2020 Women's Community Project: Curative Calm
by Autumn Purdy
Carving out deliberate bouts of stillness has been my greatest reprieve during this pandemic.Prone to anxiety and worry on a good day, the looming peril of COVID-19 has increased my sensitive, empathic nature to exhaustive levels, requiring me to increase therapeutic models in rapid succession.
Insistent on daily self-care, what I have found to be the most potent elixir to my anxiousness in an unpredictable time is the implementation of a devout practice centered on facing the uncertainties that arouse my sensibilities by simply stopping, slowing down my breath, and focusing on tangible, present joys: the warmth of a teacup between my pale hands, taking pleasure in a handwritten note from a lifelong friend, the glorious sight of a garden of vibrant wildflowers my kids planted by the fence.
On more challenging days, of which there have been plenty over the last six months when the detrimental level of overwhelming nervosity has threatened to dent and destroy my resolute shield, I take to the carpeted floor with temperate immediacy, close my eyes, and sound my mantra in raspy whispers, “Breathe in tranquility. Breathe out the anxiety.”
Once I’m resting in a peaceful state, I shed a release of salty tears and fight the war of mind-made fears by concentrating on the here and now. Hands resting on my chest and above my abdomen, I can sense the connection between the drumming of my heart and the rise of my mother-soft belly. The soothing cadence of my body’s pace is an aid and catalyst to the reclamation of my racing thoughts and the resetting of my erratic heartbeat. I maintain the gentle flow by calling upon concrete moments of gratitude: a string of cooler days marking the changing of seasons, the secure roof above my head, an attentive spouse, happy kids, all my basic needs, met.
Grounded and calm, I rise and start anew. My plan to carry on is based on attaining intentional choices and finding the silver linings woven through the tapestry of a pandemic: the chance to read, write, and create at an impressive rate; making note of the rising sun and being astounded by the star-filled nights; daily walks along a tree-lined path and bathing beneath the forest light; speaking love and accepting its gifts in return; starting each day with a newfound appreciation and the will to actively seek joy; and emerging forth refreshed, reformed, restored, and healed.
Autumn Purdy is a voracious consumer of the written word. When not reading or writing, she’s happiest among the trees and wildflowers, with a camera around her neck and beloved family by her side. She holds a B.A. in English from St. Vincent College in Latrobe, PA, and is a Reviews Editor for Literary Mama.