Not all problems are in your head
“After a long and gruelling struggle with Covid-19, my father was approaching the end of his life. “You must understand death is unavoidable”, the nurse said. I replied “Yes, I do understand” — and for the first time I understood that to the core of my being. Yes, death is unavoidable, not just when you’re older and sick with Covid — death can come any second, any minute, any day for all of us”.
This was something posted by a very dear and wise Facebook friend of mine, who had a terribly difficult year and even lost her father as a result of Covid-19.
She’s not alone.
It seems like every day I open Facebook, or read the news online or on TV, death is omnipresent. Actually, I don’t think so many people have all at once contemplated the inevitable coming of death in the last few decades — a psychological phenomenon that is new and strange for the younger generations who have not gone through such global traumas in their lives, not like their parents or grandparents who have lived through World Wars or extreme poverty or communism.
Regardless of how much we have emancipated ourselves and our lives and got to live in conditions that are better than ever in the history of humankind, we are still subject to the same human experiences when things go south: the collapse of health, financial uncertainty, poverty, isolation, depression, anxiety, hopelessness.
What is amazing to experience both myself and by witnessing others is that the people who have built more “artificial” lifestyles seem to be the most affected by this pandemic year — not just the physical consequences of Covid, but most importantly the psychological ones. Those ones — the prevalence of anxiety, uncertainty, fear of disease and death, the grief of losing dear ones, depression, and isolation — those are ten thousand times more contagious than the virus itself.
What do I mean by “artificial lifestyles”?
I’m referring to people who spend most of their time living in their minds and their heads.
People who — for one reason or another — have decided to divorce their own physical and emotional needs and reactions and hyper-rationalize their existence.
The people who have always spend most of their time in front of computers or books, who spend most of their time working and socializing in a virtual online world, and who have forgotten about how it feels to live with their feet on the ground — both figuratively and metaphorically.
I am part of many communities and groups of personal development, so I spend most of my time interacting with psychologists, psychotherapists, coaches, counselors, trainers, etc. Despite their incredible knowledge and wisdom when it comes to solving other peoples’ issues, I am terribly baffled and amused by their incredible inability to see and solve their own.
For example, one of them posted about having a chronic disease and needing extreme and urgent medical interventions, but instead of taking action on that they decided they want to “work on their mindset” to achieve “instant healing.”
I am still contemplating how to respond to this.
My inner coach and psychotherapist says “It's not your circus, not your monkeys — if the guy thinks he can ignore the disease and treat it by the power of thought, who are you to tell him that is impossible and immature?”
My “human” self ( :-) ), my instincts, my exacerbated mother instinct make me wanna shook him and yell at him “ Are you out of your mind? Get your ass to the doctor and have that surgery first, and we can talk about mindset shifts once you get out of the critical state.”
No, not all problems are in our heads.
Actually, the most difficult and real ones are those who manifest visibly and dramatically in the physical world: disease, pandemics, organ failure, war, trauma, violence, poverty, hunger, abuse, etc.
And most certainly not all solutions are in our heads — meaning our minds sometimes not only are incapable of helping, they might well be the cause of whatever challenge and difficulty we may experience.
So, yes, regardless of how high up in the clouds your head might be, never forget to place your feet firmly on the ground you live on.
Feel the floor under your feet.
Get fresh air.
Spend that time in nature.
Look at the sky.
Drink clean water.
Look at bugs, admire the birds, pet the dogs and the cats.
Moo at the cows.
Wave at strangers.
Eat the ice cream.
Drink the hot tea.
Put on the fluffy socks.
Kiss and hug and caress often.
Listen to good music.
Watch a good movie.
Write something by hand.
This is the kind of medicine that brings body, mind, and soul back in harmony together.