Keeping Calm and Collected

Donna Rubenoff

Dear friends,

This is a time for hunkering down and staying put. We in Massachusetts are in the midst of a surge in regards to the increased number of Coronavirus cases and hospitalizations. Perhaps it is a time when you are living with fear, sadness, grief and loneliness, but also noticing the arising of lovingkindness towards our brave first responders, grocery store employees, delivery truck drivers, garbage truck drivers and all others upon whom we depend. I am witnessing people all over the world expressing deep gratitude for these essential people. We are all in this together. What is emerging is profound connection and compassion that I believe will help heal the world.

I am finding the need to connect with others, stay present in these uncertain times and honor the range of my emotions with kindness and compassion. I have been focusing on meeting all my emotions right where they are, trying to notice the arising of fear, sorrow, grief, and loneliness head on. My intention is to spread love and kindness. When I feel my heart closing down, I have a number of practices that help me calm my body and mind. I want to remember to stay present to all my emotions and not run away. I have a choice in how I respond to my life circumstances and how I want to be in this world. In my thirteen years of mindfulness and meditation practice, my journey has not always been easy and at times has been quite challenging; but it has been time well spent. I have learned that there is a space I can create that will guide the way I choose to be. As Viktor Frankl said in his book, Man’s Search for Meaning, “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”

There is a gift that you can give yourself that doesn’t take anything except carving out some time in your day. It’s the gift of “just being” and resting in the aliveness of your body. Your breath is like a trusted friend, always there for you.…always knowing that whatever happens you can return and start right where you are…being present to whatever arises with tenderness and love.
Here is a simple meditation practice that might help you stay grounded in this time of uncertainty:

Sit in a comfortable position, hands resting comfortably on your lap, Close your eyes and turn your attention to the in and out rhythm of your breath. Feel the ground beneath your feet and feel your body being supported by the earth. Feel yourself connected to the world and all its beings. You can add a soft touch by placing your hand over your heart. This will help you calm your nervous system and help settle your mind and body. Rest in this way, continuing to notice the in and out of your breath. When thoughts arise that are disturbing, label them fear, sorrow, etc or just gently notice them all without any judgment and then return to the next breath. You are giving yourself the greatest gift….the gift of the present moment.
May you all be blessed with a sweet and joyous Shabbat.


Join Donna at 9:00 am via Zoom on Saturday, April 18, for Mindfulness & Meditation.