I just finished a long run in the mountains. I felt a total peace within. The giant sandstone rock that I encountered during the run was huge, a great analogy for coronavirus. Along the run I was able to let go of all the stress, anxiety and constant media coverage of the pandemic. I let go. Then the giant sandstone rock became a small blip on the horizon.
Read on to see how you too can let go of the stress and anxiety of coronavirus and find that peace within.
The Huge Sandstone Rock
So we start the journey down at the lower end of the Monument Fire Preserve and Center, where they train the “Hotshot” fire fighters who regularly make the headlines as they battle the toughest forest fires all over the West. The Fire center is off limits to regular people such as myself, but is surrounded by many miles and mountains that are all interconnected with dirt trails. What a fantastic place to run, hike, bike, ride horses and enjoy nature. The image of the sandstone rock, with Mt. Herman in the background, is below.
Mental Obstacle, Fear, Anxiety
The sandstone rock shown below is about 60 to 70 ft high, and you can get a feel for that by observing the man playing with his dog just to the right of the rock at its base.
The rock can be seen from all over the preserve, but becomes a stunning behemoth when you get up close to it.
In these days of the coronavirus quarantine, the news, social media and other information sources are all filled with fear, anxiety and dreadful items such as ever spiraling death rates, infection rates, and loss of income. The huge rock is a symbol for all the worry, fear and anxiety that is being spread throughout the world. It is imposing, and can attract all of our attention. We become obsessed with this large, huge obstacle, and dive into the depths of fear, anxiety and hopelessness. We become miserable inside. That rock is an impasse, from which we cannot escape.
During times of stress, I have been practicing an approach (derived from my 12 step work battling alcohol and drugs) that brings me to a deep peace within. There are 2 steps required. The first is letting go, and the second is letting in that deep sense of gratitude and wellness. I intend to go on another run today, its sunny and warm today, and find that deep place of peace within. You can do this as well, and walking, hiking or any outdoor activity will get you there.
Pine Cones, the art of letting go
So I intentionally limit my absorption and reading of all the anxiety laden news and social media in the morning. I do this by setting a time limit on the negative information I’m going to be reading and digesting. Its so easy to get sucked into that giant rat hole, and spend half or more of the day absorbing fear, conspiracy theories and horror. Then another approach I see is that people are getting drunk or wasted, and that is just another method of coping that actually raises anxiety. The more alcohol consumed (or drugs or junk food or sugar or …) the worse we feel. The next day our bodies revolt against us, and we feel even worse. Then the endless cycle of news anxiety bombards us, and then we spiral down into misery. Yes, that big sandstone rock is looking impassable!
I have found that setting that time limit, and then getting outside to take in some fresh air is a foundation for getting me back to a peace within. In Florida, I would run on the beach or by the swamps. In Colorado, I head for the mountains. Today is the short trip to the Fire Center.
Checking in with the body, I plan on running about 6 miles today. Yesterday I did 10 miles, so this is going to be a shorter run. Running is not required, just getting out is the important thing. If I start and my body is not working today, I will just do a nice hike through the forest of a few miles.
Into the flow! Exercising and raising the heart rate gets rewarded by the human body! Yes, even if you are not in great shape! The body gets flooded with endorphins, adrenaline and all sorts of wonderful chemicals that start making you feel good. At a few miles into my run, I am connecting with the forest, my body is flooded with the good chemicals, and I’m getting into the flow.
At this point, I stop where I see some pine cones. Note that when I lived near the ocean I would stop and grab some seashells. In the swamps I grabbed small pebbles. It doesn’t matter the object, just find something you can throw away.
I pick up about 5 of these pine cones, and mentally label them. Here are the choices for today.
- Fear of coronavirus
- All the deaths happening
- The constant bombardment of the news and social media
- My fear of the future
For each of these, I then take a big step and throw the pine cone in to the forest, letting go of the fear or label I put on them. I did it with seashells and threw them into the ocean. The pine cones are in abundance, safe and easy to throw in the forest.
I yell out the fear, throw the pine cone and let it go. Then back to the run. I get back into the flow.
Gratitude, Into the Flow!
Now I continue along the twisting, winding dirt trails. I feel the warm sun coming through and I am in the flow. I focus now on what I am grateful for, and come up with many, many items. I’m grateful for healing, grateful for my kids, for love, for the woman in my life, for healing, for technology, for the Internet and exchange of ideas, for Spirit, for my body that is taking me on this wonderful run.
Its easy to let your mind slip back into worry, but let that go too and focus back on gratitude. After another mile or 2 of focusing on gratitude, I just let my mind go and come into the present. I feel that peace. My internal vibration is much higher, and yes I have been climbing up the elevation of the mountain, so at a higher elevation. The human body of internal chemical cocktails has me feeling wonderful inside.
The Sandstone rock is a blip on the horizon!
I reach the highest point of this run, and prepare to loop back to the start. I look far across the slope leading to the mountain, and there is that giant sandstone rock!
The giant, impassable sandstone rock is now a blip on the horizon. My internal frequency is raised to a much higher state, and I feel that deep peace within. That huge, enormous rock near the start has faded into a small part of a stunning view. I am in peace.
That rock represents coronavirus and all the fears attached to the uncertainty of these times. Its human nature to have fear, anxiety and worry during these times of change and uncertainty. Yet within a few miles, my internal giant sandstone rock has dissolved into a small piece of a beautiful landscape.
Let Go, Moving Meditations – Peace within
Now you too know the recipe for that peace within. It starts with letting go of the attachment to news, social media, and mind altering substances. Make a decision to get out and enjoy a place where you can walk, hike, bike, ride horses, or any other physical activity. I keep wary to maintain that 6 ft social distance whenever I go to the outdoors.
Next let go of those fears and worries. Its easy to say that …. yes … I can say it all day until I’m blue in the face, yet most of us can’t do it. I have found by naming the fears, figuratively attaching them to a projectile such as a pine cone, calling out those fears, then throwing them away is a technique that allows me to really let go. If I say, “oh yeah, I let go”, and then 5 seconds later I’m worrying about the same thing again, I am still holding onto that fear. Also, I have found that punching or hitting an object attaches me to that object, so is not as effective as throwing something away. So find a small set of similar objects like pine cones, gather them up, label each one with your fear, then give them a vigorous heave and throw of good riddance!!
Then into the exercise flow, into gratitude, which then cements my internal peace. While today’s run is going to be close to 70 degrees, it was snowing the other day. These trees comprise one of my favorite and spiritual sections of the trail.
Wow, what a peace within I now feel! One of the beauties of this practice is that I can do this over and over again, it doesn’t cost anything, and I come to the same place of peace within each and every time. I am far away from the unsettling events of the day. The peace within carries me along for most of the day, and gives me a margin against the fear, anxiety and negativity.
One of the guys that I have walked this journey with wrote a poem … on the house of belonging …. Yes I feel connected, like I belong, and a Oneness that I didn’t have at the start. Patrick Thomas wrote this, and captured the essence of how I often feel on the side of the mountain.
Pat was inspired by David Whyte, and if you like these kinds of poems there are plenty more that will inspire you at DavidWhyte.com.
To your peace within!!!! Try it, you will love it. The world will be a better place. Your higher vibration will positively impact all those around you. The more you practice these techniques the deeper the peace.
I call this “Spiritual Fitness”. My website is dedicated to bringing these practices and other tools to make an impact in your life. I am creating blogs, books, ebooks, videos, moving meditations, meditation CDs/MP3/videos and these spiritual fitness workout routines to make your life better. Remove your fear and anxiety, and join me in the Spiritual Fitness revolution. Please sign up with your email so you can get all the latest and help me with this evolving and exciting new approach to life.