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  • Martha Engeman

Fear, Vanilla and the Coronavirus

Have you ever had those times when you worry about something that you have absolutely no control over? I think we can all relate to that. Despite years of meditation and practicing “going with the flow”, I still have those times when irrational fears take over and saturate my mental bandwidth. Case in point, the big bottles of vanilla that I recently brought back from my Mexican vacation.

The bottles were packed deep in my daughter’s suitcase that was 4 pounds overweight when I checked in at the airport. I had the choice to pay a $75 fee for the excess weight, or redistribute the weight to another suitcase. I knew the bottles of vanilla were heavy, so I dug deep into the suitcase, found them and repacked them in the other suitcase.


It took time, and I didn’t want to keep the line waiting, so I put them in the top of the suitcase and watched it go off on the conveyor belt. Then I started to worry. Why didn’t I pack them deeper? What if they exploded and my entire suitcase was covered in vanilla? I am embarrassed to say that I spent a lot of time thinking about that vanilla, praying it was ok, surrounding it in light—you get the drift. Fortunately, the vanilla came through with flying colors and all my fears were for naught.


Uncertainty feeds fear. The mind can go wild when things are uncertain, creating all kinds of “what if” scenarios that end up feeding on each other. One of the biggest causes of uncertainty and fear right now is the Coronavirus. The news, which thrives on drama, is documenting it incessantly. While it is important to take precautions and follow the recommendations of medical personnel and scientists, widespread fear and panic will make the situation much worse than it needs to be.We need to take a collective big breath, wash our hands, and move through our days.


Here are just a few things we can do right now about the Coronavirus:

1) Take precautions as necessary- Wash your hands, listen to the experts and follow their advice.

2) Help those who need it- The elderly are especially vulnerable to the epidemic. Go grocery shopping for them, call them, do errands that they need to have done.

3) Share goods and resources- If you have been in grocery stores recently, you know there has been a run on everything. I bet some people have enough toilet paper to last at least a year. Share with your neighbors or with people who need supplies.

4) Buy gift certificates for services, for restaurants or for travel- Entertainers, restaurant workers, and those in the service and travel industries are being especially hard hit by this epidemic. Buying a gift certificate to use later will give the businesses needed cash. If you do use services or go out to eat, tip well. It will make a huge difference.

5) Have faith and send out positive energy- As with anything in life, this too will pass. Have faith, pray and send love and light to all.


In my meditation, I am aware of bands of energy around the earth. The closest band right now is filled with fear. The more we move in fear, the more we strengthen it. Fear creates a deep fog that makes it hard to see a way to a solution. But there are other bands that are filled with love and light. When we connect with that energy and consciously bring it into our life, we can help assuage the fear. We can shine a light to penetrate the fog of fear and move forward, one step at a time toward a solution.

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