This is the third blog I’ve started writing about the Covid-19 situation. Things are changing so quickly these days that both of those seem somewhat outdated already.
The first one I wrote on Thursday, not even a week ago, between therapy clients who were all talking about their fears about the virus. That blog was about our mass anxiety and how to find a place between panic and denial—a place of wisdom.
The next blog I wrote was on Saturday, as I sat in a hotel room in Portland, having packed up my son’s dorm room, loaded the car in the snow, and debating where it would be safe for us to go eat. That blog was about patience and flexibility, which are both normally challenging for me, but which I was feeling in spades over the weekend.
The last few days have been more of a struggle. On Monday, I went to my office planning to see clients this week and help them cope with all this. I was and am worried about my anxious clients completely losing their minds. I am worried about my depressed clients feeling more lonely and hopeless than ever. So I was looking forward to doing my work this week. Except that by Monday afternoon, it became clear that I would not be able to do that in the way I like to do it—sitting in a room with another person. Yesterday, I was wrestling to learn about HIPPA compliant video services for on-line therapy. Those of you who know me know how much I HATE that! Technology…grr!!
But then I read my unpublished post about patience and flexibility, which began with me sharing that I find it helpful to look at challenging situations and try to see the learning and growth potential in them. On Saturday, I observed that our plans these days must be fluid. Information is coming at us so fast, that we must be willing to shift and change plans easily and without attachment to the previous one. On Saturday, I had some blessed acceptance about that because it really felt like all we can do.
However, I woke this morning feeling frustrated and discouraged, a bit of a whiny toddler moment, not wanting things to be as they are. I stayed there for an hour or so, but then I made myself do the things that almost always help me feel better. I went for a walk, even though the weather is gloomy and cold. I came home and did my stress-relief yoga DVD. I showered and got dressed in regular clothes and put on some makeup and did my hair. And I do feel better, back to myself. Not that I love this situation, obviously, but I am back to my place of more mindful acceptance.
I need a routine. I need exercise. I need to find purpose every day. I will eventually start writing again, as things settle down and preparations are in place. I have a million books on my shelves to read. I have tons of games to play and puzzles to complete. Parts of this scenario are wonderful—having all my boys home (two already and one on his way), time to do all the aforementioned activities that I love. But there’s the fog of uncertainty that pervades—what will my business look like when all this is over? Will my clients be okay? Will they participate in on-line therapy and will it be helpful? How will five adults—my family—who haven’t lived together in six years get along, being homebound with each other for potentially a very long time? There are no answers to those questions at this point, so I am going to try to stop asking them. I am going to try and get back to that place of wisdom between learning and planning when I can and accepting what is unknowable.
Damn! It’s the serenity prayer all over again! Everything seems to always circle back to that for me. Always my learning edge. (Well, that and technology!)
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
My hope is for this blog to start a conversation about how you are adjusting to our new lifestyles. What will you be doing to stay busy? How will you find purpose and meaning in the next few weeks or months? How will you not only stay sane but enjoy your life while this is all going on?
I hope to hear from you, as it is going to be important for us to all find ways to stay connected as we socially distance. Hmmm…that feels like it might be next week’s blog…