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Love in a Time of Crisis

Among the many things I've learned in the last couple of weeks, one lesson that stands out is that there's nothing like a pandemic to throw off a carefully cultivated sense of inner peace. I have a sound collection of spiritual practices, and yet I have still found myself riding quite the rollercoaster of emotions, rising to heights of compassion, acceptance and calm before free-falling to lows of frustration, anger and fear.

In my best moments, I'm able to see my internal experience as the ultimate lesson in letting go. In my worst moments, I have been swept into a downward spiral of judgment and criticism. My mind swarms with all the things we 'should' be doing, and all the ways 'people' are failing to take this seriously.  My worst moments left me feeling tired, anxious and separate from my fellow humans when we are anything but separate. I was not okay with feeling this way.

So I sat with it. I sat with the discomfort of feeling like I couldn't let go of my frustration, anger, self-righteousness and superiority. It took me a long while, but a weekend run led to a sudden spark of clarity: all I actually want is for everyone to be safe and healthy. And I mean everyone. Not just me and my community, not just Canada, but everyone on this planet we call home. And the reason I want everyone to be safe is ridiculously simple: love.

The moment this realization hit me, my new mantra was born: I love you all, and I want you to be safe and well. 

I use this for meditation. I use this as an antidote in moments when I feel frustrated by others' not staying home, when I can't understand another's point of view, when I feel like I am struggling to cope with the state of the world. In all of these moments, I remind myself: I love you all, and I want you to be safe and well.

Because aren't all of us really working towards the same end goal: for as many of us to remain healthy and well as possible? And isn't that all ultimately coming from a place of love? Whether it's love for yourself, your family, your community, or this entire world that we all inhabit, it's love that makes us want everything to be better.

My own personal commitment is to lean on love constantly, and it's also my ask of all of us together on this wild ride. In moments where you want to criticize others' actions, when you want to judge what others should or shouldn't be doing, when you feel anxious or fearful or frustrated by everything around you, repeat this to yourself, maybe in your head or maybe even out loud:

I love you all, and I want you to be safe and healthy.

You may not believe it at first. In fact, it might feel forced and ridiculous. When your ego screams at you that these words aren't helpful, ask yourself: but isn't it true? What other reason than love could we all possibly be concerned with our collective health?

As you practice this, watch how it shifts your internal state. Pay attention to how you feel, and pay attention to how others respond to you. Just as fear begets more fear, love begets more love. There is already so much love and compassion out there, and yet we can bring even more to the surface. We can show our love for one another to inspire action and change in our collective behaviour. Though you may not feel it in every moment, love is already within you screaming to get out. Let it out.

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