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Spirituality In Anxious Times: What To Do?

by CSW Director Rob Field
 

I have something called generalized anxiety disorder. You might be thinking, "Right now is not a great time to have an anxiety disorder" — and I would agree!

Believe it or not, the Coronavirus pandemic has not been a time of terrible stress or chronic worry for me. (Let me be quick to say I can think of many people who have every right to be anxious, worried, or depressed these days.)

It probably helps that I've had this diagnosis for many years, and during that time I've learned a lot about anxiety, what makes it worse for me, and what makes it better. (Those who suffer from related things like recurring fear or sadness may appreciate some of these tips.)

WHAT HELPS:

1. Find a way to "lean in." I used to think ignoring or distracting myself from the cause of my anxiety would help. It doesn't. Call a friend or family member, write in your journal, express it artistically — do what you can to describe what's making you anxious. Anxiety has less power when we turn towards it.

2. Befriend your anxiety. It may sound strange, but many of us find it helpful to think of anxiety as an odd little friend who shows up for a visit now and then. "Oh — it's you again," you might say. "Pull up a chair." Our Buddhist friends tell us resistance to some part of reality is an "unskillful" way to address it. Better to see it for what it is and even welcome it.

3. Adopt (or return to) a spiritual practice. If I didn't meditate once a day and engage similar practices regularly, I'm convinced anxiety would do more damage in my life. Over time, a daily practice builds an inner reservoir of calm. Spiritual practices rooted in the great wisdom traditions help us stay connected to things that endure: love, faith, and the "peace that passes understanding."

Center for Spiritual Wisdom is dedicated to sharing spiritual practices that transform people like you and me, from the inside out. Join us for one of our upcoming events or schedule a one-on-one "soul friend" session with me to explore how to go deeper in your spiritual life. Meanwhile, I wish you health, wellness, and peace.

 
DO YOU ZOOM (or FaceTime or Google Hangout)?
 
When the Coronavirus pandemic erupted, CSW was in the middle of a 7-week learning series that started in February. We scrambled to figure out a way to transform the group from an in-person gathering to a virtual one. Thanks to Jean Woods, my co-facilitator, we continued the series using Zoom, and completed the course on schedule. Although we prefer in-person events, the Center is discovering that an audio-visual connection is better than no connection at all! Recently, we launched a second book-based learning series about St. Paul. The 14 participants are meeting each week on Zoom (some are joining us from out of town and even out of state). Stay connected to CSW to find out what else we're planning.
 
Soul Friend, Spiritual Companion Sessions at CSW

CSW Director Rob Field has offered 1-on-1 Soul Friend / Spiritual Companion sessions since the center was founded in 2016. The older term for this work is "spiritual direction," but that doesn't accurately describe what it's about. For an hour, typically once a month, the client is offered a safe and confidential environment to explore matters of the heart, soul, and spirit.

Many clients are looking for a sounding board to delve into their thoughts and feelings about God, spiritual practices, and significant relationships. Others use the time to explore challenging subjects informed by their own values and beliefs. Rob uses the Enneagram as a resource to help the client uncover his or her innate, but perhaps untapped, wisdom.

Before the pandemic, Rob held soul friend sessions at Elk Haven Wellness Center in Brevard. Currently, he is offering this service by telephone or video conference calls. The first session is always free of charge, and the fee for subsequent sessions is based on a sliding scale. Email Rob or call him at (828) 577-8168 to make an appointment or receive more information.

 HELP US PICK OUR NEXT EVENT AT CSW!

Please take this very brief survey to help us decide which events to offer next at the center. Until social distancing guidelines are lifted, our events will be conducted online using Zoom video conferencing. Only 6 questions! Thank you for your help.
 
SURVEY MONKEY POLL — HELP PICK CSW's NEXT EVENT — HERE

NEW WEB SITE — COMING SOON! We are thrilled to tell you we will soon have a new web site, to be launched in the near future. This photo is a snapshot of what the new home page will look like. A friend of Center for Spiritual Wisdom has made a special gift to fund the design work of Katy Rosenberg of Think It Studio in Brevard. In recent months, we have been working closely with Katy to create a web site that will be more functional, more dynamic, and more vibrant than our current one. Watch for an update and launch announcement in our June newsletter.
 
 
GIVING & GRATITUDE: As a young non-profit organization, Center for Spiritual Wisdom would not exist without the generosity of our supporters. Since the coronavirus outbreak, our ability to generate revenues from retreats, pilgrimages, and in-person events has been eliminated. That leaves donations as one of the only means to keep our doors open. Please consider becoming a monthly donor: $25, $50 or $100 makes a great difference in our ability to pay our bills and continue to promote Vibrant Spiritual Life in our region. Gifts of any amount are gratefully welcomed. CLICK HERE to donate online or find out how to send a check. To all our current and former donors, we say THANK YOU and thank you again.
 

COVID-19 & Strong Immune Systems
by Cindy Decker, CSW Operations & Communications Manager
 
A rather unusual way to consider COVID-19 is that it is here to be a Healer. The message from COVID-19-as-Healer: if you haven't already been doing so, build strong immune systems.

Your immune systems include areas such as your physical, mental, emotional, relationship, spiritual, and financial selves. The wonderful thing about such a clear message from COVID-19 is that you have been hearing the same message from ALL your healers! Here are some of the ways that this message might be coming through: 
  • Medical doctor - eat more fruits and veggies, drink plenty of water, get good sleep, reduce stress, exercise!
  • Nutritionist - food as medicine! Eat the foods that your specific body needs, and eliminate those that are making you sick.
  • Personal Trainer - move more! Feel better by staying active to prevent unhealthy weight gain, back and neck pain, heart disease, etc.
  • Life Coach - dream big, set goals, pursue your passion, be who you really want to be!
  • Religious Leader - find your strength, love, guidance, and support in your God.
  • Spiritual Leader - let go of the things, patterns, ideas, behaviors, and fears that hold you back from your full potential.
  • Psychologist - heal yourself, heal your relationships.
  • Community Group Leader - engage and invest in children, help your neighbor, support your community!
  • Financial Advisor - spend wisely, invest for your future, be prepared for economic downturns.
  • COVID-19 - all of the above.
So, if you build strong immune systems, they will help you weather the difficult things that come and go in each and every one of our lives. ❤️
 
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