I have to admit that lately my default has been to truly practice living in each moment as it comes. This is not in alignment with my Type A past. Seriously, I am a graduate of Duke University land of Alpha personalities and overachievers. Several life events forced me to – as I like to describe it: “tone down my Type A.” Yet, I have also been known to say recently that I feel like I am drinking water from a figurative fire hose of information while attempting to move at the speed of light and the last time I checked that’s not humanly possible. Given our current world state of affairs how are we to manage the plethora of information being presented to us – especially without feeling overwhelmed? There are 3 methods that work best for me: stay in the moment, conduct my own research, and be kind to myself and others. So let’s get started on how we all can move forward.
I’m an avid reader. So the first books that come to mind when it comes to how I’m coping are:
- The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle
- Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
- The Four Agreements by don Miguel Ruiz
- How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
Like I said at the start of this blog article, I have to take pause and focus on the present moment. And, the first book listed was actually a gift to me from one of my best friends whose field of study has always touched on human behavior. She started as a social worker who holds a LCSW and now she has a master in Behavioral Analysis. Needless to say I value and appreciate all her knowledge she shares with me just because she loves me and has known me longer than she has had those degrees (funny yet very true!). Also, Eckhart Tolle was featured as part of Oprah’s Book Club and essentially he teaches mindfulness is the best way for me to describe it a nutshell. Now we all know anything Oprah touches usually turns to gold so I forced myself to pay attention. Please note, I am a much bigger fan of fictional work so it was truly a labor of personal development for me to get through this book and his follow-up book which was also part of my gift set. At first, it was not easy to stop planning ahead or reflecting and reviewing on way to improve on my past actions. Then, as I made a more conscious effort to implement his teachings, it gradually became easier. So, when the flurry of information about the Coronavirus started to feel overwhelming or appeared to be a constant influx of often times faulty information, I simply reminded myself to reset my mind. Rather than allow anyone else’s panic to infiltrate my life, I would again simply focus on what was right in front of me. Luckily, that was usually my children especially once Chicago Public Schools and day care were shut down by the IL Governor Pritzker or it was work for my corporate employer. Equally important, I enjoy both my babies and the sales and marketing career I’ve built so the reset is much easier than it would be for a person who is a bit unhappier with their current station in life. I’m sure you can guess what I enjoy more, right? Well, in case it is not obvious, I enjoy my family life with my children immensely and will passionately love and protect them especially from what feels like a huge world crisis right now with the way the information regarding COVID-19 has rolled out.
This also easily leads me to the passion I learned from Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love. Her own journey through a life transition stirred my soul in ways that are hard to put into words. Yet, her book came to mind as a reminder on how to sort the information because she was also working as a writer as she traveled ate her way through one country, meditated her way in another, and fell in love in the final leg of the chapter of her life which she was illustrating for us. She was doing her very own first-hand research. This is what I encourage all of us to do as well! It shouldn’t be hard to do with the easy of smart phones, tablets, and voice-activated gadgets we all have in our home. And, if your anything like me and feeling like you practically live in your kitchen while eating non-stop (thanks again coronavirus LOL), then you have all the incentive in the world to put down that yummy food and get to work ensure you have validated the source. The Snopes website: https://www.snopes.com/ even does that work for us so we can get back to eating faster. I jest. Still, I did share with you all that I am a proud Blue Devil hailing from the research-based institution with a renown winning basketball team right? The library, printed sources, and reputable websites if you insist on relying on only internet information will help you to not spread the vicious cycle of misinformation we have all been experiencing as of late. I can not forget how when the virus first hit and I felt like my family was inundating with news and gossip they had heard trying to push me to the grocery stores. They were well-meaning but needless to say I was frustrated at stretching my planned grocery budget well beyond its means not to mention the amount of cooking I had to do to ensure food did not go bad. LOL They say the road to a hot place is paved with good intentions and I get cold easily so perhaps I should go down that path. Again, I am joking so I hope you can bear my style of humor.
With that in mind that leads me to my last tip and point of reference. Laughter is so critical to my life. I can not count the number of times I have had to laugh to keep from crying. So when I reflect on what I learned from the Four Agreements is that most people stay in their own heads and can actually be pretty harsh with his or herself in their. So again be kind. I will even bonus you all with 2 quotes this time:
“Be kind; for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” Plato
“The World is a Tragedy to Those who Feel and a Comedy to Those Who Think.” Horace Walpolesource: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/horace_walpole_163240
It’s too easy to be hard on yourself especially when it feels like your surrounded by chaos. Still, the best way to stay focused on the right data also means you must choose the words you spread carefully. And this is the reason why I brought up Dale Carnegie’s book How to Win Friends and Influence People. Admittedly, I haven’t finished his book because remember non-fiction is harder for me? Still, I remember him describing how Honest Abe turned around his political career. Honest Abe meaning our former president Abraham Lincoln who is from my home state of IL (bonus points if you know what number president he was)! Hopefully, you understand my parallel. And just in case, here’s the gist of all this information I shared in picture format.
This was a long one but hopefully you made it to the end and will like it enough to leave a comment here or via one of our social media channels. And, thanks so much for taking this journey with me!