COVID-19

Grief Within Grief: What Happens to Grievers of Profound Loss When an Entire Community Is Grieving?

To listen to an audio reading of this post, click here or go to bit.ly/GriefWithinGrief Grief is a tidal wave that overtakes you, smashes down upon you with unimaginable force,sweeps you up into its darkness, where you tumble and crash against unidentifiable surfaces, only to be thrown out on an unknown beach, bruised, reshaped. Stephanie Ericsson What I remember about May of 1992 is the crushing weight of silence. A silence that pressed down hard on my chest during many a random afternoon as I sat inert, watching the clock hands move, while my 14 month old son napped in […]

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Bearing Our Souls: A Crash Course in Soothing the Overwhelming Emotions of a Pandemic - Part 6 - Expressing Your Emotions

To listen to an audio reading of this post, click here or go to bit.ly/BearingSoulsAudio6 Just when the overwhelm of coronavirus quarantine was amplified by the distress and outrage of throngs protesting against the brutal murder of George Floyd, I stared in disbelief at an unfathomable email that appeared in my inbox. The message contained antiracism resources paired with exercises for ridding oneself of painful emotions in order to find peace and happiness. Seriously? Even NOW? A huge motivation for me to write this series about pandemic emotions was that the onslaught of mental health articles that touted mindfulness, exercise, controlling […]

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Bearing Our Souls: A Crash Course in Soothing the Overwhelming Emotions of a Pandemic - Part 5 - What the Emotions of Upheaval Are ABOUT

To listen to an audio reading of this post, click here or go to bit.ly/BearingSouls5Audio Not to make loss beautiful,But to make loss the placeWhere beauty starts. Wherethe heart understandsFor the first timeThe nature of its journey. — Gregory Orr, in Concerning The Book That Is the Body Of The Beloved Stably unstable. That’s how I’ve been feeling during these ongoing weeks of the social difficulties wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic. I’ve been waking up to the lie my basically hopeful self had planted way down in the shadows of my mind. Unbeknownst to me, I was believing I’d pressed “pause” on my […]

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Bearing Our Souls: A Crash Course in Soothing the Overwhelming Emotions of a Pandemic – Part 4 – Layers & Flavors of Emotion

To listen to an audio reading of this post, click here or go to bit.ly/BearingSouls4Audio Emotion is the messenger of love; it is the vehicle that carries every signal from one brimming heart to another. For human beings, feeling deeply is synonymous with being alive. — Lewis, Amini, & Lannon, A General Theory of Love During the first week of my city’s pandemic-stanching stay-at-home orders, I felt as if an enormous hand had slammed into the center of my chest to shove me backwards, and had left me abruptly sitting bruised on the floor of my life with eyes wide open, blinking back startled […]

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Bearing Our Souls: A Crash Course in Soothing the Overwhelming Emotions of a Pandemic – Part 3  – “Name It to Tame It”

To listen to an audio reading of this post, click here or go to bit.ly/SoulsPart3Audio At a moment of intensity, a failure to be understood, to be connected with emotionally, can result in a profound feeling of shame. The shame generated by missed opportunities for the alignment of states —for the feeling of emotional resonance, of “feeling felt”— can lead to withdrawal. Even with less intense states, not being understood may lead to a sense of isolation. — Daniel Siegel, The Developing Mind, Second Edition *** Last week, in the evening after writing all day, I broke down into wracking […]

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Bearing Our Souls: A Crash Course in Soothing the Overwhelming Emotions of a Pandemic – PART 1 – Stories Matter

To listen to an audio reading of this post, click here or go to bit.ly/SoulsPart1Audio May we face our selves, in the wilderness and the world, and recognize the forces that drive us, so that they do not always drive us. — Pádraig Ó Tuama On a Thursday evening about four weeks ago, I said goodnight to my last therapy client of the week, closed the door behind her, and turned off my waiting room lamps. The following Sunday afternoon I sat with my family at one of our favorite restaurants, raising a glass of bold red wine over a […]

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