Take a moment to slow down, breath deeply, and enter into a state of quiet. This is a good way to deal with the stress and anxiety that can come in dealing with the impact of living in a pandemic. Slowing down and being reflective is also a good way to connect with God’s Spirit.
Many people find activity to be a good way to destress. Going for a run, a bike ride, bouncing on a trampoline, or some other form of physical activity helps you to feel better. It stimulates the brain in helpful ways. Some people find more reflective, quiet activity helpful as well.
This is where my photography comes in. It’s a way for me to immerse myself in the environment and step outside of my particular concerns at the time. This type of openness is sometimes referred to as having a beginner’s mind. It means simply being open to what presents itself to me at the moment, with no presuppositions or expectations. It’s a completely receptive stance.
Sometimes in prayer I will use an image to center myself, much like using an icon. Fall images are particularly appropriate these days, and I use my fall images in this way. I’m drawn in by the color, the shapes, the light. Immersing myself in these images first engenders a sense of gratitude and wonder at the beautiful complexity of it all, realizing that I am a part of this beautiful, complex universe. This focusing helps me ease into an awareness of the divine presence that is in and through all of creation.
“It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to your name, O Most High; to declare your steadfast love in the morning, and your faithfulness by night.” (Psalm 92:1-2)