If you are like me, you are on a roller coaster of feelings during this coronavirus time at home. Sometimes, I momentarily forget about the virus while walking in nature or laughing with my kids, and then suddenly I remember once again. Hope, grief, sadness, joy and despair flicker in and out of my awareness. I experience moments of awe at the way we are working together in community. Other times I feel loneliness and worry about the physical and social isolation—both for myself and for others.
During these challenging times, I remind myself again and again to create space for AND. AND what? you might ask. By AND, I mean allowing for both sadness and joy. Loneliness and connection. Despair and hope. If we don’t create space for all of it, we run the risk of either anxiously clinging to positivity, or conversely, wallowing in despair.
Creating space for AND involves: A = Allowing the full range of emotions and becoming Aware of the present moment. N = Nurturing—nurturing ourselves as we struggle, and nurturing a healthy mind that is also able to see what is good. D = Discovering. We can cultivate curiosity to move beyond our typical ways of responding and discover new and beautiful possibilities. Allow, Nurture, and Discover (AND).
It’s not easy to open to all of our emotions. Yoga, mindfulness, self-compassion and growing the good all help. It also helps to journal and pick up the phone to call a friend to remember that we are not alone. There are a lot of things that we cannot control in this situation, but practicing AND paves the way for a healthier emotional life and a more peaceful mind.