Having good relationships with loved ones takes effort, especially if some are rather difficult to get along with. One of the things I learned from Thich Nhat Hanh that has always stuck with me is to touch the seeds of joy and goodness in other people.
“When your heart has room for everybody then your heart is full of love.”
~ Fred Rogers
You know your loved ones well enough to know what they like. Maybe they like engaging in pleasant conversations about a particular subject, or engaging in an activity. Mary and I like talking about a variety of different subjects such as cooking. Mary has been an excellent cook all her life, and she helps me in my cooking endeavors.
Mary and I also like playing with our kitty cats. Molly and Mr. Tibbs bring us so much love and joy. We also like to laugh, and have made it a point to be more affectionate toward each other.
Two practices that can significantly improve your relationships are deep listening and mindful speech. Deep listening is simple. Just focus your complete attention to your loved one when he/she is speaking to you. People really appreciate it when you truly listen to them, instead of letting your mind wander off.
To practice mindful speech, take a few moments to think about what you want to say to your loved one, and how you want to say it. We usually say the first thing that pops into our minds without giving any thought about the impact our words will have. Instead, choose words that are loving, and will cultivate peace and joy.
“The more grateful I am, the more beauty I see.” ~ Mary Davis
Your loved ones can be a great source of love and fulfillment. So be grateful for them being in your life, and make an effort to spend more quality time with them. Remember, they won’t be around forever.
6. How to Handle a Crisis: Being Part of the Solution
The COVID-19 pandemic is a crisis like most of us have never seen before, so we’re not sure how to react. Even the experts didn’t know initially what we were dealing with, so they couldn’t give us 100% reliable advice.
As with most crises, the first thing we need to do is stay calm. It doesn’t do us any good if we panic and aren’t able to think straight. This is another area where the mindfulness practice can help. If you meditate regularly, you are more likely to remain calm under most circumstances.
Next, be part of the solution, and not the problem. Some people are paralyzed by their fears, and either take no action, or make things worse. In order to deal with a crisis effectively, you need to understand it as best as you can, and then determine what measures to take to deal with it as well as possible. Here’s how I dealt with the pandemic:
When I first realized there was a virus spreading in the U.S., and how potentially dangerous it was, I initiated a self-quarantine for Mary and I. Remember, Mary is in a high risk category, so I had to take strong measures to protect her. If she were to catch the virus, it would most likely be fatal.
I go to the grocery store once a week, where I wear a mask and disinfect all the merchandise that comes into the house. Since some items are in short supply, I buy enough to last at least 2-3 weeks, but I don’t hoard. When I get home, I change my clothes, and take a shower.
The idea is to reduce the chances of us catching the virus to just about zero. This may be excessive, but considering what is at risk, I would rather be safe than sorry.