She is also seeing a lot of grief and a lot of people who are feeling really fatigued, herself included. People went right into logistics mode, ‘I got to figure out how to work online, or I got to figure out how to pay this month's bills, and so on. I got to figure out how to take care of my kids, how to school my kids, how to manage having kids at home and working.’ And now that we've been in this mode for weeks now, a lot of people are reporting feeling exhausted.
“I'm inviting folks, myself included, to be really patient with yourself. “
We cannot rush. We cannot rush this pandemic’s pace and so slowing down so that we can actually make time to feel is important. Feelings and emotions are not rational or logical, so they don't come to us just by thinking them into coming.
“ I think it's important to also name that when we are really at high stress, it becomes harder to be creative and to take action. And so remaining in a state of high stress is often not going to lead us to have the idea that's going to give us some extra income for the month or take the action that we need to take to get that extra income or to figure out whatever our resource needs are. ““ I think it's important to also name that when we are really at high stress, it becomes harder to be creative and to take action. And so remaining in a state of high stress is often not going to lead us to have the idea that's going to give us some extra income for the month or take the action that we need to take to get that extra income or to figure out whatever our resource needs are. “
“And so doing things consciously to slow down how we are keeping stress in our body I think is really important. It can be having a dance party at home. It can be going to take walk. It can be meditating at home if you have a meditation practice. It can be taking showers or taking a hot bath. It can just be limiting our caffeine consumption or certain foods or beverages that we know create more stress in our body and create more anxiety in our bodies. Or talking to our friends. It doesn't have to be anything super technical.”
What are some of the negative consequences of living in anxiety? What sort of effects does it have on your nervous system?
Shirley: “So I think about anxiety a little differently than probably how most people learn about anxiety. One thing I want to say about anxiety is that anxiety is simply an emotion. And emotion is information. It is trying to communicate something with the person, with consciousness that is not being able to be received in communication through the brain or through the senses. We might not be able to see the danger, but we feel fear, right? So our emotions are very important. The way I think about anxiety is that we are in the future. We're thinking about the future. So anytime I'm experiencing anxiety, I'm aware I'm not present. That's one. Two, I also would invite people to start making friends with their anxiety. “
We're often leaving our physical body and when we leave our physical body we tend to not take care of it or hear our physical bodies messages. We know that long term anxiety happens to many people and I know it's happening for a lot of folks right now. The more we live in a culture that already perpetuates going very fast and moving in the future.
And so the nervous system is like a learning system. So everything that's happening, we are learning and then we start to communicate with our body. And this can create a lot of stress in our body.
We have two parts of our nervous system, the parasympathetic nervous system and the sympathetic nervous system. The parasympathetic nervous system is often called the rest and digest part.
So it's the part that does this sort of involuntary digesting of our food breathing at a healthy rate. And the sympathetic nervous system is the part of the nervous system that most of us are running from every day, which is moving us very quickly. It is getting us from point A to point B and it also can be the part that's taking action all the time.
And many of us know that if our digestion and our rest gets thrown off where then dealing with digestive issues, we're then dealing with the sleep issues that lead to so many other issues, issues in our endocrine system, issues with hormones. So it's really important that if we are experiencing anxiety that we actively start to pay attention to it. Ignoring anxiety will not integrate it into the system or mitigate its symptoms.
Can you explain what this abundance mindset means to you and how we can continue to cultivate this abundance mindset when things are limited?
Shirley: Abundance mindset to me connects back to nature. It connects to seeing myself as also a cyclical being just like the earth and how generous planet mother earth is to us with giving us fruits and vegetables and herbs and all types of different medicine in many different forms.
The natural world to me is a way of connecting or being able to visualize and see this abundance mindset when I can't see it and part of the abundance mindset is a reminder that just the way the earth is bountiful -- that there is bounty in my life and that there's many ways to be bountiful and receive bounty. Another part of it is being able to connect and understand or try to understand and be really conscious of how we work with abundance or how we are identifying abundance.
I don't want to diminish the experience of people who are literally having to figure out how to put food on their plate or who are struggling with rent and other very basic needs that all humans should have guaranteed anyway.
So I'm not at all trying to bypass that. It is very real when we have negative $100 in our bank account. But we can still be able to see what we do have. We can still trust in the unknown that even though my bank account looks like this right now, it does not mean it will look like this forever. Anything can happen at any single moment. That's what this pandemic is also teaching us. Anything can happen in one moment that'll change everything and it can go in any direction. At this moment, we might be seeing it as it as negative, right? This pandemic has impacted us and now people can't leave their houses. Lots of people are losing their jobs. People are sick and dying, etc.
The same thing is true though on the positive end, anything can happen at any given moment. Someone comes into a large sum of money out of nowhere, someone is given a job offer that they would have never expected to get. So when we live in that unknown mystery place, there's a way that we never know what's going to happen, but we're not thinking it's going to be a catastrophe.
There's also room for miracles to happen. So this abundance mindset is also believing in miracles. Believing in your needs being met, believing that your prayers can be answered, believing beyond the logic that many of us have been taught. This only happens when you do this and calling it and saying, “I believe in a divine power that is also hearing me and that will and wants to see me thrive and survive.”
I think some ways to cultivate abundance mindset, especially in times of financial hardship, is one to practice gratitude and really think about and reflect daily on what you're thankful for. To me, I always come back to my health. It's in those moments when I feel sick that I'm like, dang, my health is so valuable. I think it's Hippocratic who said, our health is our wealth, right?
You can have all the money at this time, but if you're sick in a hospital, that money doesn't mean anything right now. So not looking past all the gifts that some of us may have. We might give thanks for our family. We might give thanks that we have someone we're able to hug every day.