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  • Marie Trout

Incubation Blues — Day 9 of the Shutdown

It is as if time crawled for the first seven days. Each day felt like a month.

As this new, restricted way of life becomes reality, the days are coming a bit faster. Life settles into a new routine. Dealing with the loss of used-to-be is still right there under the surface. I still think about what I would have been doing right now, if it wasn’t because of this shutdown. If only…

And those thoughts tell me that I am still dealing with loss. We all are.

At the same time, I am grateful that our governor shut down our state before it got super crazy leaving us in relatively good shape. I am grateful for the people in our local city government, who continually implement new measures to keep the virus from exploding here.

Early intervention is key. Dealing with anything unpleasant only gets worse when we ignore it.

“Oh, but it is not affecting me — and it is not affecting anyone I know. I can’t see it, therefore it can’t be true. So I won’t have to deal with it.”

Yeah right!

So kudos to California for getting it right. We also have a relatively low rate of community spread here.

I feel sad for other states and countries, in which leadership was slow to respond. These people are now paying the price. And dang, if we could have had a cohesive and determined national response… imagine that…

We didn’t.

It makes me so very, very sad.

Opportunities for early intervention were squandered and laughed about.

It is human nature to deny that which is difficult to deal with.

But denial is deadly.

Personal denial is deadly. And in this case, collective denial is catastrophically deadly.

When people in leadership who have been given the evidence and gotten the warnings don’t inform and educate the populations, and when they do not take the difficult and possibly unpopular steps to act early, they are responsible for deaths.

That is what leadership in war and crisis means.

They are responsible.

I think we humans in the Western world have become so accustomed to looking only at that which is pleasant. Seeing only comfort. Expecting only “good things.”

And our relatively wealthy lives have confirmed our perceived right to denial.

“Well, let those who see a problem deal with the problem and have the cost of doing it. I don’t see it.”

“If it is not affecting me, I don’t have to do anything.”

This mindset is killing people right now. And it has and it will kill many more going forward.

Denial is easy and deceptively free of consequences short term.

But, as many of us know when it comes to personal issues and addictions, denial, backfires spectacularly when used as a long term strategy.

Now, we have time on our hands. And, while the lessons of what we are observing collectively are sinking in, there has never been a better time to work to increase our willingness to face that which we normally deny in our own lives.

  1. Having to be cooped up with a partner 24/7 might spike conversations and irritations that have been under the surface, but that busy schedules kept us from having.

  2. Being socially isolated without normal customs and rituals of sharing, might spark phone, Facetime, or Skype conversations with others that are deeper and more meaningful than the usual chit-chat.

  3. Facing ourselves without the external distractions might allow us to work through issues, look into our own patterns of behavior, join a virtual AA group, and ask for — and be open to — the concept of forgiveness.

I imagine that psychologists will be busy when eventually the social isolation part of this period winds down. Much will have been stirred up in our psyches.

And coming through our inner mirror halls of denial and projection is what growth is all about. Real growth.

In the blues, we call it “tellin’ it like it is.”

It is speaking our emotional truths plainly, directly, and honestly.

This time offers us an opportunity to no longer just get stuck in, but to face up to and eventually walk through our blues.

Getting more accustomed to facing that which we deny in our own lives, we may also be able to view others more clearly.

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