It’s strange to be living during a period of unprecedented challenging times. Hopefully soon we will be looking back and processing this experience in retrospect. Until then, pausing periodically to realize what we’ve learned, or are learning along the way, may provide some valuable lessons. When I’ve experienced various “storms” throughout my life, it has taken a lot of courage to simply move through the motions of my days. It isn’t until the storm has passed that I can truly understand how I was affected by the experience of what I was going through. Having now settled into a few months of living through a pandemic, I took some time to think through what I’ve learned thus far. It’s startling to realize all that we’ve gone through individually and collectively. Yet, all of our experiences are unique to each one of us. How are you feeling and processing your emotions during this time? Have you taken a time out to get in touch with what you are experiencing, or have experienced? I came up with three things that I hope transcend from my home and provide a little bit of hope into yours. 1.Kindness matters. Throughout this entire experience, the kindness of others is what has helped me to stay positive and hopeful. Having others reach out to simply share (or show in some way) that they care about me, my well-being, or that of my family, is truly what has got me out of bed and up in the morning. Kindness, right now, likely more than ever before, truly matters. 2. People respond to fear differently. We are all feeling some level of fear, yet the way in which it shows up is entirely unique to each and everyone of us. Some people may get angry, others sad. Fear might immobilize some while it can motivate others. It is important not only to recognize that the people in your life may react very differently than you do, but it is also important to honor that. Sometimes we react or respond to life’s circumstances without being able to pinpoint why we are acting in a certain way. Uncovering if our thoughts, moods, or emotions are due to an underlying fear can be a helpful practice to better understanding your own motives. Taking this a step further and acknowledging the fear others may be experiencing can help you to see the commonality, even in our differences. 3. All emotions are OK and impermanent. The roller coaster ride that this pandemic has taken us all on may have your emotions shifting as quickly the Wild Thing at Valley Fair. With the ups, downs and turns in-between, it is normal for your emotions to follow similar suit. If your emotions are feeling anything but steady, I think you are very likely in the majority right now. What brings me some relief is knowing that every emotion I feel and experience is impermanent. There may be moments of peace and calm, followed by intense inner turmoil. This experience may bring up emotions you have never even felt before, changing by the moment. It’s OK to feel into your emotions and it’s also OK to set them aside (when too strong) and do something that takes your mind off of what you are feeling. It’s normal to feel sad, lonely and scared. It’s also normal to feel joy, peace, and well-being. Whatever you are feeling is OK. Honor where you are today, tomorrow, and every day. Respect that everyone around you is going to react in their own, unique way. Spread kindness where and when you can.