Machen MacDonald: Enduring COVID-19 and beyond |

Machen MacDonald: Enduring COVID-19 and beyond

Machen MacDonald

California has been under shelter in place for just about two months since March 19. There are rumblings of a light at the end of this wonky tunnel as restrictions are lifted. Much has obviously changed on the outside. What about the inside?

Have you found your inner strength? Are you making the most of each day as Bill Murry’s character eventually did in the movie “Groundhog Day?” The Roman emperor and Stoic philosopher Marcus Aurelius pointed out, “You have the power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.”

The last two months has been a unique opportunity to find and build mental and emotional strength by going to the G.Y.M (Guide Your Mind) each day. Aurelius also stated, “Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.” In this case the G.Y.M. can also mean Guard Your Mind. Once a thought, concept or vision, gets in, it can be hard to get it out. Be the ultimate guardian of what you let in.
Much is being written about how having and adhering to a daily routine, during times like these, provides a greater sense of calm, certainty, creativity and confidence.

Here is a five-step routine to become the ultimate guardian of your mind and wellbeing:

Center Yourself

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Find your way to be more present for greater lengths of time throughout your day. Easier said than done. Here are eight ways you can achieve centering yourself. Apply the ones that resonate most for you.

Breathe – Six deep breaths in and out with eyes closed calms the nervous system. Do this often throughout the day.

Exercise – Gets the blood and oxygen flowing and the many bodily systems activated. Do what’s right for you at your current levels of fitness. Just move.

Meditate – Silence the chatter. Focus.

Pray – Activate your faith.

Read – Focus and guide your mind to that with which you want it filled.

Affirmations – Be mindful of who you are and the part of you to bring forward in each segment of your day. State it as an “I am___” statement.

Nature – It’s bigger than all of us. Hug a tree while standing barefoot and connect with Mother Earth. There is power beyond measure in doing so. Don’t ridicule it, relinquish to it. Get out there.

Gratitude – The quickest way to redirect our mindset and heart is be being thankful for what we do have and feeling the blessings that are bestowed upon us.

Organize Yourself

Have a system that helps you stay on T.O.P. of your life and activities. It can be an online application of which there are many. It can be a planner. Heck, it can be on a yellow pad or post it notes. Have something ubiquitous that can help you capture the progress and perpetuate the success of your life.

Track your past – Journal your learnings, accomplishments and challenges each day.

Organize your present period – Gather what you need to do what needs to get done. Block away the rest.

Plan your future – It’s important to be present and we all need a compelling future to which we can look forward.

Visualize what you want

This is at the heart of guiding your mind. Focus on what you do want. Worry is focusing on what you don’t want. What we think about expands. Energy flows to where our focus and intentions go. Get clear on what you really want. Hold it in your heart and mind and follow your plan and the impulses that come about as a result.

Identify the next best actions

Time exists so we don’t have to do everything at once. In “Groundhog Day,” Phil Connors didn’t go from playing chopsticks to jammin’ out on the piano overnight. It took time filled with practice and discipline. Each practice session got him closer to a desired level of proficiency. Check in with your vision from above and identify what actions, habits, routines, and learnings are required to bring about the vision you hold for yourself. Organize them into your T.O.P. system from above.

Do it

Once you have identified your next best actions … do them in the time allotted. And do these five steps throughout each day and get your life back on point.

Much in our lives has changed quickly. For many, the events of late are traumatic in that what is perceived to be negative events have happened faster than one can effectively process. As Aurelius tells us, “The universe is change; our life is what our thoughts make it.” Be the ultimate guardian of your own life and rethink what this time means to you.

Make it up, make it fun, and get it done!

Machen P. MacDonald, CPCC, CCSC is a certified life and business coach with ProBrilliance Leadership Institute in Grass Valley. He can be reached at and 530-273-8000

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