So are you satisfied with your response to this crazy situation we all find ourselves in with Covid 19?
But, if you’re not, there’s still hope. There are any number of different coping alternatives out there that can affect our moods. We typically stay with those learned early in life, but if they fail us during a new and unusual life circumstance, we may be ready to at least try something new.
Here’s one you might try that I did not learn until approaching my 70th birthday. Now I use it pretty much daily and find it very helpful. If nothing else, you may feel free to experiment with it. It involves something we call, simply, self-talk.
Now most self-talk exercises suggested by professional counselors have the same objective of learning to re-think our life events for the purpose of restoring our preferred mood or emotional state. They follow a pretty basic formula of thought + action = emotion. But in this case, I would invite you to imagine yourself as a whole person consisting of three parts: your body -- your mind -- your soul.
Sooner or later in life, there are events that come about where we are isolated and without the people we once had available to support us emotionally. We are left to draw some emotional support from within. And we can experience ourselves as either our own best friend or else our own worst enemy, depending on how our self-talk occurs.
When no one else is in the room with you, consider your opportunity to have this time alone to get to know yourself as your new best friend forever. Have a chair. Make yourself comfortable.
Listen to your body first. Use your mind’s own conscious, awakened awareness to do the listening. Let your body have time to voice whatever sensations are now present. Any sights? Any sounds? Any tastes? Any smells? Anything your lungs would like to tell you as you sit here breathing? Take some time out. Just listen. Attentively. Any places in your body that are now comfortable? Any that are uncomfortable? Any parts of your body that are now needing help of any kind? Any questions you now have for your own mind?
Now listen to your mind. Use your body’s ears to hear what your mind is thinking and saying to you in response to what you just voiced. Let yourself take the role of your mind’s inner child. And trust your mind to assume that role of your inner parent, responding to your different sensations. Your questions. Your comforts. Your discomforts. Your childish uncertainties and unknowns. Your fears and troubles. Your need for help in some way. Let your mind explain what it thinks about your needs. Let it offer its own help to you. Let it love you as you need to be loved in these moments. Let it parent you as a child needs parenting.
Now let your mind do the listening again to your body. Imagine your body as that inner child who depends on you to be the loving parent, the understanding parent, the helpful parent able to answer your body’s every need. Hear your body’s voice. Hear about your body’s comfort level. Any yet unanswered questions? Any unmet needs? Any continued discomfort or hurtful places? Any childish worries?
Now it’s your soul’s turn to do the listening. It’s your mind’s turn to voice your thoughts to your soul as if it were a parent talking about your own child but this time to a favorite grandparent. Imagine your parent to grandparent conversation as you explain what just happened with your child. Share any concerns you may have about your body, your child. Say what your body is needing and what you are doing to lovingly meet that need. And use this time alone with your soul to ask any questions you may have. Confess any of your own concerns about your body, your inner child. Share what your unanswered questions might be at this time given the situation your body now finds yourself in. Tell about any recent events your body, your inner child, has had to experience that were difficult or stressful. Speak your mind so your soul can hear all about what’s been going on.
How are you doing so far?
Ready for this last piece to your conversation? Your self-talk? Your trialogue?
Because the best is yet to come.
It’s time for your mind and body to both do the listening. And for your soul to find its voice. God’s voice. God’s Holy Spirit that dwells within you, to love you with an eternal and heavenly love. A perfect love. A love that cannot manipulate, force, or control you, or decide for you. A love that refuses to impose or to disempower you. A love that is present instead to empower you. To influence you. To inform your decisions. To guide your actions.
As you listen to your soul, imagine the voice of a gentle grandparent, who loves unconditionally. Who is wise from experience. Who has faced many difficult events and circumstances in relation to the broad universe of eternity. And whose voice is here in this moment, this place in time, to explain the whole that is greater than even the sum of its parts. The certainty that is here in the midst of uncertainty. The explanation and answer that is available even within the mystery of a child’s life and a parent’s apprehension. A voice of meaning and purpose even in the most troubling events of body and mind. A voice of reassurance based on truth, and of hope based on assurance. And of faith based on love’s power to empower you to act. To rise up as if in resurrection. To take action to be helpful to self and other. To pass on love as first received.
As your soul has the last word in your self-talk, know that God will always have the last word in your life. And that will always be a good word. A word you will hear in your mind even now. A word your body most needs to hear. A word you will remember throughout this day and this night.
A word you will use for coping with covid. A word you will use after Covid. A word you will use for eternity.