A MEDITATION TO EASE THE ANXIETY OF CORONAVIRUS
INSPIRED BY THE COVID-19 POEM
“AND THE PEOPLE STAYED HOME“ BY KITTY O’MEARA
It’s April 2020 and coronavirus has shut down the world. People have lost their lives and livelihoods; and we find ourselves contained to the four walls of our homes in an effort to reduce the spread of a virus that as yet has no cure or vaccine.
I’ve felt a rollercoaster of emotions the past few weeks. A conflicting concoction of relief to have some breathing room from an overcrowded schedule and the panic of uncertainty around work, money, and – toilet paper!
Thankfully, my news feed has been filled with funny memes, inspiring stories, and poems of a higher purpose to the global pandemic.
This particular one was a source of comfort, so thanks, Kitty O’Meara, whoever you are.
This is a meditation that might help ease the fear and anxiety of coronavirus; inspired by Kitty O’Meara’s poem And the People Stayed Home.
First getting yourself nice and comfortable, in a relaxed position where you can be somewhat alert.
And I’d just like to say; it’s really lovely to be connecting with you at this time; whoever you are.
This time that you’ve set aside for yourself right now is an opportunity to step away from the news, social media and phone calls with friends; and perhaps for the first time today, just be present with what’s happening.
So I invite you to check in with yourself by asking the question:
In this moment, what is happening?
What is happening in my mind? This is simple a noticing game. No judgement here. Is it busy, worried, relaxed or something else?
What is happening in my body? Can you notice any tension, energy, pulsing or pain rising to the surface now that you’ve stopped and become still?
What is happening in my environment? What sounds can you hear. Is there any interesting about those? What aromas can you smell, what temperatures can you feel in and around your body?
Of course another way we can be present is to know that we’re breathing. So let’s remind ourselves what it feels like to breathe, by taking some deliberate, mindful breaths.
And if it feels good for you, wherever you are, you may even like to make these breaths a quite audible sigh.
Deep full in-breath and an even longer out-breath.
A couple more times.
Deep, full in-breath; even longer out-breath.
And when it feels right, letting the breath return to its regular rhythm.
And as we each grapple with this very new way of life; the uncertainty and how quickly things are changing, I just wanted to note that it’s going to be quite normal and necessary for some processing of your situation to occur within meditation.
You may find that many of your meditations over the coming weeks and months are spent largely in thought and that those moments of sustained stillness or concentration are a little harder to come by.
This is totally OK; it doesn’t make these meditations any less worthwhile and nor does it mean you should be forcing extra effort to attain some particular state of mind.
I think now more than ever, an attitude of kindness and self-care is the intention of our practice.
And so with this in mind, I’d like to share with you a poem written by Kitty O’Meara, in response to coronavirus, whose words you may find comforting and helpful.
It’s called: And the People Stayed Home
And the people stayed home. And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being and were still. And listened more deeply.
Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. Some met their shadows.
And the people began to think differently. And the people healed.
And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless and heartless ways, the earth began to heal.
And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed.
I’ll leave you here with these words and if you wish you can take them into your own meditation. Going with whatever style practice is appropriate for you at this time, with whatever you’re going through.