As I’ve written before, the quarantine did have a few benefits among the hardships. One in particular was the calm I cultivated. It was both induced by me, by taking advantage of the circumstances, and proverbially allowed by nature.
It was the closest I’ve been to calm in a very long time. Unlike others I knew I took advantage of the quiet time, the solitude in ways. Some others I knew allowed themselves to get wrapped up by social media drama, inundated their waking lives with constant news cycles, and otherwise became unproductive with said downtime. I went the opposite way.
The natural calm
First off, there was less noise in the natural world. Less street traffic around the neighborhood, less hustle and bustle of every morning, intentionally less TV, radio, and less common morning noises of “getting out the door.”
There was a natural calm to the day. Mornings out on the back porch, the cool weather, and listening to nature became the default mode to start the day. It was very automatic, a very easy routine to slip into.
After realizing these nice little benefits were joining forces to help me to a calmer mental state I soon began to intentionally minimize my media consumption. This included, most importantly, news, social media, and the awareness of what I like to call scraps of unintended media. That is the small blurbs, bites, and click-bait that hang out on ads, sidebars, and countless links as you are searching for something important or reading an interesting article.
This was surprisingly easy to do as I get very bored with social media and once I get informed with the happenings of the day before I’ve had my fill. I want no more.
The side effects
I soon found myself in a real state of calm. It wasn’t some meditative state of higher being or anything — it was a nice all-day mental awareness that my mind finally slowed down. I wasn’t anticipating work load, errands, appointments, or trying to reorganize some project that went off the rails. It was a quieted mind.
At first it wasn’t in-your-face-noticeable. It was subtle, welcomed, and natural. It felt like a mind I had as a kid — only looking forward to the next thing I was about to do. Not worried about employment, if I was saving enough for retirement, or any other long-term stress that I carry on my back on a daily/hourly basis. My mind stopped racing.
Where do I go from here?
That is a great question. As things start to open back up, the hustle and bustle do as well. I feel the stress creeping back in. It almost feels like a cancer sneaking up on me sinking its teeth in ever so slowly. I’m the figurative frog about to be boiled in the pot unbeknownst to me.
The best I can do is to revisit those wonderful lessons, those natural occurrences that cultivated and sprung from the calm and take them with me wherever I go. I have to keep them and deploy them wherever I am and apply them with intention.
Awareness must be the key. To realize that I can stop and remember the calm.
How about you? Do you have a story, mantra, experience, or method you use for everyday calm?
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