Photo ©2020 Catherine Lenard
What’s your anxiety or fear level related to coronavirus on a scale of 1–10 with one being Eh,-This-Too-Shall-Pass and ten being The-Sky-Is-Falling-and-Everyone-With-It?
With the increasing onslaught of scary stuff in the media, I admit I started drifting toward 8 or 9, once in a while spiking to 10.
Do you remember the TV show Fear Factor where contestants had to do a series of challenges from being covered with hissing Madagascar cockroaches to a spaghetti clump of writhing snakes? Or chugging a freshly blended worm smoothie without it (ewww) backing up? Although there are different ramifications, today’s Fear Factor is kinda like going out in public without a bottle of hand sanitizer or (depending where you are) face mask.
Understanding very well that taking common sense precautions to protect your body is important, I realized that I also had to get a grip on what I could control — my thoughts about it all.
Are You Choosing Fear or Love?
Remembering a book purchased years ago called Love is Letting Go of Fear by Dr. Gerald Jampolsky, M.D., I pulled it off my lower bookshelf. In it, Dr. Jampolsky recalls that in med school a high percentage of his fellow classmates would start developing symptoms of whatever illness they were studying — no matter if it was chicken pox, schizophrenia, or an STD.
He said his fear factor at the time was a highly contagious lung disease, tuberculosis, transmitted through the air by talk, coughing, or sneezing. As an intern he had to do a one-month stint in the TB ward. He was terrified he would die. His fantasy plan was to take one deep breath and have it last for a month. At the end of his first day, he was an emotional wreck.
Just before midnight he received an emergency call that a woman was admitted to the ward with not only TB, but alcohol-related cirrhosis of the liver. She’d just vomited blood. When all lifesaving measures failed including an oxygen machine, he resorted to mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
When it was over, he noticed in a mirror that he was covered with blood. Yet at no time during the event was he fearful. Through the necessity of the moment, he had forgotten about himself and went into action to save the woman’s life. After that, he had no fear of TB.
The point he made at the end of the chapter is when you take your mind off yourself and your fears and bring love into action by helping someone else [whether through direct help, a kind deed, a positive thought or prayer], you shift your own focus from destructive and negative to constructive and positive. This also has an effect on your body.
The Mysteries of the Mind
Years ago, I’d attended a business conference in Florida. One of the presenters was a hypnotist who was on the level of having his own Las Vegas show. When he asked for volunteers from the audience, I raised my hand. A bunch of us went onstage and he did his initial hypnosis thing to screen people who would continue on as part of his demonstration.
Some of the people responded to his suggestions and “went under,” some didn’t. I was determined not to allow myself to do so and was excused to return to my seat in the audience along with a few others.
It was a great show. About ten people were sitting in a row onstage and conversing in everything from martian to (bawk-bawk) chicken-speak. It was seriously funny stuff.
But here was the kicker.
One of the ten people, a woman, was later positioned between two conference chairs. You know, the stacking kind you see in restaurants and hotels with a solid metal frame. The chairs were positioned back to back with about 4.5 — 5 feet in between them. While she was in a trance, her body was positioned with her neck on one chair and her ankles on the other. Her body was suspended between two chairs, stiff as a board. Then someone stood on her torso! Are you kidding me?
After that, she woke up, stood up, and returned to her seat in the audience as if nothing happened.
Had I not seen that for myself, I would have had a hard time believing it. The thing is, your mind is incredibly powerful. With self-awareness about what you’re thinking and discipline to catch yourself when you’re heading into a downward fear spiral, you can choose to change that thought into something positive and life-affirming. For yourself and others.
The Miracle Man
A friend of mine was left to die in a humble nursing home after suffering a stroke at an early age that left him paralyzed. He said he had nothing to do but lie in his bed and stare at the ceiling. He put his creative mind to work and envisioned himself alive, happy, and healthy.
Today, he’s a golf instructor at a PGA-designed golf course and belts out a repertoire of Frank Sinatra classics at a wide variety of entertainment venues. You can do this, too. Enough said about the power of the mind?
It’s a known fact that mindset affects the immune system and physical health. Emotions of fear tear it down. Feelings of love and creativity bring life.
In that respect, the coronavirus can be a potent personal growth teacher — discovering how not to allow ourselves to get swept away in fear. Because if not this, in some way or another, it’ll typically always be something.
Along with precautions you’re taking to protect your body, watch your thoughts. Become aware of what you’re thinking. Your state of mind is your responsibility and can be an oasis of calm and positive creativity, despite what outer appearances may seem to be.
You can bite fear in the butt by focusing on having vibrant health and inner peace. Forgiveness of yourself and others — love for yourself and one another. And whatever makes you happy or brings you joy.
Remember, “Eh, this too shall pass.”
You Tube (vlog) version of this post: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hClTsS33Gz0
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