We’re Going to Push Through

A few ways to help yourself and others during the pandemic

Art by the brilliant Ramin Nazer

If you’re feeling spiritual: try a Buddhist lovingkindness meditation. This one is a real heart-charger. Or listen to my favorite Ram Dass lectures.

If you’re more of an activist/helper: contribute your skills to this new open-source app project enabling home deliveries to people most affected by quarantine. Their team could use the help, it’s called StayNeighbor. Email me if you want to join us.

If you can’t do either right now: remember that focusing on yourself isn’t wrong. Your own well-being is incredibly important. Don’t feel guilty.

An esoteric work of American spirituality that has guided me for many years, A Course in Miracles, suggests that our own guilt is the fastest ticket to psychological hell. Beyond mysticism, the science agrees: “unaddressed shame and excessive guilt can result in habitual self-monitoring and self-condemnation, which can lead to depression, anxiety, resentment, or anger issues.”

And if you’re having a tough time: look at the amazing stories in #pandemicoflove. Have a craft cocktail contest (everyone’s a winner). Take a free yoga class at DoYogaWithMe. If you are worried about your next meal, Feeding America has a Food Finder for local pantries.

If you are not worried about your next meal, considering donating to or volunteering for Meals on Wheels America or No Kid Hungry.

And if you need to chat with someone, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I’ll send you adorable pictures of my newborn baby and annoy you with trite spiritual advice.

I thought about how sharing the above tips could be perceived as being showy. Like, “look I’m meditating right now! And doing social good! See?!” I really don’t think they’re coming from that place, at least not primarily. The intention is: these activities have been beneficial to me, and if you’re interested in trying new things to help alleviate your own suffering and others, there is an open door. But if you’re not interested, I fold my hands in blessings.

Yes I meditate and do community work, but I also drink liquor. And I don’t control my emotions perfectly. And I forget everything. I don’t know if this is me learning how to be authentically vulnerable and transparent in my writing or if I’m going stir crazy from the quarantine.

Ultimately, this is a societal trauma. People are rightly concerned about the future. It’s a wild time for my wife and I to be learning to care for a tiny grump version of me with no immune system—Baby Bob was born in February. But we’re going to get through this. We always do. Look at our ancestors. They faced some insanely difficult hardships... on the homestead, in antiquity, in a village in the Iron Age before Purell.

We’re going to push through. And when we do, there will be a renewed sense of gratitude, harmony, and celebration. Love to all beings.

Thanks to Scott Standley for revisions, the late great Ram Dass for his exhaustive work on balancing inner contemplation with external service, and all artwork by Ramin Nazer.