Self Compassion during Covid

So I don’t know about you but Covid and the Quarantine and mask wearing have all caused me to be more curious with myself and my internal processing of life, priorities, and how to stay strong and continue to move forward during a time when many are talking about what’s crumbling, what’s wrong, and what we can’t do and how life as we knew it before is over.


Couldn’t that be a good thing? If we have compassion towards what is actually happening within and around us, I think we can be hopeful for the future.  I don’t know about you but Covid has kind of evened the playing ground in one regard – it’ll touch any age, any race, any social status, any family, any country and therefore we have something blatantly in common that is being talked about almost daily even if you are avoiding the news and health is maybe being pushed to a priority over say maybe wealth?  I mean the mask is staring everyone in the face.  So what happens when we see the commonness in people we maybe thought we were so different from?…..human compassion grows if we allow it.  Gratitude for this life, for our breath, for our neighbor, and hopefully for our country/world.  Gratitude for different jobs that maybe didn’t receive much recognition before.  Recognition that we share the same space, breathe the same air, and right now are enduring a shift that is asking us to rebuild our roots and strengthen our foundation.

A lot of the tasks, places, and day -to -day hustle came to a halt.  And as my structure around me crumbled, I was reminded of what is soooo important, always has and always will – my inner world and my thought process.  Now is a perfect time to keep building on that.  Does it take work? Does it take looking at my pain? Does it involve some crying? Does it involve being vulnerable? Yes Yes and Yes and yet, it is also so very freeing.

As the structure around me has crumbled, new possibilities have also arose.  Can we continue to have compassion for our individual processes.  How different we are in that some are fighting for Disney to remain open whilst others are fighting for schools and some are fighting for social justice?  Yet – what are we all fighting for?  Acceptance of the now, perceived quality of life, and confidence for our ability to rise above and move forward.  Sounds like a worthy fight, if it starts within.

One of the things that has really helped me recently is taking this course through on Self Compassion for Educators.  Right now I am guessing there are a lot of parents and teachers probably struggling with finding time for their thoughts and themselves while caring for others.  Parenting has become a 24/7 job with the addition of teacher assistant/tech support while teaching has become a huge transition to teaching online that is foreign to some whilst the mental weight of going back to a population of people that are the largest germ spreaders known to man.  (And also the greatest love and light spreaders in my opinion).  Teachers also deal with the parents who for some, again their energy is frantic right now.  So how can self compassion help us who are in this together?

I have been practicing mindfulness and meditation for about 10 years but this process I found added an element of human connection that lacks sometimes in the tech era.  It humanizes what we as individuals are feeling to our neighbor, to our community, to our country, and to our world.  It stops you from staring at one tree and broadens your perspective to see the entire forest and how deeply intertwined those roots are indeed.  The practice went like this.  You start by thinking of a negative emotion that you have had recently.  Maybe a feeling of being alone, isolated, sad, mad, frustrated, etc.  And you sit with that emotion trying not to listen to any voices that encourage you to push it away, move on, or not feel.  You feel it to the fullest.  You feel it’s physical presence in your body.  You can even do a body scan to pinpoint exactly where you feel it.  And then, this is the part I loved – you relate it to the human experience as not JUST YOU or something you did or something you deserve BUT instead as part of all of us and part of life.  And that when we continuously refuse to “go there” – we build walls.  Walls that we think are protecting us but in actuality are driving us further apart.  Walls that need to be broken down by self awareness, mindful communication, acceptance, and presence.

So please know whatever you are feeling during this time, the best way to the other side of it is through honoring it and honoring the ability that you have to work with it and to be here right now exactly as you are.  I think when we put a little humanness to it, a little understanding, we can remain mindful in what is the best way to go about moving forward.  Pick something that will nurture you in a sustainable manner rather than temporarily remove the pain.  Build your better self.  One step at a time.  One breath of compassion and gratitude at a time.  And maybe just maybe – we will look back at this struggle – as a pivotal step forward for all of us.  Things may seem like they are burning now, self destructing, etc – check inside – start there.

I can also say when I take the time to practice self compassion – it is so much harder to turn towards hate/blame with both myself and with other people. And even if I have a moment of discord or frustration – I know what I need to do to wash my heart clean, take a pause, and view that other  “side” or person as a person living in this same world maybe fighting some of the same battles but taking a different approach or having a slip up and that I can give myself and them space.  Stay true, stay humble, stay hungry, stay kind, stay connected.




Why I think expensive trash bags would help draw us back to the present?

This is OUR trash.  This is OUR earth.  This is OUR opportunity.  This is OUR future.


About 4 years ago, my family moved from Easton, PA to Zug, Switzerland and spent about 3 and a half years there and moved back this past July.

Both towns are similar in size population wise.  For the most part, I loved experiencing a different place and a different culture than what I knew.  Even though it was hard and often times I did feel like a plant that was uprooted and plopped down in the middle of nowhere to survive, in the end, I learned so much.  One day, I think I would do it again somewhere else.  I think Switzerland is a beautiful country with a lot of procedures that help keep the country both physically and financially sound.   I also love America.  I see it’s beauty too.   The first 3 months back were like a happy reunion to all the things I missed.  And just like with people, my heart will always have a place for certain memories, certain moments, certain places, and certain things.  This doesn’t die, but the experience was added to the tapestry of my life and my family’s.  And in exploring something different, this added to my wholeness and my definition and take on living WELL in these times.

But the one thing I have really been thinking about recently in all of this is our consumption, and how do we curb that while becoming more conscious to what we use and what we have and the difference between words like “need” and “want” or “essential” and “nonessential”?  And how this ties to mental health and mindfulness.  Sort of a waking up to our relationships with ourselves and our connection to each other even on the other side of the world.  I realized in my cancer crisis when I started to heal, this also had an effect on those around me.  We all have that ability to be a part of something greater.  Something of purpose.  Something that feels right within our souls.  We now know more than ever how tied we actually are, how our health matters, and how fresh air is something we all have some control over keeping.

When I first learned that a roll of 10 trash bags in Switzerland was 25 francs (about 25 USD) – I was floored.  I didn’t like it.  But, I grew to understand, and even love!  Instead of paying a monthly trash removal fee – you pay more for the bags which draws you to be in charge of how much trash you want to pay for which may filter your purchases and therefore, reduce consumption and encourage recycling.  I feel like it was something that can be implemented quite easily to filter people’s purchasing habits.  To make us think twice.  Do I really need this? Is the packaging extreme?  Will I use it or will it be one of those things I use once and toss?  Not to mention whilst at the recycling center – I was also forced to slow down and learn a bit about the materials that I use.   As one sits there putting one green glass bottle or whatever it may be, after another into the same bin – you are completely looking at what you are using and putting back.  To me, I used this time to think about my usage, thank the planet, and feel connected.  May sound corny as some probably looked at it as a monotonous task but I think the more we see what we use and explore why or what patterns we have – it points to our own healing.    The workers at the facility were always quick to inform me when I placed something in the wrong bin or when they had decided to stop taking something because of a larger broader issue.

My point is mental health and physical health in America are both taxed.  We also use a much larger percentage of the world’s resources in relation to people.  My question is are we causing our own dis-ease by the pace of our lives and then using “stuff” to medicate?  It doesn’t matter how much money the country has if we, the people,  aren’t living WELL.  One one hand, convenience and opportunity do have their place but has it gone to an extreme and is jeopardizing our health and our children?  And what better way to take a look at decreasing consumption than by raising the price of that which contains it?  The bag.  Maybe you would be GLAD if someone did??