You, like me, may be feeling overloaded by news of COVID-19.

People are stocking up on hand sanitizers, (Hopefully not like the bloke in Tennessee who bought 17.700 bottles thinking to price gouge.) If you need any, why not make your own? It’s just as good. (Recipe here.)

But as we heed the warnings and care for our physical health, what are we doing for our souls? How about creating some heart sanitizers?

We need something that can cut through panic, speculation, and the grinding numbness that comes with endless news of the pandemic.

You can make your own recipe. I’m keeping mine simple: one part laughter. one part tears. and a heavy dose of nature. Optional adds: gratitude, giving, music, tracking on good news, and lots of love.

Laughter

Laughter cleanses. And you don’t need a reason to laugh, as the folks who do Laughter Yoga love to demonstrate.

Here’s one you have to see…this baby could be a laughter yoga coach by age two.  I dare you not to laugh.

Tears

You’d think it would be easy to cry with all the ways the world is hurting, but I carry a lot of pain that’s been hard to let go.

Tears can help, especially the kind that roll freely and flush out your system. Think of them like Windex for the soul that can wash doubt away and help you see more clearly. In just minutes they can wash off grime left from stored up anger, sadness, and dullness.

Don’t worry, even if you’re really sad, tears won’t last forever. After a good cry, I almost always feel more peaceful. I finally watched A Star is Born with Lady Gaga and cried, of course, at the end. I can’t tell you what will work for you–one’s taste in crying is very personal. But if tears come, stay with them. One. Moment. Longer. Your body will thank you.

This beautiful song “Broken Angels” from the band Over the Rhine, brought me to tears when I first heard it this week. Even without tears, I find it calming and beautiful.

I want to take a break from heartache
Drive away from all the tears I’ve cried
I’m a wasteland down inside
In the crawlspace under heaven
In the landscape of a wounded heart
I don’t know where to start...  (From Broken Angels by Over the Rhine)

 

What music brings you to more peace? 

A Dose of Nature

Fortunately being in nature isn’t off the list of activities we can enjoy, even with a friend, if we keep our distance. It’s my go-to these days.

In the face of everything that is uncertain, nature heals, reminding us that we don’t have to be in control (which we aren’t now) to delight in life. I recover part of myself when I sink my hands deep into soil, walk over fallen logs, fill my lungs with the smell of wet cedar loam. I listen to birds I can’t identify singing their chant of “We will go on.” I plant peas.

Nature lives in the city, as in the country. It lives in a window box. It sprouts through a crack in the sidewalk and lives in an avocado sprouting on a sunlit kitchen table.

Of course, there’s so much else that could be added to our heart cleanser: practicing gratitude, reaching out to others, giving, music, tracking on good news in the face of the crisis.

You can potentize this recipe by sitting in silence, calming yourself, and sending your care into the world.

People are deluging the Internet with suggestions for weathering the storm, offering their poems, music, and videos of people, around the world, singing from their balconies.

It’s all good. We’re trying. We offer what we can. We’re in this together.

Just remember, in the face of all that is unknown, take good care of that heart of yours.

 

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