How to Cope Mentally with COVID-19

man stands between artificial red waterfall
by Vance Larson

The world has ended for me. Many times. And now facing this virus (COVID-19), I am starting to see panic become the new norm. With that said, I am also starting to see some sense of acceptance in public. It’s been a week since the general public went into full panic mode. However, today while grocery shopping, there seemed to be some random acts of kindness. Sure, the store was empty but the people there weren’t as aggressive as they were last week. I even saw a few smiles. 

I spent 20 years of my life working with communicable diseases. I have literally watched hundreds of people die. I have never seen mass panic as I did last week. It has been interesting to watch people try and process this information. An abundance of news coming from all direction. Who do you believe? What do you believe? But as we peel back the layers, we all just want to feel safe and the question is, how do we do that? 

Despite the loss, there was still a song in my heart.

The world has ended for me many times. From the recent passing of my daughter. To watching my once vibrant wife, going through 6 life-altering surgeries. To the year 2008 and losing my 7 houses, and all of my money. Oh yes, the world has ended for me many times but then the sun rose and rebirth happened. A reincarnation if you will. There was still air in my lungs. Despite the loss, there was still a song in my heart. Sometimes we think the world is ending and it is really preparing us for a different path. I’ve been accused of being an optimist. And all I could do when asked if I were guilty was, nod my head with affirmation. 

The point is we think our world has ended many times. From your first teenage crush breaking your heart. To not getting that dream job you applied for and I am sure if you thought hard enough, you could come up with a dozen or so scenarios that devastated your entire world and look at you now. Still here, and still in the fight, because the truth is, from the outside looking in, it may appear to be bad. However, from the inside looking out, we have complete control. That happiness you desire is an inside job. All external things are just distractions. You want more money, a better car or a better relationship. I get it. Who doesn’t? I love the saying “The only Zen you will find on a mountain top is the Zen you bring with you.” It’s an inside job. 

The only Zen you will find on a mountain top is the Zen you bring with you.

So, is the world ending? Maybe? For me, it has ended many times. If you’re reading this, there is still air in your lungs and you are alive. The world may be ending, but it hasn’t ended yet. Go and make the most of the present moment, it is all you have. 

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