March 31, 2020 Blog No Comments

As the Covid-19 crisis dominates our lives, the way we’re coping presents interesting contrasts. While the news focuses on the escalating numbers and fear of contagion, there is also evidence of a renaissance of spirit.  As the structure of our life falls away, there is suddenly room for something new to surface. I see this as a contrast between our ego controlled world and our soul.

I have been surprised by the reactions of friends and clients. Even though many are experiencing the anxiety of job loss, I also see them relaxing into a less stressful lifestyle, being creative in new ways and enjoying things they usually have little time for. Those who are introverted and often anxious, are doing fine, now joined by the rest of the world and feeling less alone.  Despite the frightening news, there is a new calm. What is this?

A friend reminded me of a proverb from ancient Sufism:

        When the Ego weeps for what it has lost,

         the Spirit rejoices for what it has found.

It’s an apropos description for this process of grappling with loss and opening ourselves to something new and helpful.

Likewise, when I turned to the Tarot to bring wisdom into this confusing situation, I was, not surprisingly, shown the Tower. While this card is often feared, because it shows the collapse of the world as we know it, it also indicates rebirth, of finding your wings to fly and be reborn. It’s speaks of the transformation that can happen when we release the old and accept a new reality.

Yes, it seems we are being shown the contrast and what is possible when we let go and allow spirit to have a stronger role in coping.  Let me explore how the ego and spirit are wired to cope with situations and how spirit can bring you solace.

EGO BASED COPING

Need For Control

The ego, which maintains our sense of self and synthesizes our thoughts and feelings, wants to maintain control and will do so at all costs. While a healthy ego, taking direction from soul, integrates information and make decisions to enhance your and others’ greater good, an unhealthy ego takes information to make decisions to enhance its own power and regain homeostasis.

The contrast of healthy and unhealthy ego is being played out in front of us, as our national and state governments wrestle to reduce the epidemic. There are those who use the pandemic to illustrate their power and control, personalizing it, lying, misrepresenting the facts, blaming and judging. And there are those who work with the facts, decisively making policy to help quell the fear that everyone feels.

Here’s a shout out to KY Governor Andy Beshear and NY Governor Andrew Cuomo for their excellent leadership.

Ask yourself, how are you handling the loss of control? Who are you listening to and what is its impact?

Fear

It’s normal to feel fear when you lose control. The ego ramps up fear to motivate us to take action. Under good conditions, this is helpful. It becomes unhelpful if it becomes the focus of rumination.

With the media bombarding us with data, a call to stay home, social distance, and not travel, you can interpret this with alarm or as helpful ways to gain control. If every cough or sneeze is seen as a sign of illness, you generate more fear, versus if you see it as normal allergies.

If you follow the advice of experts, exercise control over your actions, you’ll reduce your distress and help make things better for others. To think none of this applies to you or to focus on imagining the worst is ultimately unhelpful and unhealthy.

How are you handling your fear – focusing on loss and powerlessness or doing  your part to maintain good boundaries and reduce contagion?  

SOUL BASED COPING

Acceptance

Our soul doesn’t judge, it accepts. This is true in all situations, especially crisis, where we are often shown a bigger picture perspective to understand why something is happening and how it can serve you.

This situation offers the same opportunity. How are the limitations imposed right now providing you with options you didn’t have a month ago? I have more time to think, meditate, be outside  and try new ways of providing my work. I’m grateful.

Likewise, our leaders are showing us the difference between accepting and acting to unify peoples’ response verse being in denial and divisive.

Acceptance provides us with a state of grace to move through crisis with ease rather than be in resistance.

Trust and Compassion

With acceptance, comes trust that the greater good can be served no matter what. Our soul also offers a compassionate understanding of situations that enhances our ability to give to ourselves and others who may be in need. There is no competition or power play with trust and compassion. We are all on equal ground, we are in this together.

The evidence of this unifying attitude is gratifying. From the chalk messages on sidewalks, green lights, to the helpful actions to support friends and others in need, we are acting on the commonality of our shared experience. It enhances everyone’s ability to cope and gives us hope that our world can come out of this kinder and more globally responsive. We have a new model of coping that will enhance our way of interacting with one another

Soul-based trust and compassion offers a wonderful contrast to the ego-based competitiveness, judgment and blame.

At this time, when we each have to be responsible for our reactions and responses to the global pandemic, we have an opportunity to cope with the resources of our ego and our soul. While our ego fights to defends against fear and loss of control, a healthy ego will help us make good judgment calls to follow directions to limit and control our interactions and reduce the contagion. Our soul helps us accept this situation, find new options and offers trust and compassion that by being in this together, we will come out better than we started. When we use our soul to direct our ego, we will all be better served.

How are you handling this difficult situation? Have you been able to find your soul’s perspective and use it to cope with the loss and fear? If you want support, my Transformation Life Couching and Counseling will help. Reach out to www.spectrumtransformation.com and use my Free Consultation link to reach me. I’d love to help you.

 

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Written by Connie Milligan, LCSW
If there is anything I’ve expressed that speaks to you, I’d love to hear from you. You can reach me at my email, connie [at] conniemilligan [dot] com