Many states have enacted stay-at-home and shelter-in-place orders as well as are encouraging social distancing as a means to combat our current global health concerns related to the coronavirus known as COVID-19. Generally speaking, many people don’t like to be told what to do or how to do it outside of the work environment. Sometimes, we do need to be pointed in the right direction and offered guidance, but we typically don’t like to be micromanaged. We have free will and the ability to make conscious choices for ourselves, but common sense and credible advice guide us through when we need it the most.
Living with uncertainty and facing the unknown is challenging for most people because we tend to be an instant gratification society with most everything immediately available to us most of the time, and now it is not. Non-essential businesses have been ordered to shut down and that includes most of our entertainment options, including concerts, sports events, movie theaters and even dining in restaurants. Thankfully, carryout and delivery options are still being offered in several locations. Businesses offering services, such as hair salons, spas and nail salons have been required to close as well. Although we may feel inconvenienced, we must abide by the restrictions in order to prevent the transmission of the virus or at least slow down the transmission.
In his best-selling book, The Four Agreements, don Miguel Ruiz gives four principles to practice in order to create love and happiness in our life. Now, more than ever, these principles or agreements will help us adapt during these times of uncertainty.
For those unfamiliar, The Four Agreements are:
- Be impeccable with your word
- Don’t take anything personally
- Don’t make assumptions
- Always do your best
The first agreement reminds us that words are power and invites us to speak our truth. We must express what we feel and communicate what we need. We must also listen to what others are expressing as well and do so from a place of non-judgment.
The second agreement is a reminder to not take things personally. This means that what other people say and do is a reflection of themselves, and we shouldn’t take their words and actions or inactions personally. Obviously, emotions are running high right now, and sometimes words are expressed that may be more reactive than responsive. The global health concerns are not directed at any one person, nation, race or gender. It is affecting everyone in one way or another, so we shouldn’t take the coronavirus personally either.
Don’t make assumptions is the third agreement and offers us a reminder to ask questions, do research and also refrain from reading between-the-lines. We have no way to determine, even with scientific input, when the virus effects will subside and life will return to a new normal.
The fourth agreement encourages us to always do our best knowing that we will function better when we feel healthy and balanced and will not do as well when we feel unhealthy and imbalanced. We are certainly facing trying times, so it is imperative that we focus on our physical health and mental/emotional well-being. Listening to our bodies is essential and taking mental health breaks is necessary. Staying hydrated, getting adequate sleep and eating nutritionally sustaining foods is required.
As humans, we function on the linear aspect of time. We need to know specific dates and times to plan our life accordingly. Not knowing the outcome or having a specific end date can be extremely stressful because we tend to be so detail-oriented. Therefore, the biggest gift we can give to ourselves is being present. Focus on living, being and breathing in the moment as an intentional practice of being present.
The Four Agreements can provide us a solid foundation to guide us during these uncertain times. Adapting to our current circumstances is ultimately essential for our physical health and mental/emotional being. In addition, here are a few simple, actionable tips to adapt when times seem tough and we have nowhere to go:
Tip #1 – Be Present
Focus your energy on being present in this moment. Being present involves living in the moment rather than focusing on the future or dwelling in the past.
Tip #2 – Breathe
Take a moment to become conscious of your breath. Visualize yourself breathing in healing energy, then exhaling the uncertainty. Breathe in peace, love, ease and compassion as you exhale the pain, hurt, fear, frustration, worry and doubt.
Tip #3 – Ground Your Energy
Grounding your energy keeps you present and in the moment. It completes the energy circuit and anchors your energy to the earth below. Visualize your legs as tree roots growing deep into the earth. Going barefoot and staying hydrated helps to ground as well.
Tip #4 – Center Your Energy
Centering your energy involves finding that calm spot deep inside yourself that is eternal being-ness. Take a few deep breaths and bring awareness inward to the central essence — that place that is peaceful and serene no matter what the external circumstance.
Tip #5 – Surrender
Surrender and release to the Universe anything you cannot control. The five things you can actually control are your own thoughts, words, actions, emotions and responses.