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Mindfulness: Dealing with the Enormity of it all

March 30, 2020
Published in: COVID-19, Mental Health

Storm clouds gathering over a mountain

We can see it coming from the top of the hill. We know it's going to hit us. We don't know exactly when or from which direction. We don't know who it will impact and how bad it will be. The unknown paired with the realities that we have already heard about in parts of the US and in other parts of the world can feel overwhelming.

But take heart in what we do know: We know that at every level our staff is doing absolutely everything we can do to prepare for different scenarios. We do know that we are meeting the needs of people who are in the hospital and we are screening people who need to be screened for Covid19. We are doing all of the things that we have been trained to do to stay safe and to help others stay safe in this time. Exceptional teamwork is happening throughout the hospital. We are being creative, inclusive, flexible and at times downright brilliant.

It is easy to feel like what we are doing is so small in the face of such a big threat. But all of our small acts put together help to create a mighty force that will diminish the worst of this threat. Many lives will be saved by the cumulative efforts of us and of people just like us who are doing what we can to fight this Pandemic. All the good work counts. Just do the next "right" thing.

The small, it might be said, spins the threads that weave the net that catches the world.

–Kim Chernin

The Brilliance of the Serenity Prayer

We all know the Serenity Prayer:

God grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
and Wisdom to know the difference.

–Reinhold Niebuhr

In our lives there are so many things we have not wanted to accept. There have been times that the weather created an obstacle for us and we were not able to do the thing that we really wanted to do. The weather is one of those things we cannot change. We can wish it were different. We can go around pounding our fists and acting like the universe has singled us out for misery and disappointment and that it is NOT ok and it should NOT be this way. We can suffer a lot because of our reality.

If we want serenity then we can simply look to the Serenity Prayer for guidance. We will be more calm and serene if we accept the things (like the weather) that we simply can't change. It does not mean that we like them. We don't like the fact that the weather is preventing travel to do something that we really wanted to do. But it is what it is. There is an advisory out and we cannot travel.

The sooner we accept that reality the sooner we can start to think creatively about a Plan B and perhaps a Plan C. We can employ "the Courage to change the things we can." We suffer less when we learn to accept reality.

Right now we are having to accept a lot of reality. We can lessen the impact of it by turning to the Serenity Prayer. We can use our courage to make the adjustments that we can make. The more we practice Reality Acceptance the better we get at it. We begin to feel more serenity in our lives. And at times we may even recognize how wise we are becoming.

Be Mindful and be safe.