“The Waiting is the Hardest Part” – Tom Petty, Song The Waiting
The first two weeks of sheltering in place were unsettling. Yet, there was much to do to occupy your mind. You had to stock up, be resourceful, move your outside life inside, and make new routines. Once settled, the waiting set in. As Tom Petty points out, it might be the hardest part.
Waiting leaves you to wonder how long this will go on. It makes you ache for normalcy, security, and connection. It can take things from you like a job, financial security or aspects of your identity. It rips away your projects and puts important things on hold. And it can leave you sick with worry.
By: Alison Ross, LMFT
Spiritual teacher and author Eckhart Tolle is one of my favorite teachers during a crisis. His wise guidance, sense of humor and mindfulness teachings remind me that everything is ok inside, even if it's chaotic outside.
Last week Tolle addressed fears while dealing with coronavirus. He answered a difficult question from his audience:
“I am afraid I will get sick. Or someone I love will get sick. Or I will lose all my money in the stock market. How do I deal with the fear?”
Mister Rogers once said, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’”
There is so much information to access about coronavirus. But taking in too much is stressful and not good for the immune system. I’m balancing my need to know with my need for self-care by getting information from only a few trusted sources. To me, experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Sanjay Gupta who have knowledge, data, and experience are some of the biggest helpers and heroes. They help me keep things in perspective and navigate around speculation and rumor.
The corona-crisis is a source of adversity that challenges each of us on many levels. As you cope with uncertainty, instability, and fear, it is important to remember that good things usually happen right alongside bad things.
A rose is a perfect symbol of the duel nature of adversity. Sharp thorns that can cause hurt and buds that foreshadow future growth usually accompany a beautiful rose. When bad things (thorns) happen, good things (roses) and growth potentials (buds) usually accompany it. When life is thorny, roses and buds are not always easily apparent. But when you look a little closer, you will usually find them. And if you can’t find them in the midst of adversity, they will appear soon.
By: Alison Ross, LMFT
Fear. If you're feeling it right now, you're a human being. When dealing with a threat like a pandemic your lower brain lights up with anxiety. Fear triggers uncomfortable feelings, scary thoughts, and behaviors. This activates your resources and drives you to seek a sense of safety. Today fear might have driven you to the store to buy a year's supply of disinfectant and toilet paper. :)
Be patient and loving to your fear. For all of human history, it rallied us in the face of perceived threats. It caused us to imagine the worst and take precautions. Right now your fear is helping you to reduce risk by limiting interactions, washing your hands, and keeping a safe distance from others. These actions are likely to reduce the spread of the virus, keeping vulnerable people safe as we seek remedies. Thank you fear!
Hi. I’m Alison Ross, founder of Non-Dieting Health in Agoura Hills, California. I’m a licensed psychotherapist and neurofeedback practitioner specializing in eating and body image. My favorite things are my family, my dogs, yoga and working with my clients.