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Health Passes to Stillness


Are you interested in opening doors to clarity and deeper levels of fulfillment? In stillness, you will find the keys.

Over the last week, I read Ryan Holiday’s book, Stillness Is The Key. The title captures the book's powerful and simple message. Through countless historical, philosophical, and spiritual examples, Holiday demonstrates that the purpose we seek in life is available when we are willing to listen to that deep calling inside ourselves.

To hear the words of our internal voices, we must eliminate distractions, experience boredom, and open our hearts.

As new delta variants of the coronavirus spread, it's challenging to find the stillness or peace of mind that Holiday and others stress as critical to our mental health. In Europe and throughout the world, including Antigua and Barbuda, governments require that people carry health passes into restaurants, bars, gyms, and workplaces. The push for vaccines is stronger than your breath underneath that face mask!

Stillness is essential to identifying the implications of health passes beyond the attempts to limiting the spread of COVID-19.

It is not easy to accept getting cut off from your daily activities because of declining to receive an injection. This week we saw images and videos of worldwide protests with people unwilling to accept the health pass mandates. Some view the new protocols as a violation of their religious, personal, or fundamental human rights.

Wherever we look, officials are trying to create solutions to the economic and social concerns of the pandemic.

We have new policies to limit COVID exposure among students, staff, and faculty at the university where I teach. Advisors can use their discretion about whether to hold in-person or online appointments with students. Before arriving on campus, everyone completes an online questionnaire that records vaccination status and their last negative test date.

How can you manage the anxiety inherent to the mentioning of the word coronavirus? You must get still.

My multiple references to stillness in this post indicate the importance of engaging in activities that strengthen our minds, bodies, and spirits. This wholistic stillness is available when we experience serenity through meditation, prayer, sleep, exercise, reading books, or by embracing the boredom that inevitably surfaces in our lives. We do not need to fill every appointment opening on our calendars.

Stillness is about bringing our whole selves to the present moment.

Holiday writes that our most creative ideas are accessible in the gaps between the activities of our daily schedules. Addictions to social media have us constantly seeking more and failing to realize that who we are and what we have is enough. Yes, we should continue to improve ourselves, but let’s do that from genuine internal perspectives.

You cannot accurately assess yourself by spending more time than necessary on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, or LinkedIn.

I wish that I had a magic wand to rid the planet of the pandemic. Unfortunately, like racism, sexism, ageism, and other isms that plague our society from equipping all people with the tools to live in their greatness, the coronavirus is not going anywhere anytime soon. It may be with us in some capacity for the rest of our lives.

We must learn how to thrive despite the virus and other forms of chaos that surround us.

Do you struggle with finding time for stillness? I understand. No, I overstand this challenge!

Sitting still for someone like myself who is often working or doing something is not easy. I struggled this week to relax on my son's birthday and Antigua's emancipation holiday. Those two days felt awkward without one work or business-related task on my schedule.


Classes begin next week. I have syllabi to finalize. There are E-learning courses that I want to design and teach. My responsibilities also include leading the campus's peer mentor program and men's cave mentoring initiative.

Every semester begins with a workload that piles high on my desk and in the virtual clouds.

Regardless of our packed schedules, let's make an appointment to meet with the stillness that is necessary to think about what matters most in life. You, me, we need silence to produce our best work and to shine for our families.

Check out my virtual course design options if you need some creative resources to add to your academic programs. Together, we can create learning options for your students that support stillness, creative thinking, and the application of ideas that meet the test standards of the classroom and the streets.

But, Vernon, I don’t need course design services at this time.

You can also support my body of work and your students by picking up my latest book, Dear Brother: 82 Poems to Guide Your Journey to Healthy Black Masculinity. This resource includes essays and poetry to help young men of color develop positive self-awareness.


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