Moving Forward in Our New Abnormal
I bid bright and buoyant summer greetings to our OHI community. As the season fully opens in all of its splendor, the world is beginning to open up as well. People are getting out more and more each day, as some states are relaxing their Covid-19 restrictions. And, yet we are still struggling to make sense of the future before us.
As I write this, the CDC is reporting that Covid-19 cases and deaths have been in a steady decline since January. They also report that 48% of adults in the U.S. have received both doses of the vaccine, and 60% have received one dose. The goal of herd immunity is stated to be 70% of the population with antibodies from either the vaccine or from having recovered from the infection, which might be achieved over the summer. And, here at OHI, we now have the ability to conduct Covid-19 testing in-house which means we can test our entire on-campus community three times per week, get results within hours, and if everyone tests negatively our guests will not have to wear masks (except when receiving a massage or colonic). Our staff will continue to wear masks.
You may recall from our January newsletter, how we looked at two ways of protecting ourselves during our current circumstances and beyond by using Situational Awareness and Self-Care. In the spring issue I expanded on how we can remain safe by keeping mentally and physically healthy by staying socially connected, and doing so by utilizing Safety Bubbles. In this issue, I want to address how we can intelligently and safely move forward into our new abnormal.
How to Move Forward in the Era of Covid-19
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” 2 Corinthians 5:17
I share this Bible verse with you because we are indeed entering a new era, but there is no need for us to do so in fear. There are several ways you can cope successfully. I will share four tactics for moving forward in this article.
1. Move Forward with Purpose. I have written about this before because it is key to living a meaningful life. The first step is to stay focused on your objectives and intentions – your purpose. Covid-19 is just an obstacle, don’t let it throw you off course. Move forward without fear which can shut you down, and damage your health. Next, ask yourself, “What can I do today to move toward my goal?” Visualization is a great way to stay focused on your purpose. Imagine seeing yourself reaching your dream. The best way is to practice mindfulness which I will discuss below.
Rediscovering and working on your purpose awakens the spirit within you. Find your purpose by asking these guiding questions: “What inspires me?”, “What gives me hope?”, “What gives me joy?”, and “What touches and heals my heart?”
Sure, Covid-19 is a problem, but other than practicing your safety techniques, it is one that is out of your hands. Identify the issues you do have control over, and work on those. It would be wonderful if everyone followed the safest guidelines for bringing the world back to normal, but the best we can do is to live them ourselves, or as Mahatma Gandhi observed, “Be the change you want to see.”
2. Practice Mindfulness to Stay Focused on your Purpose. Mindfulness is about living in the here and now, releasing the past, and allowing the future to stay in the future. There’s an old saying, “Wherever you are – be all there.” In other words, be in the present and live that moment fully even if it’s a simple task. Being mindful eliminates fear, anger, depression and anxiety while opening the door to peace and happiness.
Here are some techniques for practicing mindfulness:
- Focus on your breathing without thinking of anything else, if your mind wanders come back to your breathing.
- Focus on a particular object such as the pen on your desk or the leaf on a plant, if your mind wanders come back to the object.
- Practice body scanning. Mentally visit each part of your body from head to toe and pay attention to how it feels. Relax and release any tension before moving on to the next part.
- Pay attention to whatever you are doing without allowing thoughts to go elsewhere. For example, when washing your hands observe the feel of the soap, and the warmth of the water.
- Instead of doing common activities by rote, such as driving, eating, or showering focus on the activity itself.
- Take your shoes off and feel the ground.
- Practice listening to people instead of thinking about what you want to say. Mindful conversation is giving someone your full relaxed attention.
Don’t judge yourself for where your thoughts may go, just bring them back to the present.
3.Cultivate Your Critical Thinking Skills. In our new abnormal it is becoming more and more important for us to validate information. Critical thinking means you make a judgment call after examining and evaluating the information you have received. It means testing it, applying scientific methods, and then interpreting it.
“Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all; hold on to what is good, reject every kind of evil.” 1 Thessalonians 5:20-22
If a story in the news makes you frightened, angry, anxious or depressed, your emotions are a signal that someone might be manipulating you, and that you might want to investigate further. If someone tells you something that triggers your emotions, here are some key questions you should ask: “Will you be more specific?”, “Can you give me more details?”, “Can you show me an example or give me a demonstration?”, “How can I verify that?”, “Why is this a problem?”, “What is your proof?”, “Is your evidence based on scientific method or is it anecdotal?”, and “Can this situation or condition be duplicated or is it coincidental?”
When you hear something that raises a doubt in your mind, resort to logic. Ask yourself if all the premises are true. Premises are the reasons from which a conclusion is drawn. When you are presented with an argument, make sure you aren’t being distracted or confused with logical or rhetorical fallacies.
Thinking critically also means questioning the purpose, the goals, and the objectives of the source of the information. Some questions to ask are, “Who funded this study or research?” or “Who gains the most from this issue?” The bottom line is that you must decide what to believe.
“In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.” Psalm 4:8
Here at OHI, we prefer a reserved approach to safety. Many of our guests have health opportunities they have overcome or are in the process of handling. For this reason we recommend taking the greatest cautions: continuing to mask, social distancing, and handwashing.
Being cautious doesn’t mean staying home. Experts are recommending outdoor activities as long as social distancing can be maintained; such as going to the beach where you can spread out. The CDC says, “Vaccinated individuals can gather indoors, without masks or social distancing, with other vaccinated people.” (OHI does not promote or discourage vaccine use).
4. Come to OHI. One of the best ways to move forward is to visit OHI. We are constantly improving the cleanliness and sanitation of our facilities. We are your home-away-from-home safety bubble. And, we have taken every conceivable precaution to provide a safe and sacred environment for our community.
Refreshing your OHI training will enable you to move forward by positively influencing the state of your health. You will rediscover the body, mind, and spirit connection while using your positive thoughts and emotions to promote healing and good health.
Schedule a visit to OHI where you can revive and renew your purpose, practice mindfulness, and cultivate your critical thinking skills – all while reconnecting with the special friends who understand you and your goals like no one else. Because OHI is STILL the safest place you can be outside of your home.
Wishing you health and wellness in this blessed Summer season.
Yours in prayer,
Robert P. Nees, Jr.
Senior Pastor and Chairman
Optimum Health Institute of San Diego and Austin