Lessons in the Pandemic

We just got slammed hard by the pandemic, like a tidal wave.  Suddenly, our lives are at stake, ourselves, our friends, our families, old and young.  So many have died.  Most of us have been shaken financially, by loss of income or by a quick and stressful reorganization to work from home.  Parents are home with children to educate.  Jobs and health care are scarce.  We are unable to visit vulnerable loved ones in senior living facilities or hospitals.  Friends and family in prisons are in peril.  Many of us are lonely.  All of us are deeply shaken.

Not incidentally, our democracy is in ruins while a power-mad psychopath and his enablers try to gaslight and inflame the nation with double messages and misinformation.  Just saying.  Such is the state of affairs.

It’s taught me some things, some big things.  I didn’t realize just how pressured and stressed I felt until the world stopped during the shut-down.  The world stopped and I was still going.  For no reason, I felt pushed to perform every day.  Just fear.  The culture itself appeared driven by anxiety, fear, egotism and greed when I turned on media.  So many unmet emotional and human needs denied in surrender to fear and doubt.  There’s no safety net in toxic capitalism. It’s based on the false notion of scarcity.  The culture appears to be unconcerned with human welfare.  The word, ‘welfare’ itself was purposely stigmatized and racialized.  Fear just drove me to show up and jump through hoops.  I thought in terms of, “I have to…,” rather than I want to, or,”I should.”  I worked hard; I was busy.  I was still buying into this notion of winners/losers and no one will help you when you’re down and out.  The pandemic revealed in sharper focus the cracks in our government, our healthcare and our culture in general which drives us with fear.  And I can see it in myself.

I think of the ego as the part of the personality that was born in the need to either prove that you’re good enough or defend against an hurtful attack to the value of the self.  It’s not a real thing.  It’s basically a defense mechanism and when it’s healthy it works for you in a flexible, confident way.   A healthy ego serves it’s purpose and disappears.  It doesn’t need to doubt itself or preen.  You know you’re as good as anyone else, good enough and you’re fine with that.  You can be brilliant in some ways and slow in others and that’s ok.  Most of all, you can laugh at yourself and your talents are unleashed.

As you might be able to see, our current leaders are not like that.  Always too busy plotting their advantage.  I realized I don’t want to live like that, deformed by a sick society.  I have the right to breath and move at my own pace.  But only I can give myself this freedom.  And so…

I’m a psychotherapist for 30 years.  It’s a sick culture.  We have a sick president.  It’s a good thing most of us aren’t like that.  I’m working on me.  It’s amazing watching people in the news fighting for freedom to ignore the rights of others.  How many of us are free inside?

Best of all, I also saw more vividly how very much we love and miss each other.  That’s so good to know.  And how we’ll so often help and encourage each other whenever we can.  That’s my hope for humanity.  The challenges to our species are global.  I think we must learn to love this whole world if we want to keep it.  And ourselves and each other as individuals.


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