It has been three months since we shut down Well Being as part of a collective effort to slow the spread of CoronaVirus. Since we are planning on reopening soon, it seems like a good time to reflect upon what we have learned during our hundred-day hiatus. It wasn’t easy at first, having to press the pause button on life and shelter in place. Having spent the last seven years focused on work, it was a little daunting to be faced with a seemingly endless amount of unstructured time. With so much uncertainty in the air, it was tempting to get lost in the various fear-based emotions. However, it quickly became clear that being nervous wasn’t helping the situation to improve. So, instead of fearing for the future, we redoubled our commitment to enjoying the present. Here are some other things we learned over the last three months of quarantine:
1. Stay rooted in your center. One thing I realized about myself during this whole crisis is that, just because the world is in chaos, doesn’t mean that I have to be in chaos. Being an empathetic person means that you have the ability to imagine yourself in the situation of another person, experiencing their struggles and emotions as if they were your own. Empathy is generally considered a positive trait because it helps you to identify with others, but it can also be unhealthy if it’s done without awareness. For example, when you read a news article about a terrible thing that happened somewhere in the world and it feels as if that terrible thing just happened to you. Then you begin to suffer as if you were one of the actual victims of the tragedy. Or perhaps you watch a video of angry people acting violently and destructively and now you find yourself filled with anger and violent impulses. I am not saying that it is better to be emotionally aloof towards other people’s struggles, but it is important to recognize when you are taking on other people’s emotions and mistaking them as your own. When this happens, the trick is to simply come back to center. See yourself as the eye of the hurricane- the calm, unmoving witness at the center of the storm. You can still have compassion for other people’s hardships, but you don’t need to make yourself suffer on their behalf.
2. Release your control. At this time there are so many problems in our country and throughout the entire world that, when you start thinking about it all, it can get a little overwhelming. The reason it gets overwhelming is that your mind is programmed to be in problem-solving mode. That’s what the mind does: it sees a problem, analyzes it, and then tries to come up with a solution to the problem. The situation we are in right now is increasingly complex- there is no denying that the we have major problems to solve, however it might come as a huge relief to know that you are not in charge of fixing the world. Sure, there are some things in life that you can fix, but a global pandemic is not one of them. So, let it go- nobody is counting on you to be the one who solves this anyway. Carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders may seem like a noble act, but it is only going to wear you out in the end.
3. Live your purpose. As much as I’ve enjoyed my three months off, I am looking forward to working again. Not because I am bored, but because running our business is what gives my life purpose. Basically, Well Being is the best thing I can do, right now, to bring more love and light into the world. And it’s important to have a purpose in life, otherwise you are just kind of killing time, keeping yourself fed and entertained until you fall asleep, then waking up and doing it all over again. Don’t get me wrong, I love having free time, but to have ‘free’ time there needs to be time that is not ‘free.’ I believe that what you do with your time here on Earth, the impact that you make on the world and on other people, that’s the most important thing there is. I’m not really sure how reincarnation works, but there is a very real chance that this is the only shot you get at being alive- so, you might as well live your purpose while you are here.
Nick Hughes is a massage therapist, yoga instructor and co-owner of Well Being. Influenced by the ideas of Alan Watts, Eckhart Tolle and Deepak Chopra, Nick presents his unique take on human existence with the goal of helping others live a happier life.