I read an article this morning on how to avoid the pandemic stress from engulfing me. It had a few good pointers, but they were all focused on ways to move out of the stress. While I agree with the steps shared (you can read the article here), it omitted the value of just letting the grief, anxiety, and (let’s be honest) rage, pour over. I know that as an introvert and empath (not to mention one who battles depression), that I’m super in-tune to all the feels out there in our world. And this does not even include my personal life: changes in how I “go” to work, my baby boy now a high school graduate with no traditional celebration or family gathering, my daughter off at her last semester of college that may or may not have in-person classes in the fall. Changes in the economy that change my husband’s income. Immunocompromised family and friends. The fact that my favorite writing event, Mountain Heritage Lit Festival at LMU had to be canceled for this summer, meaning I’ll miss my most dear community of friends and the new ones I always make, and the great writers I meet and learn from. It’s crushing. When I’m feeling all of these emotions, advice to write down a gratitude list seems juvenile and ineffective at best. Don’t get me wrong, it has its benefits. I’ve done it. But I have to be in another state of mind and emotion to do so and gain the benefits.
So I let it roll over me. The tears, the confusion, the rage, the lack of control (while also re-realizing any version of control I thought I had was an illusion). That’s a lot to take in. But a good bit of crying and/or solo time is a huge balm to dealing with all my emotions, and I think every list out there should include such. To ignore or suppress our grief and shock of the state of our world at the moment would be detrimental. So cry. Go chop wood. Yell. Dance. Listen to loud-ass music. Make art. Do something every day to acknowledge and release the pain, and then do something that brings you joy. That’s my map forward. I hope I can keep steady on it. Today will include reflection, and when work is complete, time in the garden. Love to you all.