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    Fay Brezel
    Admin
    Topic Author

    This is a q&a from a Rav in Sydney.

    From Rabbi Moss, Sydney, Australia.

    Question of the Week:

    This coronavirus thing has really thrown me. I feel like I’ve lost all sense of certainty. No one knows what will happen next. How do we stay sane when we don’t know what’s lurking around the corner? 

     Answer:

    It is not that we have lost our sense of certainty. We have lost our illusion of certainty. We never had it to begin with. This could be majorly unsettling or amazingly liberating. 

    This tiny virus of 125 nanometres* has sent the entire world into chaos. All of our plans are up in the air, markets are going crazy, entire countries shutting down, and we have no clue what the future holds. 

    But that is always the case. We never know what the future holds. We only think we do and keep getting surprised when things don’t pan out the way we expected. Now the mask is off. We have to admit our vulnerability. 

    What will happen next? We don’t know. Our experts don’t know. Our leaders don’t know. Only G-d knows. And that is the point. Only G-d knows. 

    Close your eyes and feel the uncertainty, make peace with it, let yourself be taken by it. Embrace your cluelessness. Because in all the confusion there is one thing you know for sure. You are in G-d’s hands. 

    Keep calm. Panic and fear are also contagious. Take every precaution as advised by health authorities. Wash your hands well. And every time you do, remember whose hands you are in.

    Rabbi Moss

    *A nanometre is one-billionth of a meter.

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    Chavy
    Participant

    Yes, I saw that and think it’s such a smart and therapeutic answer! I’m still trying to stay calm even not disoriented because this just isn’t the way the world is supposed to run. My parents are home and so is my high school sister! What scares me most is not being able to go out because my parents are afraid of contacting germs. It’s very unsettling and disorienting! I feel like I’m obsessing and ruminating (key features of anxiety!) over how things are just not how they’re supposed to be. I know this may sound crazy, but I almost feel like i’m going through the stages of grief (of not having our normal routine). Like, last night, I was much calmer and accepting of it, but now, I’m quite anxious about it! I think it’s just about reminding myself that I’m (thank God) okay, safe and fine even though things are haphazard and so not the norm, I’m kind of going between acceptance of my anxiety and distracting myself in a productive way. I think the more I think about it, the more i’m going to have trouble accepting it. The more my anxiety will shoot up as it is now!

    What do others think?

    Thank you @Fay for opening this thread and allowing me to voice (journal) my thoughts and feelings.

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    jaybee
    Participant

    Hi all,

    My name is Jaimie and I’m a social media manager. I work from home all year round so for anyone who has to work from home and is finding that transition difficult, feel free to ask me any kind of questions!

    I am very concerned about my family at this time. I’m staying in and so is everyone I know. I’m devastated to see people not taking this seriously and I’d like to take this opportunity to remind everyone that for the people among us who are immunocompromised or elderly, this can be a devastating blow.

    Let’s think of our neighbors and our community now. Let’s be there for each other and support each other.

    Let’s stay in.

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    nechamamusic
    Participant

    Hi everyone! My name is Nechama Cohen 🙂 You may know me from my music- as a singer/songwriter from the album “Heartbeat”. Firstly, I want to thank Fay for opening the conversation and asking me to share my thoughts. Secondly, here are some of my thoughts on the current COVID-19 situation.

    “Panic and fear are also contagious.” -Rabbi Moss (Australia).

    Right now, we’re experiencing something that is shaking up a lot of daily lives, routines, social interactions and for many of us, our minds/hearts. While the Coronavirus spreads, so does fear. Which is more dangerous?

    This question is not to downplay the virus, but to truly ask ourselves so we can become aware of our own reactions and give us the ability to understand how others’ reactions are affecting us. Those who suffer from Depression, Anxiety, OCD, Eating Disorders, Paranoia etc. may be really struggling right now. If you fall into any of these (or other) categories that are taking a hit to your mental health, I see you. I’m sorry. I’m sending love. I wish I can make it better.

    One thing that’s helping me, is understanding that “social distancing” from fear and negativity, feeds the collective consciousness of panic. But what if we thought of it differently?

    Social distancing is an act of love! An act of support. Feel it in your heart. Feel how powerful we are, sitting on our couch, knowing we are helping people stay healthy. Stay home out of love. Take precautions because you care about others. Wash your hands because you want to support the health of the world. Let’s flip our view. This virus will bring us closer to ourselves, each other and G-d, if we let it.

    Another thing that’s helping me is recognizing the beautiful space we can cultivate in our lives for so many parts of life that matter but are often overlooked at a time like this. This is a time where we can turn inwards, mentally and physically. We have a forced opportunity (wow, thank G-d for this gift!) to re-learn how to care for ourselves in a modern world where hustle usually overpowers health. We have the chance to remember our favorite hobbies, books, activities, workouts, music that we love where work usually dominates fun. We have the environment to cultivate our character, investing in the people around us and connecting to them without escapism. We have the ability to spend our days making calls we usually are too busy for, writing songs we didn’t have the internal quiet for (yesss), and praying for the well-being of us all and the ultimate redemption. It’s time to spread the love we’ve all been missing. Start with you and let it pass from person to person. This virus is a powerful example of how our actions affect each other and the way the entire world is interrelated. Let’s use it.

    Next time you feel someone’s panic, fear, negativity or desperation, let that remind you to breathe and let it go as quickly as it came. Because everything passes and so will this. ‘The end of the world’ is your chance to restart living in ways you may never had been able to.

    This is an opportunity. Take it for all that it is!

    What else is contagious? Love. Surrender. Happiness. Faith. Spread that around like you know it’ll work because clearly it does 🙂

    It may not be the end of the world but it is the beginning of glorious change, if we let ourselves relax and grow with this life-changing experience.

    Much light, love, and strength,

    Nechama

    Follow me on Instagram and all socials: @NechamaMusic

    My music is available to download or stream on all platforms. Search Nechama Cohen on YouTube to watch my videos.

    I want to talk to all you working moms who are  terrified because your children are home or will soon be home due to school closures. You’ve never been a stay-at-home mom, nor have you ever wanted to be one.

    It’s hard to stay focused on how COVID-19 has altered the world when you’re zoomed in on the details of your own day to day life. Change is coming and change is hard. The word change doesn’t begin to describe what’s going on right now.

    You have lots of thoughts about what’s happening in the world  and those thoughts generate big feelings; feelings you can’t process because they’re coming at you fast and furious!

    H-O-W    A-R-E   Y-O-U   G-O-I-N-G   T-O    G-E-T   T-H-R-O-U-G-H    T-H-I-S?

    First of all, take a deep breath. Okay, now take another one.

    Your body is holding onto the tension and you need to get more oxygen into your system so that you can relax and  think  clearly. Just keep breathing until you notice you’re calmer.

    Good, that’s better.

    You knew COVID-19 was big, but you didn’t realize how big until it affected you personally. Hearing the news reports or reading the latest updates gave you an understanding of its impact but being swept up by a cyclone and hearing about its aftermath are two very different experiences.

    If you feel like you’ve lost control of your life it’s because you have.

    Your feelings are valid.

    Acknowledge them.

    Behind every crisis lies an opportunity. This crisis has taken things away from you but it has also given you something you haven’t had before. It’s an opportunity you’re not going to want to miss.

    Being a stay-at-home mom does not appeal to you. I get it.

    This pandemic is going down in history. It’s going into your children’s personal history books too. They will notice how you respond to this crisis and they will learn a lot about themselves from the way you respond to it.

    They will learn how much time you want to spend with them, how much you enjoy doing things with them, how close you feel to them, how much pleasure it gives you to teach them new things, and how much they mean to you.

    But most importantly, they will learn what kind of relationship you want to have with them.

    Do you remember how much fun it is to cover your hands in fingerpaint and create a multi-color poster of swirls? How about holding an oversized picture book on your lap and talking about all the different ideas you have about what it’s like to live in the jungle or  the sea?

    When Was the last time you felt connected to your children? You come home from work and focus on doing all the tasks that must get done. Things like homework, dinner, laundry, baths and bedtime. There’s lots of pressure to keep things moving along.

    Now things can be different.

    That’s the opportunity you have.

    Be with your children.

    Give them your self.

    Show them they mean something to you.

    Things will return to normal. You’ll return to work. Your kids will go back to school. But things will never be the same again either. You’ll have discovered that you’re a good mom and your kids will discover that they are good kids.

    How’s your breathing now?

     

    (If this sounds impossible, reach out for help. You deserve it.)

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    zissy
    Participant

    I agree with Fay and Nechama insightful and true wisdom, So my message wont go down a route already covered. I believe everyone experiences here will be different with this virus, and like most of life will not have one easy solution. What works for one wont work for another. That being said, Its more natural for us to start feeling fear and anxiety instead of calmness. Truth is this virus shows us that we are not in control. The only person who can help us is Hashem. Here is where our emunah and Bitachon kick in. We Know Every thing Hashem does is for the best. Whether we understand it or not. Not only by a virus. but in all life. How are we certain of anything? Not our partners, not our parents. not our children, health or careers. Nothing is for certain. I know when I’m fearful I relearn what I was taught in Shar Habitachon

    1. Hashem loves me
    2. Hashem is with me where ever I happen to be , and hes always ready to help me.
    3. Hashem is stronger and smarter then everyone in this world He can find solutions to problems that seem impossible to solve
    4. Hashem knows what is best for me even better then I know myself.
    5. Just as he helped me many times in past. He will help me now too.
    6. Nobody can do anything to help /harm me other then Hashem , who has total control over Every thing.
    7. Hashem wants and seeks to do chesed WITH us more then any other special person does .

    These 7 qualities of Hashem enable us to put our trust in Him.

    Prayers, acts of kindness, charity will help keep us focused on getting us through these scary times. Also staying away from the media!! Good Luck, We are all in this together.

     

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    Chavy
    Participant

    In response to nechamamusic's post #9037:

    Wow, beautiful!!!!

    So so true that we have so many positive things that we CAN do and should take advantage of this time (although we would never ask for it).

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    Rifky@roseattache
    Participant

    The Coronavirus is scary. It’s uncharted, unprecedented, and for the most part, incurable for the time being. Throwing around the word “pandemic” doesn’t help either. The first thoughts that come to mind are the derivatives of the word. Pandemonium and epidemic. Both signify chaos.

    Work, school, structure is up in the air.

    But you know what isn’t? Those memes that remind us to

    Call an older relative/neighbor and tell them, “I’m coming over in an hour with groceries, what can I bring specifically?”

    Texting a friend/young mother and checking up on how she’s faring

    Self-Care. Reading, acquiring knowledge, calling friends, taking a bath, doing exercise, brisk walks- especially now with Pesach, there’s the conglomerate of cooking and cleaning- in a sense, we should look at this as timing.

    Stay home and look up- avoid news sites and statuses that exploit the truth. Yes, “things change from one minute to the next,” but since when are you such a news aficionado? Put the phone away; nothing is going to happen amidst your quarantine.

    Eat nourishing foods, not that you should feel sluggish, but cared for and warm.

    The sun will come out soon- literally and figuratively; this is something we are all going through universally, socioeconomically, globally. We are all in this together, and we are all in Yad Hashem. –

    Do your due diligence to preserve you and your family’s health and wellbeing, believe that it will be useful, and “this too shall pass.”

    Just like most of the frenzy happens within the psyche, much of the calm can dwell there as well. Be that positive inner voice, and it should breed onto you full circle.

     

    Stay safe, stay healthy- be well.

    xx, Rifky@roseattache

    Hi, my name is Bonnie Giller. I am a registered dietitian nutritionist, you may have seen my articles on intuitive eating and moving away from the scale! We are in a very difficult time now, and I’ve heard from many people that they are turning to food to cope, and this makes them feel worse! We know that sometimes food can be soothing, and that’s okay. The problem arises when food is the first and only thing you use to manage difficult emotions. I’m sharing with you 4 coping strategies that can help you during this time (and that don’t include food):

     

    1. Deep Breathing: For me, this is number one. Whenever I feel some anxiety coming on, I stop what I am doing, close my eyes and breath in for a count of 4 and breath out for a count of 4. Try it!

     

    1. Meditate: Even if you’ve never meditated before, give it a shot. Download one of many apps to your phone, such as Calm or Headspace, and put on one of the short meditations. It’ll help you calm down in the moment.

     

    1. Journal: Take out a pen and paper (if you don’t have a pretty journal) and allow yourself to write, freeform. No editing – just let your thoughts and feelings float onto the paper. It’s so important to get out of your head and by writing, you are releasing these difficult emotions.

     

    1. Call a Friend: With the new regulations of self-quarantine, curfews and being told to “stay home”, it can get very lonely. If you are feeling alone, pick up the phone and call a friend or loved one. There’s nothing like hearing the voice of someone you care about to help you get through this period. It’s not the same as texting, I promise!! Better yet, Facetime with each other so you can see one another and give each other a virtual hug as well.

    I hope these suggestions are helpful.

    Please note, if you are having trouble coping, please reach out to a therapist or call 911. There is help for you!

    Stay safe and be well.

    Bonnie

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    Fay Brezel
    Admin
    Topic Author

    Someone posted this and it is worth a read….it’s beautiful!!

    Society: What about my plans?!

    God: My plans for you are always better than your own. Don’t worry. I’m going to work this all out for your good.

    Society: We’re not going to get anything done!

    God: That’s the point. You know how you keep spinning your wheels—always working, moving, doing—but never feeling satisfied? I’ve given you permission to stop. I’ve cleared your calendars for you! Your worth isn’t tied to busyness or accomplishment. All you have to do is take care of each other.

    Society: What does this all mean?

    God: It means I’m in control. It means you are human and I am God. It means I’ve given you a wonderful opportunity to be the light in a dark world. It means you are going to learn to rely on me.

    Society: What are we supposed to do when we can’t leave our homes?

    God: Rest. You are always so busy and overwhelmed, crying out to me weary and exhausted. Can’t you use a break from your fast-paced and over-scheduled lives? Go ahead and rest. Pray. Love your families. Be still and spend time with me.

    Society: You mean we’re supposed to stay home with our kids all day, every day?

    God: Yes. And you’re going to be just fine. This time together is a rare gift. The rush of daily life has come to a halt. Play games. Bake cookies. Work on projects you’ve never had the time for. Teach them kindness and grace. Show them how to endure difficult circumstances and steer them toward me.

    Society: We better start hoarding anything we can get our hands on!

    God: Prevention, yes. Precaution, yes. Preparedness, yes. But after that, it’s time to put the needs of others before your own. When you see someone in need, help them. Offer up what you have. Do not worry about tomorrow! Haven’t I always taken care of you? Now, go take care of someone else.

    Society: Why is this happening?

    God: To remind you that I’m in control. To bring your attention back to me. I’m bringing you together as families and neighbors. I’m showing you patience and perseverance. I’m reminding you of your purpose and priorities. Now is the time to learn and teach your children what this life is really about.

    Society: We don’t know who to believe.

    God: Believe in me. Trust me. Ask me for wisdom and I will surely give it.

    Society: We’re scared!

    God: I’ve got this and I’m with you.

    Much like anything else in life, there is a spectrum of reactions when it comes to the Coronavirus.  Some people are ill or misinformed about the disease while others are reading every article that pops up on their whatsapp chats and social media; some feel the government and community officials are being a bit dramatic about all the shutdowns while others fear for their health and lives; some are focusing more on staying sane while navigating the impossible balance of work and at-home childcare; and some are focusing more on stocking up on supplies and maintaining productivity at work.

    Wherever your reaction may land, one thing is certain: we are all impacted by this virus in some way be it economically, academically, emotionally, professionally, spiritually and/or physically.   However we are impacted, we can all use some empowerment, comfort, and reassurance.  The virus may be uncontrollable, but our reactions to it are controllable, and the more we focus on what we can control the stronger and better we feel (and the more equipped we are to handle any stress that comes our way).

    The areas within our control are unique to each of us.  We can focus on different elements of our control such as our mental health, spirituality, and the upkeep of our physical health.  Prayer, journaling, movement, comedy, dance, silliness, meditation, romantic at-home dates, these are just some of many actions that we can take that are not only in our control, they energize us, keep us inspired and in high spirits, and keep us as healthy (in every way) as possible.

    Here is a powerful excerpt by C.S. Lewis that was shared with me when I was caught in my own moment of panic that helped put in perspective the fact that our human frailty and vulnerability isn’t new and that focusing on what we can control and what is important to us is the most important reaction of all.

    C.S. Lewis  “On Living in an Atomic Age” (1948):

    “In one way we think a great deal too much of the atomic bomb.  ‘How are we to live in an atomic age?’  I am tempted to reply: ‘Why, as you would have lived in the sixteenth century when the plague visited London almost every year…or indeed, as you are already living in an age of cancer, an age of syphilis, an age of paralysis, an age of air raids, an age of railway accidents, an age of motor accidents.’

    In other words, do nut let us begin by exaggerating the novelty of our situation. Believe me, dear sir or madam, you and all whom you love were already sentenced to death before the atomic bomb was invented: and quite a high percentage of us were going to die in unpleasant ways.  We had, indeed, one very great advantage over our ancestors – anesthetics; but we have that still.  It is perfectly ridiculous to go about whimpering and drawing long faces because the scientists have added one more chance of painful and premature death to a world which already bristled with such chances and in which death itself was not a chance at all, but a certainty.

    This is the first point to be made: and the first action to be taken is to pull ourselves together.  If we are all going to be destroyed by an atomic bomb, let that bomb when it comes find us doing sensible and human things – praying, working, teaching, reading, listening to music, bathing the children, playing tennis…They may break our bodies (a microbe can do that) but they need not dominate our minds.”

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    avacad0
    Participant

    Here’s something that I wrote, hope it gives others some strength to go on:

     

    I sit here in a daze

    My feelings are frozen, my eyes have a glaze

    In a world where success is the game

    Everyone’s aspiring for fortune and fame

    The comings and goings without the blink of an eye

    No time to waste not even for a yawn or a sigh

    Suddenly the world silent as a grave

    The rich the poor the weak and the brave

    Everyone so vulnerable, full of fright

    Not knowing what will be the next day or night

    A tine seed, a virus so small

    Wreaking havoc on one and all

    I walk down the street

    My heart is so heavy and I admit defeat

    Hashem my father please I pray

    Grant us reprieve, send sunshine our way

    We are so battered and so torn

    So sad and so forlorn

    There’s such despondency in the air

    Anxiety and panic everywhere

    Schools are shut, the gates are drawn

    I pass by empty shuls and I cry and mourn

    The pre yom tov spirit is gone to the west

    So much heartache for one to digest

    People huddled their eyes downcast

    Barely nodding scurrying by so fast

    Is this really happening, I look in disbelief?

    Year 2020 and a tiny thing can cause such grief?

    It is a message from the one above

    Out of his infinite kindness, compassion and love

    “My children you need to take a moment or two

    To stop and think of others too

    Slow down and look out there

    So many are in so much despair

    Look out for those down and under

    Aching and bleeding, torn asunder

    It may be your neighbor, friend or maybe some other

    A child, sister or it may be  your brother

    They may smile and look “just so”

    But it is just a cover up, just a show

    They are in enormous pain

    Shackled with a rope, bound by a heavy chain

    They are right besides you, no need to search for long

    Trying so hard amidst their loneliness to belong”

    Let us our fellow man embrace

    Respect them no matter their way of life or race

    Let us sprinkle kindness everywhere

    Nourish others with love and care

    Not judge nor condemn

    View everyone like a unique gem

    And Hashem will have mercy on his nation

    And bring us speedily our salvation!

     

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    Chavy
    Participant

    How are people dealing with the loneliness due to the virus?

    I mean, I have my family, but it’s still lonely. I’m dreading Pesach and these long shabbosim that are so long. I have things to read, but how much can one read and it’s just like “enough” time on Shabbos.

    My parents are also reading the news which is making me more stressed. Yes, I told them to limit it, but they try here and there, but they just feel the need to check it. They claim they have Emunah, but they feel the need to check it to see what’s happening. Then they briefly note about the stock market and how everyone is affected money-wise. Ya, it’s just how my family is.

    Any suggestions? I keep telling my father that he doesn’t really have Emunah, but he says he needs to be informed… But I wonder How much he needs to be informed. I know it’s a sense of control, but it’s annoying and it affects me.

    I’m just agitated and stressed now…

    I would love to read your validation and tips..

    In response to Chavy's post #9058:

    Chavy,

    This is a huge challenge during the state’s lock-down and social distance regulations. Despite the oft repeated mantra, “We’re all in this together” it  doesn’t feel that way, we feel very alone. This is even truer if you’re living with others whose coping mechanisms are in conflict with your own.

    You probably saw that video clip of an Italian neighborhood whose novel idea of  stepping  onto their porches to play their instruments or listen to those who were playing, brought people out of seclusion. These folks realized that music brings people together and one person’s idea brought more than one neighborhood together. It brought the whole world together. I say that because everyone who saw the clip was moved by the power of connection and  human spirit despite the constraints of distance.

    Chavy, think creatively. What can you do to gain a sense of belonging? Can you think of anyone who might want to partner with you to come up with a novel way to forge a connection with others?  You might feel alone but I can assure you that you are not alone. Everyone is struggling with something even if it’s not the same struggle as yours. Everyone needs support and validation. So, when we say “we’re all in this together”, it’s true. We’re all in it, now let’s figure out the together part.

     

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    avacad0
    Participant

    It is a very trying time for all of us. I am going crazy sitting home with my children. Trying very hard to stay calm amidst the storm. Hope I can pass this test…..One day we will look back and speak about this era the way we refer to September 11 and wonder how we coped. But like they say “thus too shall pass” the question is how we pass it. And that is where the ultimate challenge lies.

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