May 21, 2020

Mindful Moments #62 Adapting to a new normal

Hi friend,

To be honest, getting through this pandemic is difficult. Really, really difficult. We have observed an entire spectrum of folks who have been responding to home quarantines with ease, but also many folks with a lot of difficulties. The crisis text line has seen an uptick of 30% in text conversations last month. Not only has COVID-19 ravaged our nation, mental health will never be the same.

As part of getting through these hard times, we can use various coping strategies to help mitigate and even offset many of the mental chatter that puts our sanity at risk. In a combination of mindfulness and meditation, I’ve picked up a few tips that have helped me tremendously.

The first is practicing gratitude. While it might seem obvious, reflecting on things that are going well amidst chaos allows us to focus on uplifting thoughts that we can further cultivate throughout the day. Not only are we, what we think, but we only accept what we tell ourselves. In thinking sombre thoughts, we will only accept sombre news and events into our lives.

Each day, I write a few things I am grateful for, including health and employment during this time. Some days, I remind myself of the very little things, like having food for the day or even a mind to think and write this email. When we put things into perspective, there are folks around the world who don’t have the privilege or access to the things we take for granted. In practicing gratitude, we become more mindful and aware of the things we have and pay less attention to the infinite things we don’t have or even need.

The second thing is practicing positive self-affirmations. By associating ourselves with the behaviors we want more of - we come to align ourselves with the thoughts and actions we seek. For example, by declaring ourselves to be strong or kind - we become strong and kind. On the flip side, if we say we are depressed and lonely, we only accept the things that prove these sentiments.

With this pandemic, I remind myself that I am resilient, adaptable, and strong every day to put myself in the proper headspace to get through another day of quarantine. While it is okay to be vulnerable (it’s ok to not be strong every day), we must also be vulnerable to courage. We’ll never know what the future holds, but all we can do is to prepare ourselves the best we can, setting up the best headspace as possible.

The third tip is to have faith. Not necessarily being spiritual or religious, but having trust in this process. Nobody knows for certain what will happen, but rest assured, there are folks working tirelessly to come up with vaccines and ways of living that will eradicate or diminish this virus. Unless we’re planning on being a part of this solution directly, worrying or stressing more about the situation doesn’t help create a vaccine any faster. We just need to do the best we can, with the things that are in our control.

Sending you so much love and compassion during this period.


Fuck cancer, not life

Recently saw this video on NextShark about a Korean YouTuber who recorded her final days of cancer - up to the very last day she died. For many of us put in this situation, recording a YouTube video would be the last thing on our minds. But for this woman, it was a moment to shine and smile amidst a war inside her body. A beautiful example that the happiness we seek has been always inside of us all along. (Highly recommend watching this video with subtitle translations on YouTube)

The future of Trump

Again and again, the story that emerged is of a president who ignored increasingly urgent intelligence warnings from January, dismisses anyone who claims to know more than him and trusts no one outside a tiny coterie, led by his daughter Ivanka and her husband, Jared Kushner – the property developer who Trump has empowered to sideline the best-funded disaster response bureaucracy in the world. People often observed during Trump's first three years that he had yet to be tested in a true crisis. Covid-19 is way bigger than that. 'Trump's handling of the pandemic at home and abroad has exposed more painfully than anything since he took office the meaning of America First,' says William Burns, who was the most senior US diplomat, and is now head of the Carnegie Endowment. 'America is first in the world in deaths, first in the world in infections and we stand out as an emblem of global incompetence. The damage to America's influence and reputation will be very hard to undo.’

Inside Trump’s coronavirus meltdown by Edward Luce for the Financial Times

Celebrating the class of 2020

This pandemic has completely uprooted our lives, especially for those missing out on their important graduation ceremonies. Obama and many other celebrities got together to wish these 3+ million graduating high school seniors a digital sendoff.

And if you enjoyed that, check out a UC Berkeley student’s Minecraft graduation and a father’s attempt at recreating a university graduation stage.

As always, thanks for reading!

Metta (with loving-kindness),
Steven

P.S. If you enjoyed this, share or sign up here: mindfulmoments.substack.com

October 26, 2019

Favorite Books of 2019

As part of my daily commutes, I download books onto my Kindle to keep myself entertained. These are some of my favorite books from this year.

Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life
A Path with Heart: A Guide Through the Perils and Promises of Spiritual Life
Image result for robert greene laws of human nature
When Breath Becomes Air
Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life
The Choice: Embrace the Possible

On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous
Principles: Life and Work

say hi!

I love hearing from you! Reach out to me at:
info@stevenwakabayashi.com

Connect with me

Subscribe to my Weekly Newsletter

Each week, I send project updates and my whereabouts, along with mindfulness content I love. Read a preview of Mindful Moments