Month: June 2020

Grief in the Time of COVID: Sharing in Compassion and Resilience (excerpt)

By Holly Gayley // When my father went into the hospital on May 6th, there were 76,000 deaths in the US from COVID-19. By the time he passed away eleven days later, there were 90,000. It’s strange when something as deeply and personally felt as the death of a loved one becomes part of a national statistic. Yet it also points to the collective nature of grief related to the pandemic and the systemic injustices that it has revealed and intensified. We are in a time of collective grief. Some of us have lost loved ones to COVID-19. Others have lost jobs or been furloughed due to the lockdown of cities and towns across the country. On top of all that, since the killing of George Floyd on May 25, the streets have been filled with renewed anguish and calls for racial justice and the end of police brutality. The enormity of the crisis affects us all, directly or indirectly. How can we handle the emotional intensity and grief while supporting each other in the …

Simple Strategies to Feel Well & Break Through in Today’s Uncertainty

By Blake D. Bauer // With everything that’s going on in the world it’s very natural to feel overwhelmed, worried and confused. Every emotion you’re feeling within yourself is valid. Helplessness, sadness, anger, and frustration are all healthy responses to the various situations we’re facing within our homes, our communities, our workplaces, and across the world.  Many people are feeling the need to act and reclaim both their power and their voice. This is happening in personal relationships behind closed doors as well as out in our communities, all of which is purposeful and necessary. As individuals we are facing challenges on every level of our being and in all aspects of our lives. Today more than ever, it’s both critical and potentially life-saving to have practical tools that help us to feel more centered, clear-minded, and secure within ourselves. Instead of shutting down, numbing out, pretending you’re okay, or becoming paralyzed, I invite you to test the following views and practices for yourself and the people in your life. I promise they will help …

Transforming Fear 

By Blake D. Bauer // In the same way that no person wants to be unhappy or unwell, no human being wants to live in fear. If you do not address your underlying fears directly, you will constantly project them onto your ideas of the future, which then causes you to create a life that is defined by what you fear rather than what you love. Fear that is not honestly faced and transformed today will always drive us to think, speak and act in ways that bring about the exact situations and experiences we fear most. When we allow this to continue without being aware of it, we keep reaffirming our limiting beliefs while we simultaneously destroy our health, happiness, and everything else potentially positive in our lives.  By paying particular attention to who and what we fear now, we can question why we’re scared and begin to see through the thoughts and emotions that are holding us back, making us sick or keeping us unhappy. As we do this we naturally come to …

MBSR

[Watch] Janet Solyntjes on How Mindfulness Helps Reveal Our Personal Truth

In the midst of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and the uprising for social justice in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd, it seems fair to assume that many people are experiencing intense emotions right now and uncertainty about how to navigate… all of this.  In a few weeks, SMC will be hosting an online Mindfulness Meditation Intensive, and recently we asked Janet Solyntjes—a longtime MBSR teacher, and co-leader of the retreat—to share her thoughts.    While Janet didn’t claim to have all the answers, she offered that mindfulness practice—especially in an intensive retreat context—is a way to “feel into, and relax into, the truth of what you don’t know—and perhaps little threads of what you do know. It’s an invitation to do the personal inquiry that we all need to do in one way or another. And, in retreat, it’s a way to do that in community, and to feel the interconnectedness.”  For those seeking some guidance for their practice and/or considering the benefits of carving out some retreat time, I encourage you …