The psychological price of isolation


Never has it been more important to be in family. And not surprising larger families, typical of the developing world are providing a sense of emotional security and well being that makes things feel more normal in tbis time of crisis, whilst the so called developed countries drown in fear. The resilience of people who have adapted to living in larger groups via the extended family is infinite. Of course there are other challenges, such as limited opportunities for formal education, credit, and corrupt governments which work against any sense of economic security for the long term. This makes life harder. But the bottom line in terms of COVID is that shared resources and emotional support within the family and community provide people with a life that still liveable. People are not falling apart.  I am in Mexico, and it feels much better here than it did in Canada. Why? Because the family is the system and the system is the family. No one will be abandoned here. People will risk themselves for someone they love. People still touch each other. Maybe it is because life is always changing. Maybe its because nothing is for certain. Maybe its because people don’t waste all their time thinking about the future. People are more present. Maybe it’s because The ties that bind keep people anchored and that is the only certainty that exists.
I will never truly know what the truth is because i can only see things through my own cultural lense, but i have spoken to many who say they just want to enjoy life.

It probably helps that people aren’t constantly watching the news. They are not that interested.
I hope the mainstream networks all perish after this is over. They have no conscience.

Re-visiting Childhood

Aging parents and a visit. Hope. Forgiveness. A Glimpse of Love. A re-awakening of childhood memories. A greater understanding of defenses and the regrets that go with the ones I have yet to overcome. Mysteries solved after 50 years of unanswered questions. Does it make it any easier? Maybe. Maybe I wouldn’t be able to have the empathy and compassion I have if I hadn’t suffered deeply myself. But maybe it was more important to grow up without privilege. Maybe it was more important to learn gratitude. Maybe anyone can arrive at self respect eventually. Emotional wellness and maturity though require self-awareness, so we do not repeat dysfunctional patterns. Understanding how we can hurt others is paramount. Whether the trigger is dismissal, disrespect, disinterest, or disguise (false representation), we have to know that usually it is not personal, or deliberate. And even if it is, the collateral damage of hitting the switch will do serious harm to ourselves as well as others. We can feel the warning but the impulse is strong. It is the disconnect that caused the problem, that led to the trigger, that then repeats itself. We only break the cycle by moving past the switch. Even if I am angry, I can swallow the words until I find the right ones. Even if I am hurt, I can understand that someone probably never intended to hurt me, and even if I feel rejected, I know it is my responsibility to find relationships that meet my needs for support, acceptance and love. Only by not hitting the disconnect switch, can I nurture my own soul. It may have taken me a long time to get here, but I am here now.

Self Defense

Its all about betrayal. That is where our triggers come from. Real or perceived, it doesn’t really matter. All experience is subjective and far from complete. So our truth leads us into danger. As we seek to resolve our childhood issues..there is still a landmine before us. Navigating without reaction is impossible when someone hits that spot through word or action. Then we do damage both to them, and ourselves as we lash out in a survival instict of sel defense. It can get messy and yet it can happen so quickly we can’t stop ourselves even though there may be a warning. Self preservation is paramount. And after things become calm and still we may be able to recognize a pattern. What was the betrayal that lead to this triggered reaction. Once you identify the issue at hand you can prepare yourself to not respond. At least until you have processed or asked the right questions or even just given the person the benefit of the doubt. Because trust is so important. Every time we lash out albeit in self defense. We destroy it. If you can go through your childhood experiences and know what hurt you most you can do your own analysis. Know your triggers. It is just self defense.

Strength in Uncertainty

Strength in uncertainty
The best laid plans broken, is how many of us have felt with the impact of COVID-19. As the foreigners fled the small Mexican village where I spend my winters, upon the urging of their home countries and concerned family members, the local tourist economy crashed, at least temporarily. Many of my friends and colleagues in Canada were the fortunate ones. With government jobs and the CERB assistance plan, we would get by, at least for now. As per usual, the impoverished were hit the hardest internationally by the restrictions, not that the global marketplace will ever give these people a fair chance anyway. As someone who does seasonal work I too have been in the process of downsizing, fortunately I was on this path already, but COVID-19 has made me even more determined than ever. To live simply, to follow my dreams. We are tested in these uncertain times to be present, kind, and real.

Trial Run

We are now being given the opportunity to re-invent ourselves. Will we step up and make the necessary sacrifices or not. Manifesting the world we want to be a part of without harming others and the environment could finally take precedence. Everyday I do a prayer and meditation for the planet and all she envelopes.

Awareness of our Triggers in a sensitive time

The world has been affected by many things, ongoing wars but not in our backyards, planetary disaster, considered only to be of concern for hippies until recently, poverty and exploitation as per usual, and starvation ongoing. But now, we have a dilemma that confronts us internationally which only the privileged will surmount. Those with access to clean water, clean air, good hospitals, government assistance, a job from home, a car and a nice place to live will be just fine. But that is on the physical level.
The emotional implications are different. For those of us who have suffered great loss and trauma, the Coronavirus represents much more than a period of social isolation and life adjustments. Trauma upon trauma hurts so much more. People who have worked hard to resolve their past pain and suffering will be hit much harder, in conversations, by the news, in their time alone, and in their intimate relationships. This is inevitable. And so while some people will be worried about their next meal, some people will be holding on tightly to their sanity. Please remember that despite all the hype and fear mongering that some people seem to thrive on, this is a situation that will get better. Do not allow this to unravel you. A form of mental discipline is needed right now to help us focus on other things so we can create balance. Now is a good time for writing, re-creating your career, downsizing your material life, planting a garden, forgiving someone you couldn’t before, trying a new health regime. We need to stay grounded to NOT be triggered. The trigger will always fail us. Trust in yourself but know what these are. And when you feel yourself reacting, ask yourself, is this one of my triggers? If you can identify it, you can surpass it. And all this drama will soon be over. You will come out of it stronger than ever.