Words are Still Powerful

Thursday, March 19, 2020. 10:00 AM. Tucson AZ. I’m sitting at my desk. Looking out my office window I see a few patches of blue sky as dark clouds and low fog roll eastward.

 

Inspiring words- You are the blue clear sky.

You are the vast blue clear sky.

The clouds are like your thoughts.

Sometimes the clouds are big, puffy and exciting.

Sometimes the clouds are dull and gray.

Sometimes the clouds are dark and ominous.

Sometimes the clouds are so full of moisture they rain down tears.

But … you are not the clouds.

You are the vast blue clear sky.

I can’t remember where or who sent me these words, but I know I first used them after 9/11. The parallel message was that when panic threatened- stop, recognize, and quiet the emotions first. Then measured and careful action had more of a chance to be taken, resulting in a higher percentage of safety.

 

Caution in the days of COVID19

I’m thinking of this poem today. I’m thinking of the messages I read online and in emails that advise “caution.”

Caution signs on the highway mean slow down, look around. Pretty much the same today on and off the road. Slow down, look around. This is not a new reminder for me. For folks like me who are really enthusiastic, very social, huggers and lovers of many things, and aspire to just say yes (to almost anything), the flip side of this coin of personality can be impulsiveness, foolhardy decisions, and resistance to moderation. That, my friends, is part of my nature.

 

Impulsiveness vs. caution

For many years I had a t-shirt that had OTT across the front – all caps, bold, and italics. OVER THE TOP. My energy could move people to commit to being more honest, stop stealing, be willing to forgive. I could also move groups of people to sing, dance, laugh, and let the endorphins fly. But the negative extreme of my temperament sometimes meant my emotions could plunge me into huge anxiety, anger, exhaustion, or danger. Gradually I saw my words and actions could also be tempered with pre-thought and, oh gosh, some planning.

 

Caution in the face of COVID19

Today the bombardment of info and misinformation about COVID19 can wreak havoc with my emotions. This COVID19 is powerful, but so am I. I remind myself, or Hank my National Treasure reminds me, that I am not those dark clouds of anxiety, worry or fear. I can take action with a calm and refreshed mind. I can influence and inspire myself and others to not only take care for ourselves in the midst of this world catastrophe. I think calm clear blue-sky actions can inspire us to travel along this new learning curve and live with the very real awareness that our actions affect everyone around us.

 

Mindfulness as a tool against COVID19 fear

Have the recent years of mindfulness trends been preparing me for this shift in our world? Studies show that meditation for a few minutes each day in a regular disciplined routine can improve mental and physical performance.

I read the tragic stories of those ill with COVID19 with no medical help available. Or they see caring behind the extreme tiredness in the eyes of or an exhausted doctor or nurse or ER driver leaning over them. I react in a way that’s human and very emotional. I feel horrified and a sense of dread.

“Be mindful you are the clear blue sky. Feel those emotions.” I acknowledge my accelerated heartbeat, the constriction of anxiety in my heart, and the slight pain in my abdomen. I take ten slow exhales and inhales, releasing most of the tightness. My actions after the emotions calm down are responses, not impulsive reactions. The clouds of fear that this virus layers around us do not have to rule my life. I am trying to be the clear blue sky. Sometimes, I am the clear blue sky.

 

You are the vast blue clear sky

You are the vast blue clear sky.

The clouds are like your thoughts.

Sometimes the clouds are big, puffy and exciting.

Sometimes the clouds are dull and gray.

Sometimes the clouds are dark and ominous.

Sometimes the clouds are so full of moisture they rain down tears.

But … you are not the clouds.

You are the vast blue clear sky.

 

Ethel Lee-Miller blogs regularly about people, the power of words, and the writing life. She’s retired from professional writing gigs after 30 years of teaching, coaching, editing, and gathering writers to publicly share their work. She is the author of Thinking of Miller Place, and Seedlings, Stories of Relationships. In retirement she’s writing to connect with folks, and for the fun of it, and sharing stories at Odyssey Storytelling Tucson Tellers of Tales, and anywhere there’s a mic. 


1 Comment

  1. Joanne Sabates

    What a lackluster world it would be without the transcendence of metaphor!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *