These spiritual practices for well-being during this time of fear and stress are adapted with permission from Alexander Levering Kern of Northeastern University. He writes to our community, "I know your beautiful area well. May beauty, hope, community, and peace sustain you all."
1. Breathe. Breathe. Breathe some more. Take time in your day, at any moment, to take deep even breaths. Carve out 5-10 minutes to meditate or practice mindfulness or contemplative prayer. Start here, now, wherever you are.
2. Ground yourself in the present moment. Focus your awareness on something real, enduring, or beautiful in your surroundings. Look up often. Discover the wonder and awe that is always here.
3. Acknowledge your fears, anxieties, concerns. Offer them up in prayer, if you pray. Write them in your journal. Share them with others. Feel what you feel, name it and honor it.
4. Remember: You are not alone. Ever. You are surrounded by care and support. Reach out as needed.
5. Create and sustain community. Show up for one another. Listen compassionately. Practice empathy. Even while avoiding “close physical contact,” message the people you care about. Stand with those most vulnerable and those who suffer the brunt of prejudice and fear. Check in on folks.
6. Unplug, judiciously. While staying aware of developments, do not let the COVID 19-chaos govern you, but forgive yourself when and if it does.
7. Practice kindness. There is a temptation in health scares to view others as potential threats. Remember we are in this together. While practicing wellness guidelines and appropriate caution, remember to engage one another. Smile when you can. Bring good deeds and positive energy into our world.
8. Stay healthy through sleep, diet, exercise. See health and wellness holistically – mind, body, and spirit/soul.
9. Make art. Discover, imagine, engage your hopes and fears, the beauty and ugliness of our world. Write, paint, sing, dance, soar.
10. Practice gratitude. In the face of crises, take note of the things for which you are grateful: your breath, the particular shade of the sky at dusk – or dawn. Your friends, a pet, music, good food.
11. Pray as you are able, silently, through song, in readings - for self and others.
12. Practice hope. Trust in the future and our power to endure and persist, to live fully into the goodness that awaits.