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Natural Awakenings Austin

In This Issue: May 2020

May 01, 2020 12:17PM ● By Cat Carrel

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Lovingkindness For All

As we navigate our way through unknown waters, many of us wonder if the world will ever be the same, or “normal” again. Feelings of anxiety and grief about what was and what will be may come up; or we might feel resentful, angry and frustrated at the inconveniences of living in a pandemic reality.

This is all normal, and although it might seem overwhelming, all feelings are temporary, and they always change. We can ease the weight of our feelings by knowing that everyone is experiencing what we are, and we all desire the same things in life: we want to be happy, healthy, safe and free from suffering.

One way to observe this is to practice lovingkindness—a Buddhist concept that acknowledges everything is interconnected, and as such, our happiness directly or indirectly affects others’ happiness. Even when contemplating our enemies, we note that if they are happy, they are less likely to engage in behavior that would be detrimental to others, so we wish them lovingkindness as well.

Of course, there are people who have a distorted view of what constitutes happiness, that is, some tie it to money, power or looking good. This is a very superficial view of happiness and is not rooted in the true nature of being happy.

We know that even in societies that have very little, there are truly happy people. In these societies, there is a strong sense of community and interconnectedness, gratitude and compassion, and a lack of worry, regret and blame. These are qualities that have no attachment to money, things or outcomes, but can be cultivated through the practice of lovingkindness.

So how can we experience happiness at a time when it is hard to know what tomorrow will bring? Start a gratitude journal. Meditate on lovingkindness. Stay in the present moment. Love your family and friends. And realize that this too, shall pass.

Healing ourselves and our planet during the existential catastrophies of pandemic and climate change can still happen even amidst widespread chaos. The human body (and the Earth) have an amazing ability to heal. In this month's Natural Awakenings, April Thompson explores how diet and lifestyle can heal autoimmune disease in Healing the Immune System: Autoimmune Breakthroughs Offer New Hope. Diseases such as multiple sclerosis, lupis and rheumatoid arthritis can all be improved or healed completely by making lifestyle changes.

With COVID-19 so prominent in our lives right now, some worry about their pets. In Coronavirus Pet Safety: Facts and Tips for Dog and Cat Owners, Texas veterinarian Shawn Messonnier takes us through the precautions and protocols we must take when having pets share spaces with COVID-19 patients.  

Also this month, we spotlight a collaborative effort in Austin to support healthcare workers. You won't want to miss Sheila Julson's article, Helping the Helpers, and what the Texas COVID-19 Collaborative is doing to bring much needed supplies and resources to Central Texas healthcare workers on the front lines.  

Stay well, dear readers.

Cat Carrel, Publisher

 

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