To say we’re experiencing a dramatic shift in how we live our lives would not quite capture all we’ve been through these past two years. Many of us have felt fear regarding our health, uncertainty about our future and finances, and tremendous self-doubt in our next steps. All of these feelings and doubts, at times, can leave us feeling hopeless.
While the challenges we face today are not necessarily new, what is clear is we can no longer deny our role or carry on as if nothing has happened. We cannot go back to the lives we led prior to this pandemic. We will never return to “normal” because there is no way to return to something that no longer exists. We must carve a new path using a new definition of normal that includes everyone equally.
I’ve witnessed some of the most beautiful moments over the past several months, like those who lost their jobs finding the courage to finally pursue their dreams. Emotional confessions of hopelessness and fear dripped from the lips of some of the strongest, most resilient women I know. Grit and grace was demonstrated daily by those who mustered the courage to take action for causes they were passionate about.
All of these brave souls gave me a gift I hadn’t quite named at the time but now rings clearly in my heart. They gave me hope. Hope that things can get better if we do the work of acknowledging what is no longer working and commit to being the kind of people who spread hope to others.
So, the question I asked myself was how do we restore hope during a crisis? How can we recall and return to the very parts of us that can bring about the changes we wish to see in our own lives and in our communities?
Having been in the presence of some of the world’s greatest spiritual teachers for the past 25 years, and witnessing the courage, grace, and grit in those around me, I’ve been reminded of who I want to be in this new world.
There are 5 simple practices that resonate deeply and the lens through which I want to influence how I live each day. If you’re feeling hopeless, may these practices help you feel safe and restore hope in you as they have for me. Things can and will get better if we commit to living more consciously and intentionally.
5 Simple Practices to Feel Safe and Restore Hope
- For any question asked, love is always the answer
“Love isn’t conditional; it’s our birthright. A lack of self-love causes many of our problems: from bullying and health issues to war and crime. We must remember that love—a heavenly feeling of peace, joy, and wonder—is available to us right now, no matter what our circumstance.” – Anita Moorjani
At no other time in my life have I felt Anita’s words ring so true and so deep in my soul. Love is what will bring us to a new way of living that can only begin when we learn to truly love and accept ourselves as we are. Practicing self-love may sound like trite words, but if every one of us truly loved ourselves and came to see how magnificent we are, we could never hurt another, harm the environment that supports us, or treat each other unjustly.
- We must accept what is lost in order to heal
The key to our future success is to give ourselves the opportunity to grieve, adjust and adapt so that we are ready for the next phase of the grand adventure that we find ourselves immersed within. We will get through this. And we will get through this together. After we allow ourselves to embrace, and transcend, the stages of Denial, Anger, Bargaining and Depression, we will face the last stage of the model; the stage of Acceptance.
In our Acceptance, we discover that we’re moving forward emotionally from the world that we’ve left behind. We begin to consider new possibilities for our lives and what lies ahead. We begin to consider new ways of thinking and living. These are the hallmarks of a new life, and a new world. And this is why it’s so vital that we allow ourselves to go through the grieving process, step-by-step, stage-by-stage, allowing the days and weeks we find ourselves in now, to serve us as the buffer that we need to heal, before we embrace what comes next.
“The world of the past is gone. This means that we cannot go back in time to something that no longer exists. And while the vision for the world ahead of us may not be sharp and clear, we certainly don’t want that world built upon the anger, frustration and anxiety from our unresolved grief. When people ask me ‘What’s next? What can we do now?” my sense is that we’re already doing it—we’re grieving the loss of our world.” – Gregg Braden
We must practice giving ourselves permission to grieve and to heal so that we can carve out a new definition of normal that honors every human being. We must become conscious of how our actions, or inactions, affect each other and the planet on which we live.
- To be truly free, we must all share the same freedoms
“Life is both fleeting and dangerous, and there is no point in denying yourself pleasure, or being anything other than what you are. May we all be free to love who we love. And may we all be brave enough to allow love to transform us forever.” – Elizabeth Gilbert
This pandemic reminded us all just how fragile life is. We are not here indefinitely. We can use this time to fully express our true selves, to be who we are, and to accept others as they are. Just as we long to feel accepted, we can give this gift to others. We can brave the discomfort of the unknown and embrace our vulnerability. We can all truly be free in our hearts right now.
- We must be willing to rise
“Cynicism is just an excuse for not helping. There is no serious religious or spiritual path that gives any of us a pass on addressing the suffering of other sentient beings. Don’t tell me you’re all spiritual if you’re using your notion of spirituality to justify not looking at starving children, the unjustly accused and so forth. There’s nothing spiritual about that.” – Marianne Williamson
Always poignant and relevant, Marianne captures the duality that exists in the spiritual community. How can we be kind, loving and compassionate and also stand up for those who are suffering? We must not use spirituality as a shield that blinds us from what is happening before our very eyes. It is actually our spiritual practice that asks us to rise and do what is right. We can no longer remain cynical about solutions as a way to avoid getting involved or having tough conversations. We must look to our higher power to guide our actions and our very state of being. As Marianne says, “this is always the work.” It’s not just the doing, but the state of being in which we do it. Being aware of our state of being when we take action is the work we all must do right now if we wish to see real change.
- The portal to rewriting our destiny is open and waiting
“There is currently a portal that is open for all of us to make deep changes in our life. Right now there is a crack between the worlds, an opening through the veil, and we have the chance to do something extraordinary. We each can literally rewrite our destiny. We can complete and release the past and start an entirely new cycle.” – Denise Linn
If you believe in new beginnings,
you know that we have reached
a tipping point.
clearly see that life as we have
lived it no longer will carry our
future generations into
We have the extraordinary opportunity to rewrite our human story and begin to create a new future where equality, harmony, sustainability and peace become the norm.
As Gregg Braden so poignantly asks, Do we love ourselves enough to balance the necessity of a safe, sustainable, and equitable society that preserves nature’s harmony, without giving away our humanness and our most cherished human values in the process? I believe we do. We need only to be reminded that we are all in this together. This crisis has allowed us to stop just long enough to recognize that when one of us suffers, we all suffer.
If we are serious about our spiritual path, it’s time we face what is no longer working and do the work so that peace, harmony and love are no longer empty buzz words but a living experience enjoyed by all.