Dear Chapman family,
Warm greetings from all of us at the Fish Interfaith Center. As we navigate through these uncertain times, we recognize the stress and anxiety generated by the coronavirus. From the disruption in switching to online classes or adapted work to the unexpected challenges in your accustomed way of life, please know that our University, staff and chaplains are here to support you in any and every way we can.
We celebrate each of you—whether you are spiritual, religious or secular. We accept what you’re feeling and are here to listen!
In our commitment to cultivate the interconnectedness, interdependence and mutual care that characterize the Spiritual Pillar and the Chapman spirit, the center’s staff will provide a series of supportive messages and information, including resources, exercises and videos, beginning with the first shared below. They will be linked from several platforms, including the Fish Interfaith Facebook page. Useful links will be provided at the bottom of each post.
We invite you to reflect with us about ways this unforeseen crisis reveals a deeper opportunity for us all to re-center to the human spirit and to reconnect to our core humanity.
Finding Calm and Compassion in Times of Crisis
Breathe. Breathe. Breathe some more.
Take time in your day—at any moment—to take 10, slow, deep breaths. Doing so will regulate your body’s “stress-response” system and boost your “relaxation-response” system in order for you to feel more centered.
Ground yourself in the present moment or in nature.
Focus your awareness on something real, enduring or beautiful in your surroundings. Look up often. Discover the wonder and awe that is always there and forever present.
Stay healthy through sleep, diet, exercise.
See health and wellness holistically—mind, body, and spirit. Science affirms that practicing emotional and spiritual self-care can equally strengthen your immune system and increase resilience.
Know it’s okay to acknowledge your fears, anxieties and concerns.
Your emotions are real, so honor what you feel. Write them in your journal. Share them with others. Invite creativity. Discover, imagine, engage your hopes and fears, the beauty and
ugliness of our world. Write, read, paint, sing, dance, soar. Remember that fear is not the final word.
Create and sustain community.
Show up for one another. Listen compassionately. Practice empathy. Message the people you care about. Check in on a long-lost friend, family members and the elderly in your life. Connect, even virtually, to a community that is helping people in need in your area.
Carve out 5-10 minutes to meditate, practice mindfulness or contemplative prayer.
Start here, now, wherever you are. Every moment is an opportunity to connect to your spirit.
Unplug, judiciously. Embrace social media only if it inspires you or connects you with those you love.
While staying aware of developments, don’t let the “pandemic panic” spread. Forgive yourself when and if it does. Block notifications and the constant barrage of social media that heighten your anxiety.
Practice kindness. Practice gratitude. Practice hope.
There is a natural tendency in times of chaos and confusion—especially health crises—to view “the other” as a potential threat. Stand with those most vulnerable and who suffer the brunt of prejudice, bigotry and fear. Remember we are in this together.
Connect with your spiritual, religious, humanist, cultural or other communities.
Find strength and solace in traditions, texts, rituals, practices, upcoming holy times and seasons. Pray, meditate, reflect, silently, through song, in readings, through ancestors.
Remember you are not alone. Ever.
Implementing “social distancing” doesn’t equate to feeling “socially disconnected.” Take this time for inner exploration and opening your awareness. You are surrounded by care and support. Reach out. Remember the long view of history, the rhythms and cycles of nature, the invisible threads that connect us all.
Learn to embrace this time of confusion and change as a transitional state of opportunity—a sacred gift to create, innovate, refresh, and renew. This unprecedented historical moment may provide newness in the future we never thought possible. The more we trust in our collective power to endure and persist, the more we live fully into the goodness that awaits.
We composed this as a group effort and will continue to post “Tips for Calmness and Compassion in Times of Crisis” your way in the coming weeks.
Peace and blessings to you all,
Dean Gail Stearns, Dr. Jay Kumar, Shaykh Jibreel Speight, Rabbi Corie Yutkin, Rev. Nancy Brink, Rev. Cisa Payuyo, Jacob Rennaker, Kari Kempf, Jen Ruby, Linda Mueller
- Feeling anxious or just wanting to talk? Chaplains are available by email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Mindfulness Meditation with Sound Healing, a course led by Dr. Gail Stearns, Dean of the Wallace All Faiths Chapel and Mindfulness Teacher, and Jody Theissen, Sound Alchemist and Yoga Instructor, is available on Chapman’s own ITunes U app. Download it, try it, and feel free to email email@example.com with questions or comments!
- Connect with us: https://www.chapman.edu/fic, Email firstname.lastname@example.org, Instagram – @fishinterfaith, Twitter – @CU_Interfaith.