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Natural Awakenings Boston

Staying Calm in Unprecedented Times

Mar 31, 2020 08:17AM ● By Maisie Raftery

As I write this letter, life everywhere is changing seemingly by the minute, but surely by the hour. In these unprecedented times of the unknown, it may be easy to fall under the spell of the news or one political party or the other. The vast majority of all humankind is nearly simultaneously being tipped on its head—held up, shaken out by the ankles.

While I may be perceived a bit Pollyannish, I have barely ever felt calmer amid such seeming chaos. What I do know is that, for me, the inner calm has come due to the consistency of a variety of practices. Most notable is a daily affirmative prayer call that I’ve been participating in with two dear friends from the spiritual center I attend, for a little more than a year.

Following a regular morning routine of short meditation, a reading from any number of books that lift me up and personal prayer time, this six day-a-week, 15-minute call sets the tone for the day. I actually have to work at having a bad day after this time of intimate and authentic connection.

There are lots of things we can do to keep ourselves from getting caught up in the pandemonium of the day. I offer you some suggestions that a dear and wise friend recently shared with me.

Don’t watch the news 24/7. Keep up to date with short clips. Pick a radio station and listen to the news only once a day. Choose morning or evening, but only listen once.

This is a great time to learn to meditate. There are plenty of YouTube videos on all kinds of meditation practices. Learn qigong, tai chi, or yoga. There are countless instructors all over the world offering free classes on many subjects.

Play your favorite inspirational and motivational music and watch a few of the most inspiring movies of all time—Forrest Gump, A Beautiful Mind, Dead Poet’s Society, Good Will Hunting, Rudy, Seabiscuit. Find a place in nature to nurture you.

Read some of the most inspirational books such as The Alchemist, The Shack or Tuesdays with Morrie. Read inspirational quotes every day: Connect with friends and family over Facetime, Skype, Zoom, etc. Start a watch party of your favorite Facebook Live events. Learn a new language or how to play an instrument. The possibilities are endless.

There are many who are not experiencing the sudden abundance of “free” time; those who are working tirelessly to save lives or get food onto the shelves and into our bags. Perhaps finding a way to express gratitude to those who are on the front lines, or maybe creating and handing out care packages for the homeless in your area, if we are able, may lift us up.

Expectedly, our distribution has been affected by the temporary closure of businesses throughout the area. In response to this we’ve created a way for you to subscribe to Natural Awakenings Boston online so that you don’t have to leave the house to get your next copy. Visit to subscribe today. We also invite you to visit our calendar at for events and workshops that have moved online.

With warm regards and hope for an even stronger Boston to rise up out of this time of unrest.