As we navigate this "brave new world"...
I had the opportunity today to attend a webinar of chaplains from around the country, several of whom referred to the idea that in this pandemic, there are no "safe spaces" anymore--we have to create "brave spaces" together, as we are all now going through a time of "moral stress."
Many questions arose for us to sift through together. What are our experiences in this pandemic space? How will we meet each other, how do we perceive each other in this space? How can we take some ownership over our experience, and shape the space we co-create? But most importantly, in my view was this question:
What do we place in the center?
I want to invite you to notice that whatever we place at the center of our awareness grows in size and power, and shapes our perceived experience. If we place any given problem in the center of our awareness, it slowly becomes all we can see. It's as if we put it on a pedestal and shone a spotlight on it. The problem can become an idol. But if we focus on our Higher Power, our faith starts to grow, and we find we can trust more. When Spirit is central, our problems become smaller as we place them in their true perspective, off to the side.
How can we experience God's power and presence right now?
The Book of Common Prayer (worship resource of the Episcopal Church) assures us that "we will know God's power and presence this day, if we but listen for God's voice." I want to encourage you to find a spiritual practice that works for you. You might read Scripture, even a few verses a day; you might spend some time in prayer and meditation, getting quiet inside. You might breathe as if you were sending your out-breath toward God, and receiving the in-breath as if it came from God (because it does).
Do make sure that you're not overloading on negative input, whether that's news media or social media that feels unhealthy or unhelpful. In this time of lockdown, I, too, am finding it hard not to oversleep or overeat when my days lack external structure. I am trying to create structure and shape for my day, and cultivate more awareness of my own needs.
By making space several times a day to tune in to creation through a walk, to tune into our spirit through reading and meditation, to others through phone calls, and to God through prayer and perhaps virtual worship, I think we can maintain and even build our faith during this time of upheaval and uncertainty.