By Deborah Perdue
What a bombshell it was to find myself “locked down,” in shelter, with stores and businesses closing all around me in March 2020.
In the past few years, I have been in grief about so many wildfires occurring in the Pacific Northwest where I live each summer, and then last year, a horrific huge bush fire in Australia! And of course, tornadoes, hurricanes and floods galore as well. It seemed very obvious that Mother Nature had definitely had enough of humankind’s disregard for the earth, and living in a non-harmonic way. To me, these natural disasters seemed as bad as things could get. I lamented that they were happening with more frequency each year.
Wearing a mask while taking walks during wildfires really sucked. Air quality was dangerous. Well, so far in 2020, things have gone from bad to worse. I never thought or imagined in my life the whole world’s people would be “sent to their rooms.” I never imagined wearing a mask everywhere, or being shamed if I didn’t choose to comply.
I spent the first few weeks of the Covid-19 lockdown in shock, and felt absolutely immobilized. How could I use my spiritual practices and find peace in this horrid situation?! I spent several nights awake almost all night, worrying and fretting, as I couldn’t help but imagine how devastating the pandemic is for the health of people; for the economies across the world, and for how changed our world would be. It was mega-upsetting and depressing.
I am grateful to have some spiritual tools in my toolbox. I use them daily, but double-downed to raise my vibration, and to find some good in an undeniably bad situation. Since 2012, when first introduced to a Gratitude Journal, I found that my whole life transformed in a magnificent way. And yet…how could I find gratitude in what is going on in the world now?
Each morning, I pray and meditate.
This was the beginning of the help I needed to get out of fear and doomsday thoughts. I can always trust my inner guidance. When I tuned in, I felt a great sense of peace to my surprise! What? How could that be? I didn’t see it clearly at the time, but I knew how I felt within and I knew I can always trust that. I looked for the good from then on.
I started reading the Good News Network every morning. Soon, I started seeing posts about China, Los Angeles, India and even the Himalaya mountains having clearer air than there has been for 50 years, due to less traffic on the roads. I shared positive news I found on Facebook. I purposely, even more than usual, tuned out the mainstream media as the focus is on death, with depressing future projections on how the Covid-19 virus could be even worse next winter, etc.
I found articles instead where people were giving and sharing more than ever, as we always do when times get tough (9-11, World War II for examples). I started seeing glimmers of good transpiring. I found a page on Facebook, View from My Window, which was mesmerizing/addicting to look at. I began seeing more about all the beauty in the world, in so many countries, with people’s heartfelt messages, and so many people’s replies back letting them know what state and country they were from, and wishing them well.
Once I began to realize some benefits that have come out of the Covid-19 scare, I was able to calm down and relax a bit. I started realizing deeply that yes, Mother Earth had enough. This virus had put us all in a colossal time-out and re-set. The earth is healing, animals are venturing out, even in cities, by the droves. As well, people all over have been forced to slow down. I know that we in the U.S. particularly, have led frenetic lifestyles. Now, families are together way more; people are telecommuting for work when possible, and I have heard some say they will never go back to their hectic schedules. I notice that I am taking more breaks each day to appreciate the beauty and calm of nature around me. I could see how all of this this is a big part of the good that is coming out of the fear.
In early April, I joined with light workers around the world to pray and meditate together in a global meditation. There are ongoing global meditations like this one. The hour I participated in felt SO good and healing. I could feel us all holding hands envisioning peace and love spreading all across the world. I strongly feel that as more and more people join movements like this, there will be a tipping point and a positive shift in people’s hearts and the world will occur. The Covid scare is helping to quicken this tipping point.
As the weeks went by, I became sure that my part in this is to share good news; to be a living antidote to the pandemic of fear that is fueling the Covid-19 pandemic more than anything.
I have been writing Daily Gratitude Reflections to my subscribers since 2014, and now I focus on how I was coping with my fear and upset surrounding this situation, and offering positive thoughts instead. Subscribers let me know my words were a healing balm to them. I became positive that I could be, and would be, a way shower as we enter a new world. Since the 60s, when I was a teen, I have always believed that I chose this time to be on earth, to help herald in more peace and love and positivity. Though I was first very upset and discombobulated when the Covid virus first spread, I am clear that this is the reason I’m here. Once I knew my purpose during this stressful time, I felt acceptance. I felt ready. I even felt some sustained bliss. I felt sure I could help others.
As some restrictions are being lifted in Oregon where I live, I am relieved and happy. I will wear a mask out of honoring others. But I am not afraid. I stand strong as a wise warrior woman. I know that our world will never be the same now. And if we choose to, we can make it better—a world that works for everyone, and that includes all creatures, plants and trees.
I leave you with some practical advice on how to uplift your own mind and heart. As I have kept pursuing the path of gratitude, I have gone deeper, and realized that we can find things to be grateful for, even in the most trying situations. This expanded gratitude is called Radical Gratitude. These practices have helped me immeasurably over the years and I know they can help you too.
How to Get to a Place of Radical Gratitude
There are several ways that have helped me get to a place of peace through pain. First, there is the Chinese symbol for crisis. It means danger and opportunity. I first heard about this when my mother died, and with time, I was able to find the blessings amidst the grief of losing her. You can ask yourself: Where is the opportunity in this tragedy? What can I learn? There is also a saying in the New Thought movement. When something upsetting happens, say, “This, too, is good. This, too, is God. I demand to see the blessing in it!” Then ponder a positive reason for the upsetting event.
- Make a list of what you are grateful for, even if you can’t yet see the bigger picture.
- Read inspiring stories of others who have found the gratitude in a life-threatening or stressful experience.
- Journal to acknowledge and process your feelings.
- Write a letter to your higher self, and ask for understanding about the deeper meanings that you do not yet see.
- Meditate and ask for meaning to your higher power.
- If you don’t already, begin a simple gratitude practice of writing 5-10 things you are grateful for every day.
Being radically grateful is not easy, but it’s incredibly worthwhile. Our attitudes truly affect our lives. Living with gratitude is powerful beyond measure. Through upset and turmoil, it is possible to find peace. I invite each person to focus on what we can be grateful for, and together we will get through this ultra-challenging time.
And everything will be okay. In fact, everything already is.
Deborah Perdue is the author of several books on gratitude. She lives in beautiful Southern Oregon with her husband and their beloved dogs. She is an award-winning freelance book designer and she is a licensed practitioner for the open, loving Centers for Spiritual Living.
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