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The Human Condition
we can't have nice things
It’s been a while since I posted because, for the first time since the pandemic began, I’ve felt ill with a nasty asthma exacerbation. I naturally freaked out, my nurse’s clinical mind going to the obvious—duh, duh, duh … sars-cov-2. A member of my household came down with a cold. Several consecutive Rapid Antigen Test (RATs) returned negative results, nonetheless the person did attend an event with known exposure so the likelihood of sars-cov-2 infection existed. The third member of my household did not get sick however—this person is the only one wise enough to get the flu shot this year. The symptom profile didn’t quite match, and taken together, all the clinical evidence seemed to point to an icky viral thing that’s not sars-cov-2.
I remembered that I should feel grateful for breathing easily when Legion came for a visit in my chest and breathing became a struggle. Old pneumonia scars came alive. My entire body felt poorly. I remembered how much I loathe feeling ill and my anger only grew at the everyone will get it [sars-cov-2] herd immunity numpties. Like it or not, public health restrictions designed to lower the transmission of sars-cov-2 have kept me well. Masks do work, I ain’t crazy about them and they work and I will use my KN95 mask. Just one time during the pandemic one household member attending a crowded event reminds me why crowds pose a risk. Hell, my asthmatic mother already hated crowds for this reason half a decade ago, when I was a wee girl.
During the uncertainty period, when things could have gone the way of sars-cov-2, I decided to turn my attention to the pandemic, spend some time pouring over the science of the virus itself. That’s my remedy for angst brought on by uncertainty—research the sh1t out of it. Knowledge to quell my uncertainty—my clinical mind would rather know what we are dealing with when it comes to sars-cov-2.
To be honest, I’d begun to feel manipulated by a narrative and it had been months since I took a close look at the science myself and it seemed weird that Bonnie Henry continued to resist the airborne transmission science. I have watched activism influence science to the point of medical organization and even professionals and formerly reputable publications lying so, to be honest I naturally adopt skepticism and remember fear makes a great population control device. The cult hero status created around Bonnie Henry cleverly disguises her incompetence and in fact, has people unwittingly defend it. We have layers of bullsh1t to cut through because of the constant gaslighting and lying that bombard us under the guise of news and information. There’s only so much bullsh1t one can cut through at any one time.
What I learned in my trip down the rabbit hole solidified my position on the pandemic and ripened my rage at the covidiots and the conservative apathy in general to the suffering happening on the ground. It clarified for me that tribalism and associated extremism and science denial exists across the political spectrum and that special interest groups on both sides—ie left and right—seek to influence policy-makers and exert pressure on public health officials and the education system to further their own Machiavellian interests. No one political inclination or philosophical underpinning drives such behaviour. The human condition does. Know what it comes down to? Moral Compass. Moral Courage. Our abject failure at each of these.
“Our species may be the most technologically advanced on the planet, but we aren’t the most advanced socially or emotionally, you know, like elephants.” That’s a very close paraphrase of my 23-year old kid earlier today in conversation about human society.
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So, I thought I would dig up past writing on emotional intelligence as a reminder because it seems to me we have all the tools we need to deal with sars-cov-2 and that it’s classism/elitism, materialism, greed, apathy, selfishness, ableism that really pose the biggest dilemma and threat to the wellbeing of society.
Here are 12 questions we can ask ourselves, remember we can always do something, the smallest gestures and actions can render much power.
Humans have come together through social distancing. Covid-19 has come to remind us the very real way that our actions affect the lives of each other. How can we use the challenges we now face to centre compassion in our daily lives and the way we conduct business going forward?
Covid-19 has served as a mirror to humanity—what do you think about the reflection you see?
When the amygdala drives the bus, the ride will feel bumpy and the trip will seem unpleasant—does fear drive your behaviour right now? How and why? What can you do to greet your fear and assure her?
How can you balance self interest with compassion? How can you ensure your needs get met while thinking of others who live in your community? How can you take less? How can you make do with what you have?
Check on the state of your nervous system—what’s going on inside your body right now? Where are you on the vagal ladder? How can you achieve a ventral vagal state?
What story are you telling yourself? Are you feeling your thoughts? Can you resist the urge? Can you imagine yourself a train station, and let your thoughts pass through you like a fast moving train? Observe them and let go. Remember, you are not an oracle—you do not know the future. You are here, right now. Ground yourself—5 … 4 … 3 … 2 … 1.
What do you need right now? Make lists. Prioritise. Reach out, connect, and ask for help when you need. The only silly question is the one you’re too shy to ask, now’s not the time to be shy, dude.
What can you create? What can you grow? What joy can you bring? Small things—these needn’t be grand or monumental. Focus on little gestures, tiny seeds of compassion.
Do you need to set boundaries? How can you do this gently and firmly?
What are you grateful for right now? What positive things have come from the onslaught of changes you are riding?
How can you play? How can you make room for fun? How can you connect while maintaining distance?
How can you transform the unpleasantness and fear and uncertainty staring you down?
These strange times call us to task. You don’t have to have everything figured out today, right now. Break it down in to bite sized morsels you can manage. One day at a time. There is always something you can do in the moment. Right now, the small things make the biggest difference.
In a crisis, be aware of the danger--but recognize the opportunity.”
― John F. Kennedy
Take airborne precautions. Wash your hands with soap and water—hand sanitizer does not take the place of hand washing, it is a supplemental. Take only what you need. Use less. Make a Corsi-Rosenthal Box with your family. Keep a safe social distance away from others. Practise self care when information overload and the news become too overwhelming. Replace judgement with curiosity. Resist the urge to mock the genuine fear of others—you have no idea what’s going on for others. Build your resilience and remember the cracks are how the light gets in. What you focus on grows, choose wisely. You can always control your character. Your character always belongs to you—you get to choose how to respond, make that your super power.