Life is a little unpredictable at 6,700 feet. We've had our fair share of surprises this Spring, as illustrated by this huge dump of snow, and so has everyone, globally, in less aesthetic and romantic terms.
An elementary school teacher and I have been leading groups over the past school year, and when we met with the kids online a couple weeks ago, we used a descriptor she usually applied to behaviors, to help them bridge what is happening between their inner and outer landscapes. What is happening in the world right now is "unexpected." Our inner children have all been activated by this upheaval. How do you feel knowing even the adults in the world have no idea what is happening or how this will end? Have you cultivated resiliency, peace, and adaptability to handle meeting undefined and unpredicted curves in the path of life?
The times are wild right now. I hope each of you are safe and well as we wait out, adjust, and contemplate the changes underfoot as they unfold, one piece at a time.
In many ways this pandemic connects us in ways we haven't seen before. For instance, I've noticed people in the U.S. caring more about what happens overseas. This issue of the coronavirus has affected all humans. We are being changed by it, collectively.
While fear may be the loudest symptom, there is much, much more. There is also humanity, concern, sharing, reaching out, and helping. The news loves to jump on fear, but it's not what we're all about. Times of need also draw others who wish to share their resources to help each other out, even if just through education for proper protection. We have an opportunity to more clearly see our connections to each other, and how we are all in this experience together, a single event that has touched all our lives.
If you only see the anxiety, hoarding, and fear, re-orient your perspective to take in the little moments where someone is being helpful or caring, or the positive side of finding our lives-as-normal put on pause, moments easily overlooked. Our brains react to fear and seize on negative evidence as a natural bias to survive from more primitive times. We have to consciously cultivate seeing the good, something that helps our nervous systems calm down.
While I've been thinking of all the people who have graced my life with whom I feel a sense of connection, I delayed dropping this note to you all for two reasons: one is that my inbox is flooded by every mailing list I didn't know I was on right now, a flooding symbolic of layers of all of the above, and can only imagine yours has been as well; and secondly, I was navigating very uncertain times in my world too, getting my feet under me, sorting out what was happening and what it meant to be prepared and keep myself and others safe...Being with my own vulnerability, while simultaneously not missing even a day of work transitioning between a busy clinic and school setting to being completely virtual.
I managed to migrate 95% of my clientele to online platforms or the telephone... no small feat for a non-technological population base in this comunity. I have been impressed with my clients' willingness to learn and improvise in order to continue to get support during these times. I am really proud of all of them, and they have discovered for themselves just how deep we can go via the telephone or video chat.
Fortunately, my skills at teletherapy predate my clinical position so I transitioned my clients with ease, being recognized by the CEO of the agency for my professional set up, quick transition, and high client retention with this switch to telehealth, exceeding expectations of number of people required to serve. This is a sign of the relationships I build with people, ones that continue even when the world feels like its falling apart and all playing pieces are tossed into the air.
While I didn't miss a beat with supporting others when this all hit, I did take - and continue to take - downtime to process and recalibrate myself, and I continue to be available to my clients both in the clinic and private practice during these times. My self-care practices have helped me ground to being present, aware, and to adapt to change. I'm hopeful that many of you have also shifted from the first phase of seeking security to making the mental shift of adapting to circumstances, as very well outlined by assistant professor of political science Aisha Ahmad in her article, about working through crises and disasters.
In a time when we need each other, it has been a challenge to physically feel the presence of others while holed up at home... how are you nurturing your sense of connection during these times?
Regardless of where you are, and how you are navigating the current situation, know that you are not alone. If you just need more connection, reach out to a friend, and if you need more support, reach out to a therapist or healer. I'm available via online video and by telephone, for both counseling and breathwork. If you are out of work and can't afford help, please reach out to your local community clinic, which now should have capability for teletherapy, take insurance, or have generous sliding scales due to outside funding.
During this time of crisis, know that I'll work with you on my own sliding scale fees if it is needed to continue working together, please know there is support for you during these rough and unexpected times.
One thing is for sure, we will all be different from this powerful and transformative experience. There is no going backwards to what was before, and the future can be what we collectively shape from a grassroots level... perhaps something even better, with a deeper awareness of our collective connections.
A final thought, I could re-visit many points in history but to put it in a nutshell, Social Security came from the Great Depression. What will come of this unifying experience, when all the countries of the world realize we have to work together for our well-being, as one species?
Sending love to all of you.
ps. I've been planning a trip to Sebastopol the second week of July... but have no idea whether it'll be safe to travel by then, so we'll all have to stay tuned for that one! If not, I remain available virtually, it's the next best thing.