Hold on to what Matters (as herd immunity approaches)
“Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror. Just keep going. No feeling is final.” — Rainer Maria Rilke
The pandemic has taken many of us to our raggedy edge.
I’ve spoken with and listened to thousands of people across this country over the last 14 months and here are some practices I’ve learned or re-learned:
- The pandemic hit us all at the same time but hit us all uniquely-we can never know the full experience of another person. If we can treat others from a huge well of compassion and kindness, even if they are not at their best, we can be at our best and play an outsized role in promoting wellbeing all around.
- Almost every person I’ve spoken to is doing better than they expected. We are much stronger than we think we are.** **If you are having a hard time, suffering and not able to do what you want to do, feel how you want to feel or are consumed with negative, anxious thoughts, please get help. Crisis line or 24 hour free hotline for anyone (or loved one) facing mental health or substance use disorders.
- Even for those who “have not had it so bad” this last 14 months have been difficult, by bearing witness to others suffering or by not feeling entitled to have big feelings and stuffing them down. Thinking we don’t “have a right” to feel is corrosive. If we “stuff,” the emotions get expressed, often sideways, especially through self-defeating behaviors. Naming feelings helps create a handle for them.
- The best way I know through protracted difficulty is to focus on bedrock behaviors. Whatever you can do to self-regulate your basic human needs and not be in civil war with yourself, the better you and everyone around you will be. We need the space to sleep eat, move, metabolize feelings, and more. Bedrock behaviors cannot be optional.
We are approaching herd immunity. We can re-imagine our future. My sincerest hope for you is that you get really good at staying focused on what’ matters.
A habit cannot be tossed out the window; it must be coaxed down the stairs a step at a time. -Mark Twain
Rest in Peace Paul Tschudi
Paul Tschudi was an important colleague and friend and was a part of The School of Wellness. He spent his entire adult life working with those experiencing grief and loss. We did workshops together for military family members who survived losses. He had a huge, generous heart, was consistently kind and he was hilarious. I spent a beautiful evening with him and other friends three days before he died in a tragic house fire. At that gathering, he gave me a book, “Superheroes and Grief- The Transformative Power of Loss.” He told me that all superhero’s have endured unspeakable loss- and these mythical characters find power and purpose through tragedy. Superman was orphaned. It may have been the last thing he gifted anybody, making this book and that meal we had ever more meaningful. Hold onto what matters. Rest in peace Paul.
Wellbeing Tools I’ve Come Across
- A podcast interview I did for those interested in coaching and nurse practitioners.
- High Quality Questions to ask yourself to get high quality answers on your own mental health
- Kevin Kelly, hard to define his skill set, but he is a true original on On 99 Bits of Unsolicited Advice . Some real gems, my favorite: Bad things can happen fast, but almost all good things happen slowly.
- The Magic of Therapy Dr Ramani is a great resource and has a helpful YouTube channel on a wide range of topics.