We are all feeling it these days. Everything seems to be difficult. We could probably handle most of the things that have been going lately one by one, but the challenges just pile on until something sends us over our edge. It could be the littlest thing…and behind that little thing is a giant pile.
People around me have heard my opinion that humans have failed the experiment. We had two major things to learn:
- How to get along with others (even if they are different, and we don’t agree with them)
- Learn from history and our mistakes!
As I watch myself and others cope with everyday life, I’m noticing some things that seem to be common threads. I’m seeing anger erupting disproportionally. We get heated at having to wear masks, we rail at the server because the restaurant isn’t using a paper menu. We have little patience and even less empathy.
We all feel a loss of control! And the words that relate to that in my mind include Sovereignty, Autonomy, Independence — Basically the ability to have control over my life.
For several years now I have been reading and studying about the lives civilians lived during WWII. I have reflected on how terrifying it was for my grandparents to worry about my dad when they learned he was interned in a POW camp. And how crappy it was for them to get the telegram saying he was shot down and presumed dead, right before Christmas. I can hardly imagine what it was like to be living in London during the Blitz! From September 7, 1940 – May 11, 1941, the Luftwaffe flew 571 sorties and dropped 800 tonnes of bombs. I can’t even fathom how that felt. It does seem that the fact that everyone had to come together to survive helped. Maybe, just maybe, being forced into air-raid shelters brought some empathy for others and comfort? Maybe they were too busy just surviving to process their emotions?
I’ve been thinking a lot about how we are doing in this crisis. The last two years have been very much like a war, haven’t they? Setting politics aside, it’s hard to single out an enemy to blame it ALL on. The weather is crazy with hurricanes and tornadoes flattening entire cities. Fires burning towns to the ground. The pandemic is still very present, and frightening. People are hiding behind guns and shooting people they know, and people that are strangers. Masks seem to add to the isolation — Closing us off from the smile we had used to connect with people in person.
Our way of life has changed so much that It often feels to me like we have entered an alternative universe!
And we are frustrated, angry, grumpy, touchy….pissed off!
I think it’s very likely that what is really going on behind all this kvetching is Grief!
Gut-wrenching, exasperating, maddening grief. We have lost our way of life. We can’t just hang out with friends. Our jobs have changed or even gone away. It’s challenging to travel and even send our children to school and feel that they will be safe. In short, almost every aspect of life has changed, and we are grieving the loss.
There is a benefit to having a name for this! It gives us a path through the onslaught. Here are the handy-dandy ‘Five Stages of Grief‘ from Elizabeth Kübler-Ross:
Abbreviated as DABDA. Makes sense, doesn’t it? We are all grieving. If we can embrace that, recognize which place we are in, and allow ourselves to accept it, perhaps we can find a new path. When we lose a loved one we grieve, and yet most can find a way to engage in life while honoring the loss. We can do that now.
We can be kinder to ourselves and those around us. We can ride the storm and come out whole…it’s worth the effort, isn’t it?
Shell Tain, The Untangler
Thank you Shell, for naming what is going on – GRIEF! If Charlie Brown were to watch humanity now, he would say “Good Grief!” with all the bad behaviors slipping out in frustration. I’m committing to kindness. As the Dali Lama says…. “Kindness is my religion”.