Be Not Afraid

Whoa mama. Who would have thought literally nothing, and everything, could change in the blink of an eye? By now, we’ve all been personally impacted in some way and it’s easy to get swept up, so I invite you to take a deep breath, pause, and give yourself a break from every news source for a precious moment dedicated just to you.

Over and over this week, I have had “Be not afraid” on repeat in my heart and mind. I’m choosing to stay off the panic train, and have watched in near-awe the reaction some people have had: seeing those empty shelves everywhere is fascinating and a bit disconcerting. For me, it’s highlighted the epitome of socioeconomic privilege; those who have the means to horde a stockpile of XYZ leaves everyone who is living paycheck to paycheck, or relying on government assistance, in a very difficult circumstance. I invite you to think twice as you go to buy in the next couple weeks.

Be not afraid. Another point of privilege? Only needing to worry about feeding and providing for one person. With society normally heavily biased towards couples and families as the only socially acceptable model, this may be one time where there is an advantage to being single.

Be not afraid. With my birthday around the corner, I’m getting creative thinking about what celebrating may look like this year. Just because we are being encouraged to practice “social distancing” for the near future doesn’t mean we have to experience disconnection. If anything, we need each other more than ever. We need patience, kindness, graciousness. We need open hearts, rational minds, and strong spirits. Have virtual coffee talks, or book clubs, or happy hours until things have calmed down.

Be not afraid. We need to stay grounded in what we know is true. We need to be cautious, practice good hygiene, and filter information in the best interest of our physical and mental health. It’s ok to fact check information. You are your own best advocate. Trust, but verify.

Be not afraid. Fear is the enemy, and is at the heart of what is happening in our society. If you are feeling afraid, give yourself – and your neighbor – an extra dose of compassion and sit with that feeling, if you are able. Just try, I’m holding space for you.

Be not afraid. One of the best pieces of advice I saw this week came from Elizabeth Gilbert. She said, “Overreacting about people who are overreacting is just another form of overreacting.” I’ll leave this one right here.

Be not afraid. This is really a moment reckoning, and of collective courage, for our society. Issues are coming to a head that have always existed, but are now being spotlighted in a way we can’t ignore – food insecurity, school/childcare closures and the impact on working parents, lack of affordable internet connectivity, lack of affordable/access to healthcare, reductions in force, small business closures etc. Where we go from here, and how we respond, will forever influence our future.

Be not afraid. Have courage. Cultivate hope. Demonstrate calm. Be kind – to everyone. Do onto others as you would have them do onto you. Pay it forward. Take good care of yourself, and others. Share what you can, and don’t forget to Breathe. This too shall pass.

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