THE NATION IS GRIEVING

I happened to see Deepak Chopra on a news show this morning. He was bring interviewed about COVID and said that he believes the nation is grieving. So startled, I stopped walking to listen to the rest of what he had to say about that. I know about grief and grieving, have had my fair share, but it never occurred to me that the nation is grieving. I thought, dissolving, having a collective nervous breakdown, using violence as a coping mechanism, and being submissive trying to survive fear itself, but not grieving. Yes, I thought, that’s right, the nation is grieving. It is going through all of the stages of grief, denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. In other dire situations, the stages of grief aren’t linear, and they can overlap. The nation is grieving for itself, no matter what you believe, no one is getting what they want, no one. Before I saw that news clip, I was going to write about despair, and how difficult it is and has been these past months, how in the beginning, we thought it would be over maybe not sooner but for sure later. No one could imagine being quarantined for six...

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DURING THE TIME OF CORONA VIRUS

People are scared, anxious, depressed, feel helpless, feel hopeless. It’s all true. Most of us have been on some type of quarantine for months. We’ve learned to wear masks and talk, to stay six feet away from everyone we’re not living with, and to use tubs of hand sanitizer along with washing our hands frequently. We scour stores looking for toilet paper and paper towels, a box of Kleenex is a real score. We didn’t sign up for this, nor did wet see this coming. We couldn’t have imagined the nightmare we’re living through, but like all nightmares, no matter how horrible they are, eventually they are over, we put them away and try not to look back. We go on, shaken up, having learned a new way to live, learning things about ourselves we didn’t know before we were called to courage, hope, faith, and a whole lot of grit to get from the first announcement of a world pandemic to where we are today. Instead of reading a Steven King novel that scares us witless, we feel like we’re inside of a Steven King novel, unable to find our way back out of those pages of life that...

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ANXIETY IN THE AGE OF CORONAVIRUS

On December 10, 2009, the CDC reported an estimated 50 million Americans or 1 in 6 people had been infected with the 2009 A H1N1 Virus, and 10,000 Americans had died, by which time the vaccine was beginning to be widely distributed to the general public by several states. H1N1, also called the Swine flu, was the last time the world had a pandemic. It began in the spring of 2009. Today we have a vaccination to help protect us against H1N1. Maybe you're wondering why I'm talking about the Swine flu when I'm supposed to be writing about the Coronavirus. I am because, at the time of the Swine flu, I purchased one box of Tamiflu for every member of my family. I was so anxious I felt like I was crawling out of my skin. I alternated between planning my funeral (bad) or one of my children or grandchildren's funerals (much worse). The tab for Tamiflu for all was considerably higher than a luxurious weekend at a ski resort. I didn't care. I couldn't bear the thought of losing a loved one. Never mind that, had anyone developed the Swine flu, their doctor would have prescribed Tamiflu for...

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WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU DON’T KNOW YOURSELF

Very often you look to others, your friends, family, coworkers to see how you’re doing. Are you good enough? Do you fit in? Are you going to continue to rise up whatever ladder you’re looking at, professional or personal? You’re born like a plant seeking the light. If the plant is placed in a dark corner it will twist itself to try to grow toward the light. If a person, from a very early age, realizes what gets them love and attention, they will repeat those attitudes, beliefs, what they say or do, to continue getting love from others. However, you were already born a person, and maybe your family of origin doesn’t understand that. Perhaps they believe it’s their job to turn you into a person, not to be curious about who you are and to guide you into adulthood and independence as yourself, who you were when you were born. You begin wearing a mask you believe is you. The problem is that you have to keep changing masks depending on the other people you’re around and what expectations they have of you. Since you haven’t internalized a solid sense of self that allows you to put on...

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IS IT WORTH FIGHTING OVER?

Nothing is worth fighting over. Fighting has zero sum positive attributes. If you feel angry that means you did or didn’t notice you were hurt or afraid or both before you got angry. Anger is a “masking” emotion and there’s always something behind it. Imagine primitive man parting the tall grass and coming face to face with a tiger. If he feels his fear he’s likely to become paralyzed by it just before he becomes a satisfying tiger lunch. If he moves  quickly past the fear so it doesn’t even register (until later) and finds a way to fight he has just gotten a nice rush of adrenaline that will allow him to survive (since he probably can’t run away fast enough). In today’s world anger is a pretty useless emotion although there are some times when anger helps; your boss has passed you over for a raise three times and you’re afraid you’re going to lose your job if you bring it up to her. Getting angry and then controlling the anger will likely allow you to be assertive and self-promoting in a one on one meeting with her where she feels your energy, which isn’t threatening since it’s...

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ANXIETY

When you were a kid did you ever suddenly wonder how your body was breathing then suddenly feel your chest tighten and think that maybe you couldn't or wouldn't keep breathing? O.K. I was considered strange by my brothers, I did and you didn't, but it does illustrate a point I'd like to make. The point being that we do so many things naturally until we begin to think about it. Now thinking, most of the time, is a good thing. But thinking about whether or not you have cancer or whether or not you can sleep or whether or not you can breathe, only increases anxiety and that's what happens in a panic attack. Something triggers the attack and it could be anything. Let's say your parents got a divorce when you were a kid and you didn't know who you were going to live with, whether or not it was your fault, whether or not your parents were still going to love you and so on. Now, grow yourself up about thirty years and begin having a hard time at work, your boss is too tough on you, making new demands on you, you're not sure whether or...

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