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Love in the Time of COVID

I’ve been trying to figure out what I could do to be of any help to you, Professional Counselors and Counselors in Training of Tennessee, during this time of scary transition, horrifying loss, tele-health adaptation and isolation.

There are enough scary stories out there already. There are also many (I am hesitant to say enough, as there are probably never enough) wonderful training webinars and articles about how to assist patients and clients in these troubled times.  I still may write a few of my own before this is over.

Maybe what we don’t have enough of is snippets of wisdom and whimsy that may have something hopeful or helpful to say to us as we travel on this new path.  One we would have never chosen.

You are some of those first responders, who run toward the fire.  It is the best of our human nature that you display as you listen to people with heartbreaking stories and sad hearts.  I hope you know that the Universe thanks you.  We don’t say it enough, and our cultures don’t pay you enough.  But you are all Rock Stars!

Hang in there….. It’s a cliche, but it is nonetheless true, that we can do this, if we do it with each other; supporting each other.

The snippets of wisdom and whimsy will not be all mine.  I will gather them.  I will make them short, so you can ignore them if you want.  My hope is that some of them will speak to you and offer either a laugh, some encouragement or some ideas of how to get through this messy time.

They are offered with love…hence the title.

Ann Sparling White, MS, NCC, LPC (retired), LMHC (retired)
TLPCA Membership Chair

Whimsy #2

God put me on earth to accomplish a certain number of things.

Right now I’m so far behind,

I will never die.

~ author unknown

Enough, Already!

There’s too much to do. There’s work, family, staying healthy (to stay, to go….?), taking care of kids at home, teaching kids at home, and the never ending bills…to name just a few.

There’s not enough time in any given day to get it all done, and done in the way that is up to your standards.

So don’t. Just do the best you can… and remember to breathe, and laugh, and take a break outside. The world needs you to get through this time… in one piece.

So… try to remember that the best of what you do is done when you breathe deeply, stay grounded, and just be… Just be the loving, accepting presence you have always been. That’s what all those people you feel responsible for really need from you.

Grief in the Time of Transition

We grieve all sorts of things. Basically, we grieve when things change, and things are always changing. It feels as if more things are changing at the moment, although I’m not completely sure that’s true.

What I do know is true is that we and our clients are grieving all sorts of things lost in this time of COVID 19, and could use both some direction and some encouragement.  Here is a bit of both from some smart and wise people:

Tasks of Grief:

  1. Accepting the reality of the loss.
  2. Experiencing the emotions associated with it.
  3. Adjusting to the environment in which the change has occurred.
  4. Begin to relocate the loss, emotionally, and move on with life.

~ William Worden, “Grief Counseling and Grief Therapy”

Growth-Oriented Grief:

  1. Discover all aspects of what has been lost.
  2. Discover what is left.
  3. Discover what is now possible, that would not have been possible if the loss had not occurred.

~ John Schneider, “Stress, Grief and Loss”

When we’re on an unknown road, it’s good to have a map.

I’m Sorry

It turns out that during a crisis where one can imagine the end his or her life, people have the urge to clean up old relationships, end family quarrels and complete uncompleted actions.

Social psychologists have studied this tendency. It certainly makes sense. We want to close circles, mend fences, reach out in ways we haven’t…before it’s too late. They could die, or we could die, is the thought behind this. We forget that all we ever really have is this moment. Nothing beyond right now is ever guaranteed.

So what do you say? Virus or no, resentments and incomplete actions weigh us down…and right now, we don’t need anything else doing that. Today is the perfect day to pick up the phone, write an email, or use some sort of virtual platform to reach out. Hugs, may or may not, come later. You’re just doing this for you.

Whimsy #1

I hope you’ll forgive me for not having preserved important data in my accumulated files, from which I pull lots of valuable snippets. We weren’t very careful in the olden days. You might think of my undesignated offerings as a trivia problem. If you come up with the author, I’ll send you a special snippet.

“I fully realize that I have not succeeded in answering all of your questions… Indeed, I feel I have not answered any of them completely.  The answers I have found only serve to raise a whole new set of questions, which only lead to more problems, some of which we weren’t even aware were problems.

To sum it all up…. In some ways I feel we are as confused as ever, but I believe we are confused on a higher level, and about more important things.”

Resilience

I need to credit this, but I no longer know where I got it. If any of you recognize the author, please pass it on, and I’ll note. I thought her ideas were loaded with wisdom.

  1. Know that shit happens to everyone.
  2. Find 3 things that are good or were good about your day today.
  3. Ask: Is what I’m doing right now good or bad for me. If it’s bad for you, stop doing it.

Snippet #1 – Home

Most of us are there a lot more than we used to be. I have friends who madly clean and others that have difficulty finding a clean plate for dinner.

We’re all different in how we need this space to be. But the snippet of the day is that we all might think of this space (or a space) carefully so as to make it work for us. Here is a quote from “Feng Shui for Dummies” by David Daniel Kennedy. ( I’ll bet you didn’t know such a book existed, did you?).

“Everyone appreciates the benefits of beautiful, comfortable living environments. Feng Shui says that your surroundings affect not just your level of material comfort but also your physical and mental health, your relationships, and your worldly success.” Who knew??! Well, now you do. Make your space yours, even if it’s just a corner. You’ll be glad you did.