Motion and activity can become a way to avoid the parts of ourselves we would rather not face. When our motion and activity are limited, or we are forced to stop, we face what we’ve been running from all of this time.
What should our next step be when we have to stop?
Perhaps it would help to think of this more like a bit of maintenance time for just one thing. At least, one thing at a time.
Stopping long enough to see what we’ve been worried about or avoiding can be jarring, but we also can finally take a little bit of restorative action.
For instance, journaling is a vitally important way to build resilience. It’s also an extremely useful first step toward prayer, since it gets my thoughts right out in the open. Prayer is so much easier when I can share my burdens with clarity!
When I take time for silence, I won’t have those thoughts bouncing around in my head to the same degree. That is, provided I’ve been as honest as possible in my journal.
Journaling doesn’t have to be the longer form three page commitment of morning pages, although that is extremely helpful. A bit of maintenance could be a pause to write down a few sentences about what you’re feeling or thinking.
If something in the news bothered you, then write it down immediately. Don’t let it stew in your mind. Journaling doesn’t have to be a formal process of writing letters to yourself or recording every event from your day. It can simply offer a way to process your thoughts when you have a moment to pause.
My hope is that we can at least draw some restorative practices to improve our resilience and grounding in the present as we face an unprecedented pandemic crisis.
The general strategy of avoidance, motion, and activity isn’t good for our souls in the long term. When we are forced to stop, it can be jarring to lack any resources to respond otherwise.
As we consider ways we can help others during this crisis, we can also think of how to help ourselves slow down, take better stock of the present moment, and process our thoughts more completely. This can help us pray and become more present for others, as we won’t expend so much energy staying busy to avoid the thoughts we’re running from each day.
We have to face our thoughts one way or another. Regular journaling is one way to choose the terms for facing them and seeking a sustainable path forward.
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