The I of the Storm

Look in vs. lock in.
Allow the practice of meditation to support you during challenging times. Photography by Mario Silva

By Donna D’Cruz

How do we embrace the pressure of dealing with the ongoing global pandemic along with the volatility of social unrest without succumbing to it ourselves? By identifying the best routine for us and our family, and keeping a daily practice. Just like learning how to play the piano or ride a bike, with yoga and meditation, it’s called a practice for a reason—not necessarily because you need to perfect it, but because it offers you a path to get you to become more self-aware, more grounded in purpose, and overall, more harmonious in mind, body and spirit.

LIVE WELL, LOVE WELL. Go big or small—no judgments, just do what resonates best. You can decide to do a full detox, unplugging totally from all media and technology including social media, and embrace a clean, toxin-free diet and regimented sleep and exercise routine. Or you can choose daily measures, like mindfully eating as healthily as you can; expanding your sleep rituals and deepening your nightly sleep experience; drinking mindfully and in moderation; moving your body and doing some form of regular exercise, no matter how little, so long as it’s regular. To read more, especially books and media that are well-researched and elevated in mindset. To regulate our Prime Flix time, addictive as it can be; to continue practicing safe, social distancing to honor our front-line workers.

FEEL AND ACT FOR OTHERS. Remember the lonely in your circle. Do what you can to alleviate their tedium and solitary life at this time. When you are struggling and your troubles seem great, look outside of your own suffering and ask what you can do in the service of others. You can choose to volunteer or look at your circle of family and friends and see how you can support them.

FIND A CONFIDANT, the right one. Better the comfort of books and animals than make-do friends. Be careful during this vulnerable time not to confide too much. If you’re blessed and have a four-legged companion in your home, count yourself fortunate, as unconditional affection and love are yours unreservedly.

BE GRATEFUL. If COVID-19 has spared you and your family and friends, be grateful. Like Damocles’ sword, the virus—and the looming threat of a second wave—still hangs over each of us. Rejoice in the recovery of people you love who’ve had the virus and got better. Mourn for those who died alone. Cry for a pitiful COVID funeral limited to 10 people and the wretched choice families had to make about whom to include. Mine was one of them. RIP my dear, sweet godmother.

ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR FEELINGS. Weep for other seismic events during this time. Don’t look away from social and political storms on our streets. Every action we take today—as individuals and as a collective, from our family-and-friend circles to our city, national and global community—impacts our future, so let’s be properly informed, have smart conversations and show up with compassion and wisdom. Vow to remember this time, and speak with your vote.

Do your best to resist the temptation to blame your current state of mind wholly on coronavirus. It’s an easy thing to do. Your issues were most likely present well before lockdown. COVID-19 just exacerbated what was there already. This is the greatest moment to reimagine what you might perceive to be your flaws and failings, and transform them into your greatest lessons. Allow the practice of meditation to support you (according to a study cited in Time magazine’s special issue—“The Science of Stress,” 31 percent of workers saw a decrease in stress after adopting a program that included meditation).

This is an era to nurture our own witness, that near-flawless silent watcher who sees all our turmoil but manages to remain apart from it, not in a clinical way, but in the spirit of calm, compassion and acceptance.

I am the storm. We are in its eye right now. Yes, there’s turbulence and great uncertainty ahead, but we can do a great many things for ourselves and others as we create a new future together.

“In times of stress, the best thing we can do for each other is to listen with our ears and our hearts and to be assured that our questions are just as important as our answers.”
—Fred Rogers (aka Mister Rogers)

For more info on Donna D’Cruz visit Follow @donnadcruz1 on Instagram and join us for a Dip Into Bliss meditation daily at 9AM EST and on Cristina Cuomo’s Instagram on Thursdays at 6PM EST.