cannot see the good, ask for help. The stress of worry could undermine your well-being.