"When we take the time to be peaceful and calm, we are given more time in return. Calmness bestows focus and thus we accomplish more by expending less."
- Aadil Palkhivala
I remind myself of these words often, but especially during challenging and turbulent times such as these. The sense of losing control, of not knowing what’s next can stir up anxiety rather easily. The key to moving beyond that anxiety is recognizing, and acknowledging the reality that we are never fully in control, nor do we know what lies ahead.
We might think that we do, but much of what happens to us we have little control over. We can’t control the actions of others, the weather, the traffic we are stuck in, or the fact that the grocery store is out of whatever ingredient we needed for dinner. The only thing that we are fully in control of is ourselves - our thoughts, our words, our actions.
So, if this is true, why do we spend so much time worrying about things we can’t change? My Grandmother had this prayer hanging on the wall by her phone. “Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.”
Even as a young child that resonated with me and I learned, over time, not to focus too much on those things I can’t control, and use my energy towards the things I can. For me, that was the first step towards living consciously and it’s been a fundamental shift in my life. Every stressful, chaotic, and turbulent time in my life has been a catalyst for change, and I expect nothing less from this period.
If you caught Christa and me on IG live last week we were talking about Living Consciously in Times of Crisis - our rituals, routines, ways of connecting, and more. For me, it’s been about maintaining a routine, connecting with my body and my spirit, and staying present to what is. At the same time, I’m being very intentional about how I respond to things, keeping my eyes on the goals I already had pre-COVID-19. Because like my Mom says “Shit happens.” Right now I’m taking time to learn, keep my vibes high, looking at things from a new perspective, and continuing to simplify my life. Here’s what has been working for me:
- Connecting to a routine. For most of us, our routine is set by work. When that goes away, does your routine go as well? Even though we have been at home, our routine has pretty much stayed the same. The weekdays are still the weekdays, the weekends are the weekends. I still do finances on Mondays and water the plants at work on Tuesdays. Sticking to my routine as much as possible has kept me feeling grounded and in control of what I can.
- Connecting with my body. I have to stretch and move my body daily Whether that is yoga, an online workout, bike ride, walk, or a combo of all the above, I have to check in with my body each day. It starts in the morning with my morning routine that hasn’t changed in quarantine. I still start my days with yoga and stillness, but it’s become a very efficient practice since also now trying to cram in some work before Harris wakes up. I’ll share that routine soon!
- Connecting with my spirit. Taking time to sit still in silence each day is essential. I’m constantly amazed by how much clarity I get during meditation, so I have been doubling down on it when I can. I’m also spending more time journaling and documenting this time in a journal I keep for Harris. My parents kept journals for us and gave them to us once we were older. It’s been fun going back and reading about my parents as parents, myself, and all the experiences that entail. I want to give that same gift to Harris so try to journal often for him in addition to my own.
- Connecting with nature. Living in LA and not being able to go outdoors has been tough. That being said, we still take time each day to get outside and I’m spending more time on my tiny patio tending to my fledgling garden. The biggest way that we have been connecting to nature is through our food. We are eating a ton of fresh fruit and veggies and are lucky enough to get an organic CSA box delivered from Harris’ school each week. I’ve upped my zero waste cooking game with the help of this book.
- Putting limits on media consumption. Giving all media (especially social) time limits. I watch the news once a day and check Instagram twice - once in the morning and once again in the afternoon. Outside of that, I try to stay focused on what is in front of me and spend my time doing tactile things like cooking, tending to plants, chatting with friends, and playing with Harris.
Based on the commentary that we saw on our IG live, a lot of you are doing the same. From starting gardens to dusting off a meditation practice, you all seem to be turning inwards. A big theme that came up during our live chat was one of gratitude and how important it is to remember that even though these are challenging times, we still have a lot to be thankful for!
Thank you to everyone who joined last week - it was great to chat with you all. IF you didn’t get a chance to join, drop a comment below and let me know what’s been working for you during this time of crisis.