Brenda Kay Neth
There is nothing I can do. But wait. And watch. And listen. Suddenly the outside world is non-existent as we stay safe at home. My self esteem has had a hit, as it is focused on outside approval for my appearance, my work, even my spiritual practice. At least that was until COVID-19.
When “stay at home” orders meant my doctor demanding I stop working at the shelter, I balked. It triggered my sense of being devalued or less than. I had been working for less than a year and I wanted to prove myself to my employer. How could I be “high risk?” Still, I decided to listen. There was a quiet voice within me that said “This is the best thing that could have ever happened to you.”
And it is true. I have been practicing Heartfulness since 1989, but COVID-19 has brought me the humility and curiosity of someone just starting off. I have immersed myself in the special editions of Heartfulness Magazine on Yoga and Yogic Psychology, I have been thirsty for reflection and have been drinking Babuji’s wisdom of ‘The Efficacy of Yoga’, as well as the book Love and Death by Chariji, the third guide of Heartfulness. The videos of Babuji’s life brought me into the world of one who felt himself unimportant, yet able to “spin the world like a top.” After watching them, I felt closer to experiencing his true Reality.
Finally, after twenty years, my mind is becoming my friend and my ally. My meditation journal steers me towards the future. All these realizations are expanding my consciousness so I feel I am never alone, though I live alone. My low self-esteem has disappeared as my Self has taken over. I see that I am part of the big picture. I am complete and part of a whole universe.
My eating disorder is getting better. I remember to be grateful for the food I can afford, for the work that I can do. I am not afraid to have a fridge full of food, to create beautiful meals for myself and my dear neighbor, and to remember that I could never have done this even six months ago. Learning different asanas (yoga poses) is helping me to create love for my body. I can be in my own skin, instead of disassociating into some media-based fantasy of the appropriate body size.
I find patience where there used to be frustration, and forgiveness toward self and others where there used to be toxic criticism. I no longer become as ballistic when I am outside around those who choose not to wear a mask. My being “high risk” isn’t about them. I am still learning how to keep constant remembrance in the forefront when I am starting to become fearful of dying or getting the virus. None of us is exempt from Nature’s actions. I am human. I am vulnerable.
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What I need to focus on is grounding myself in the internal message that I accept my ability to simply be and take care of myself. Fear is a choice. It is not random, and I create it. I am grateful to truly know this now. I am helping myself through the Heartfulness methods of cleaning, prayer, and constant remembrance, as well as through professional care. I want to learn to honor the changes that Nature is offering us.
I cannot socialize, but I can pray, talk on the phone, write handwritten letters, and use technology to be a little bit closer to those I love. I can learn to not base my value on interactions or conversations with others. Instead, I can build my own self-esteem through the tenderness of dialogue within. With this ongoing work, I am sure to progress quickly in my goal of finding union within. Herein lies the importance of “doing” nothing and opening our hearts into “becoming” and accepting our strengths and values.