Andi Pyatt is an educator, entrepreneur, wellness professional, and author. (Courtesy Photo)

By Andi Pyatt

“The Well” is a recurring column to remind us of the power we possess in mind, body and spirit.

Amusement parks have never been my ‘cup ‘o tea’.  As a child I can remember visiting and losing interest rather quickly because there really wasn’t much amusement.  I didn’t like the roller coasters. The feeling of dread that would fold and twist my stomach into a knot as the coaster car creeped to the top of the first hill was not something I particularly enjoyed. The very worst of the rides were the ones that spun around and around for what seemed like eternity. Every time I stepped off those rides I would make it just far enough to find trash to eliminate any snacks I consumed before the ride.  My friends and parents would chuckle and encourage me to find something that would settle my stomach and bring me more joy, such as the games. The games were fun for a moment. However, I was typically given a budget for playing and I would exhaust those funds rather quickly. By the end of the day I was miserable, tired, and hardly amused. But I was still standing. 

Fast forward to September 1, 2020 and it seems as if the reality we are currently living is very similar to those trips to the amusement park. The only difference is that I am not the only one not amused. The past six months has sent the most grounded of us into a tailspin filled with angst. Many are on a track of highs, lows, and circles which have depleted the allocated immediate and reserve resources. The fuse is short for many struggling to cope with this new reality. Parts of the world are beginning to understand that there is no going back to “normal” and the only way to handle this changed reality is to accept and operate in the state of grace.

As I prepare my eldest son for his first day of high school in our home, I must navigate a great deal of emotion from him and myself. This week was parent orientation. I was not sure what to expect, however, I was relieved when the principal began the meeting by talking about empathy and patience for one another. I immediately felt a surge of joy that my family was now in a part of a community that understood the truth of the current times. The truth is that we have strayed from our innate humanity and we are now being returned to divine order. Moving in grace during challenging times can sometimes feel unobtainable. Here are some tangible ways to embrace the energy of graceful peace every day.  

  1.   Be kind to yourself and find the good.  We are often our worst critic. We have an idea of what we desire for ourselves and when we appear to fall short we think, say, and feel in ways that belittle and downplay our personal efforts. Take a moment each day to look in the mirror and acknowledge something wonderful about yourself. Speak to yourself out loud. It may feel awkward at first but continue the practice. You will find that acknowledging your beauty despite any circumstance shifts your perspective and makes room for feelings of joy.   
  2.   Be kind to others. The ability to see the good in another is critical to displaying empathy. When we understand that we are on the path to do our best, we can understand that others are on their respective path to do the same. This allows us to witness the vulnerability of others and allow them permission to be kind to themselves. 
  3.   Release expectations and judgement. Having unrealistic expectations and judgments lead to feelings of shame. The feeling of shame and inadequacy can have a detrimental impact on our physical, spiritual, and mental well-being. It leads to feelings of powerlessness which can lead to a host of negative thoughts. Understanding that we can only control our response to how certain events occur, not the event itself, allows us to choose the expression of love and kindness to ourselves and others.
  4.   Find the Good. – There is good in everything. I will say it again. There is good in everything. There are times when we must look very closely to find the light in a situation, however, it is always there. When we focus on that light, no matter how small, it grows. The expansion of that light will shift the entire situation for the benefit of all those involved. 
  5.   Trust the process. –This is one of my personal mantras.  It is one of the most important aspects of living a mindful existence. The understanding that every person, place, or thing has a role to play in this universe is critical to our life journey It is our goal to live in a manner that respects that purpose. Everything is working towards our good.  

As we navigate this topsy turvy world feeling sick and miserable, let’s remember that extending kindness and encouragement through the process helps us all to get to the other side a little stronger and wiser.  

Andi Pyatt is an educator, entrepreneur, wellness professional, and author (Julia Belle) of the new children’s book, Sunflower’s Breath.  She holds an undergraduate degree in Psychology/Neuroscience from Williams College and a graduate degree in Health Science from The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

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