At a Time of Uncertainty

“Anxiety Can Be Just as Contagious as the Coronavirus.” – Maria Sikoutris Di Iorio

The body never lies; that is truth.  When we feel anxious, stress, and constantly agitated, it is past time to check in with ourselves.  This all emanates from fear that could be unfounded.  The number of those infected with the new Coronavirus increasing quickly, the death toll rising, the news of overwhelmed healthcare providers, and the scarcity of supplies, it is understandable to share the global anxiety.  Hand-washing thoroughly, avoiding social gatherings, and keeping at a distance from others is key to safety, experts continue to remind us.  This rapidly spreading virus is truly devastating and felt worldwide.

While the spread of Covid-19 is a matter to keep our eyes and ears open about, we must not let our imagination get the best of us and cause more unforeseen sicknesses.  We are easily swayed by our friends, social media, so-called experts, and inconsistent messaging from governments and health authorities.  We are bombarded daily with disturbing news about Coronavirus; we keep our television sets on all day and night.  We rely on our mobile phones as if our lives depend on them.  Messages continuously popping up on phone alerts cause anxiety.  Too much anxiety moves fast, creating emotion and spreading panic.  There is nothing healthy about this state of being.

Anxiety is as contagious as the Coronavirus.  What psychologists call “availability bias,” making imagination real, reminds us that too much anxiety will hamper our critical thinking and as a result, the validity of our decisions. The virus is controlling us and we have become needlessly anxious.  We must accept the fact that we can’t have complete control but being mindful of how we protect ourselves can relieve distress.  Stress depresses our immunity and as a result, it is easier for any virus to attack us.

How Do We Weather the Storm?

Meditation at a time of uncertainty and fear and panic is medicine.  Meditation and yoga are science and art forms for the body and mind to explore and welcome calm, balance, and healing.  This is how we weather the storm.  This is the time for calmness.  This is the time for reasoning.  We need to deal with the current commotion and regain sanity.  Corona is a wake-up call to show us the way to lead focused and deliberate lives for better health and building immunity that protects us from any virus.

Introducing different techniques at every session, AWiB is honored to have the best of the best—Deborah Lundstrom of Tulsi Center—creating awareness in this holistic wisdom. Meditation brings focus to our universal connections and first, ourselves.

Joining AWiB at these Saturday sessions to examine and explore the concept and practice of meditation is the first step.  What exactly is meditation?  Some might connect meditation to religion, but that is not the case.  We review the misconceptions of meditation and explore this scientifically proven tool to boost our immunity and focus on what is important—and beyond.

Meet Deborah, Our Meditation Guide

Deborah Lundstrom is an Ayurvedic practitioner and Yoga instructor currently living in Addis.  She has studied and practiced Ayurveda and Yoga at the American University of Complementary Medicine in Beverly Hills, California, and has achieved a certificate from the renowned international Sivananda Yoga Vendanta Forest Academy in Vrindavan, India.

After completing her studies, she started her journey teaching yoga in Europe, the United States and currently in Addis. Her aim is to serve people with the ancient and traditional knowledge of yoga and Ayurveda by providing practices of discipline and awareness of the body, mind and spirit.

In 2013, she opened the very first Ayurveda and Yoga center – Tulsi, Ayurvedic Massage, Yoga and Wellness Center – in Ethiopia.  Tulsi is an oasis for regeneration and continues to offer a range of services dedicated to bringing peace and harmony to individuals of different demographics. Some of the services include: Yoga; Yoga retreats; Pilates and Ayurvedic treatments – massages; consultations and workshops.

Deborah on Coronavirus and Its Lessons

“I was meditating on it,” said Deborah on the need for the practice regarding the Coronavirus and anxiety.  This was Deborah’s reflection:

What is Corona for me?

I sit here in my garden looking at my daughter sitting beside me and reading, my son running around the compound and thinking of the world outside and what and where Corona has brought us to.

I believe that this virus is a blessing in disguise (even though people are dying of it and that is to be taken seriously).

The nature telling us – you are not a superior species; you can’t go on being so destructive to nature and to yourself.

That we understand that this concerns all humanity!  You know when there is a wildfire in California we think Oh, it is the problem of the US.   Earthquake in Iran… Oh, it is the problem of Iran.  War in Yemen…  Oh it is their problem.  And now it is not the others problem but mine. How do I take the responsibility?  How do I act with responsibility to myself and others around me?

And I feel our ego is so high that we think we can control our lives and somehow this humility and surrendering seems to be a weakness.  Now here we are not knowing what tomorrow has for us.  We have to wait and surrender to what comes but again with responsibility towards oneself and the community.

Stop and think; stop and find time for yourself; stop and find time for your family; wow, what a time when that push had to come from outside to stop us to make us think.

Another thing, which is so interesting, is that this virus attacks the lungs and our chest.  You know in yoga we work with the lungs – breath – life giving force and energy, and the chest is our heart center—the heart and love energy where our physical being meets our spiritual self.  And the stronger this area is physically and spiritually we will be able to overcome the fear as well as the actual virus.

Let us be present to our humanity, compassion and forgiveness to oneself and others.  Let us open our heart – let us start giving instead of just running to receive and hoard.

Being fully in the moment and seeing my priorities—real priorities—not the ones created by the society but coming from the possibility of, “If I had all the resources I want and nothing would stop me,“ what would it be I will do first?

***

As no man is an island, we must commit to the global good by taking care of us and our surroundings, being mindful of others’ needs as well as ours, meditating and praying.  Doing our part without losing faith in our abilities to make wrong right, we heal the world and everything in it.

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