Suddenly, today, I panicked about life inching back toward “normal.” I don’t want to travel endlessly for work. I don’t want my weekends to be over-committed with activities. I don’t want to miss bedtime with my kid. I don’t want to wear blazers — or, hell, even shoes.
-Emily Ramshaw, Co-founder & CEO 19th News.
For many of us the prospect of being is terrifying and so we go on saying, “I’m good” when in fact we are struggling or overwhelmed. This allegiance to the social convention that everything is okay is fatiguing and prevents us from receiving care and building deep connections with others. David Whyte, a Poet, writes, “in refusing our vulnerability we refuse the help needed at every turn of our existence and immobilize the essential, tidal and conversational foundations of our identity.”
-Ryan Redman, The Flourish Foundation
NEW: ‘The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now states explicitly — in large, bold lettering — that airborne virus can be inhaled even when one is more than six feet away from an infected individual. “If you’re in a poorly ventilated environment, virus is going to build up in the air, and everyone who’s in that room is going to be exposed.” [Friday, May 7th]
Fears Covid anxiety syndrome could stop people reintegrating
Natalie Grover Science correspondent
Scientists have expressed concern that residual anxiety over coronavirus may have led some people to develop compulsive hygiene habits that could prevent them from reintegrating into the outside world, even though Covid hospitalisations and deaths in the UK are coming down.
The concept of “Covid anxiety syndrome” was first theorised by professors last year, when Ana Nikčević, of Kingston University, and Marcantonio Spada, at London South Bank University, noticed people were developing a particular set of traits in response to Covid.
The anxiety syndrome is characterised by compulsively checking for symptoms of Covid, avoidance of public places, and obsessive cleaning, a pattern of “maladaptive behaviours” adopted when the pandemic started. Now researchers have raised the alarm that the obsessive worrying and threat avoidance, including being unwilling to take public transport or bleaching your home for hours, will not subside easily, even as Covid is controlled.
“Fear is normal. You and I are supposed to fear the virus because it’s dangerous. The difference, however, in terms of developing a psychopathological response is whether you end up behaving in … overly safe ways that lock you into the fear,” said Spada. “My expectation is we’re going to have … chunks of the population that are avoiding re-engagement and constantly worrying about the virus for months to come, whether they are vaccinated or not.”
Dr Giovanni Mansueto, of the University of Florence, is investigating the syndrome in Italy and says he has seen some evidence of it in his clinical practice. It was important not only to identify the syndrome but to find ways to treat and prevent it, he said, “otherwise, this could be a big problem”.
Even after being fully vaccinated, many still wrestle with a fear of catching Covid
“I don’t want to be sitting in a movie theater with ‘patient zero’ of a variant that bucks the vaccine.”
By Elizabeth Chuck
Since the start of the pandemic, Kit Breshears has been terrified of catching the coronavirus. Getting vaccinated did not magically change that.
For the past 13 months, Breshears, 44, of Buffalo, Minnesota, has not stepped foot inside a store or restaurant, not even to pick up a takeout meal. Any visits with family and friends have been over Zoom.
When he received his second Covid-19 shot earlier this month, he felt relief, he said — but with the pandemic still ongoing, he has found it impossible to turn off his anxiety.
“My fear is that enough people are not going to get vaccinated, or they’re not going to get vaccinated in a timely fashion, and we end up getting a horrible variant that puts us right back to where we are,” Breshears, a communications director at a local university, said. “I don’t want to be sitting in a movie theater with ‘patient zero’ of a variant that bucks the vaccine.”
With more than 93 million people, or more than a quarter of America, fully vaccinated, two camps have emerged: those making up for lost time in the form of house parties, happy hours and travel, and those who cannot shake the fear that they may still get the coronavirus.
Breshears is far from the only one in the latter category. A survey released last month by the American Psychological Association found that 48 percent of adults who have been vaccinated said they felt “uneasy” about returning to in-person interactions once the pandemic is over.
For the time being, some timidness is a good thing, public health experts say.
“We’re still involved in the disease containment phase of the pandemic,” said Tener Goodwin Veenema, a professor and visiting scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. Fully vaccinated individuals should feel confident in the protection they have received, she said, but should still wear their masks in public and avoid big groups of unmasked people.
Nonetheless, for healthy, fully vaccinated people, the fear of catching Covid-19 should not be paralyzing, said Vaile Wright, a clinical psychologist and the senior director of health care innovation at the American Psychological Association.
“With previous pandemics, like SARS and Ebola, we have seen agoraphobia,” she said, referring to the anxiety disorder in which people fear certain situations so much that they may not leave their homes. “At the end of the day, if you’re really, really struggling, then it’s time to seek out some professional help.”
“There is going to be this lingering sense of anxiety going forward, because uncertainty still remains.”
“Recognize that the other person might just not be where you’re at yet, and that doesn’t make them wrong,” Wright said.
If you are feeling anxious about doing things that fall within safe CDC guidelines for fully vaccinated people, Wright suggests identifying small steps that you can take.
“There are people who haven’t gone to the grocery store in a year. Grocery stores are pretty safe if you’re wearing masks, so maybe that’s step one,” she said. “And then maybe move up to lunch outside with a friend who is also fully vaccinated.”
How an extroverted introvert like myself manages post-pandemic anxiety
In 2019, I wrote this piece about being an extroverted introvert. Back then, I found myself toeing the line when it came to my tendencies and preferred ways to socialize. More than two million people read it, so it seemed as if others could relate.
But two years and one pandemic later, and I’ve found myself more on the introverted side of the fence.
Why it matters: The pandemic has changed all of us in some way, whether we picked up a new hobby, strengthened or lost friendships, or got clarity on our future plans.
- These shifts will only become more apparent as the world starts to reopen.
The bright side: The past year has allowed me to adopt a slower-paced lifestyle filled with more intentional connections and commitments. It’s felt like the perfect way to recharge my introvert batteries without getting hit with a case of FOMO at every turn, and I don’t want to immediately jump back into my full-tilt, non-stop schedule.
But, as more of us get vaccinated and normal life is in sight, I’m struggling with mixed feelings.
The state of play: First and foremost, I’m feeling relief on so many levels. That goes without saying.
I’m feeling excited about getting to enjoy my favorite pre-pandemic activities again: meeting friends on the patio at NoDa Company Store, spontaneously popping into Paper Skyscraper between meetings, date nights out with my husband.
Yes, but: Coupled with my relief and excitement comes anxiety.
I feel out of practice when it comes to socializing with people I haven’t seen in a while, particularly in large groups. I’ve gotten used to my small “quarantine pod,” and I’m anxious about how I’ll re-develop those socializing muscles.
I’ve loved not feeling obligated to pack my schedule full until I’m scrambling to play catch-up on Sunday evenings.
There’s also a part of me that wonders if living through a pandemic will leave me permanently focused on health issues. You don’t realize how germy public spaces are until you spend a year obsessing about it, and I wonder if I’ll be able to shut that part of my brain off.
Tips for coping:
If you’re like me and are experiencing a plethora of feelings as we prepare to re-enter the real world, Leah Finch, a licensed clinical mental health counselor and owner of Goldfinch Counseling and Coaching, has some tips:
(1) Know that it’s OK to feel this way: “I think the most helpful thing is an acknowledgment that this is all so normal. It’s not just you. You’re not an anxious person, you’re a person who is experiencing normal and natural worries,” Finch says.
(2) Rely on the coping mechanisms you’ve developed: We’ve all had to find new ways to soothe ourselves during a stressful year, and Finch says it’s important to continue to utilize these strategies as we reacquaint ourselves with our pre-COVID lives.
- “That may be taking a few deep breaths or doing some stretches to calm the body and the mind.”
(3) Don’t focus on eliminating anxiety completely: Unfortunately, if your end goal is to make your anxiety totally disappear forever, you’ll only end up frustrated, Finch says. Everyone faces the occasional bout of anxiety. It’s part of being human.
- But if this anxiety impedes your ability to enjoy life, Finch recommends asking yourself, “Are these thoughts helping or hurting me?’” This can help you identify detrimental patterns so you can get out of that unproductive thought loop.
(4) Mental health isn’t linear: If you’re a person who normally has your anxiety well-managed, finding yourself facing anxious thought patterns again can be discouraging. You might fear that you’re regressing or that your work has gone to waste.
- “Remind yourself that mental health isn’t linear. It’s a journey,” Finch says. “If you’re experiencing symptoms, know that you’re not regressing, you’re just learning how to relate to your anxiety in new ways. You are not your anxiety. It doesn’t have control over you.”
(5) Soak in the moments when you’re feeling good: “The flip side of acknowledging that anxiety is normal is being really mindful of moments where you’re not feeling anxious and allowing yourself to experience that moment. What does your body feel like? What are your sensations?” Finch says.
Cut each other some slack as we head back into the world.
We’ve just been through a collective trauma, and it’s inevitably changed us all in one way or another.
Be patient with yourself and with the people you love as you find your footing and learn how to connect with each other again.
The Galactic Core of the Milky Way is starting to show up in the early morning hours.
-Sun Valley Resort ☆☆•*¨*•.¸¸
From the intimate perspective of three friends and neighbors in mid-nineteenth century Auburn, New York—the “agitators” of the title—acclaimed author Dorothy Wickenden tells the fascinating and crucially American stories of abolition, the Underground Railroad, the early women’s rights movement, and the Civil War.
Harriet Tubman was one of the most important conductors on the underground railroad and hid the enslaved men, women and children she rescued in the basement kitchens of Martha Wright, Quaker mother of seven, and Frances Seward, wife of Governor, then Senator, then Secretary of State William H. Seward.
Many of the most prominent figures in the history books—Lincoln, Seward, Daniel Webster, Frederick Douglass, Charles Sumner, John Brown, Harriet Beecher Stowe, William Lloyd Garrison—are seen through the eyes of the protagonists. So are the most explosive political debates: about women’s roles and rights during the abolition crusade, emancipation, and the arming of Black troops; and about the true meaning of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.
Beginning two decades before the Civil War, when Harriet Tubman was still enslaved and Martha and Frances were young women bound by law and tradition, The Agitators ends two decades after the war, in a radically changed United States. Wickenden brings this period of our history to life through the richly detailed letters her characters wrote several times a week. Like Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Team of Rivals and David McCullough’s John Adams, Wickenden’s The Agitators is revelatory, riveting, and profoundly relevant to our own time. [Amazon]
The New Yorker Radio Hour
“The Agitators” is a book about three women—three revolutionaries—who changed the world at a time when women weren’t supposed to be in public life at all. Frances Seward was a committed abolitionist who settled with her husband in the small town of Auburn, in western New York. One of their neighbors was a Quaker named Martha Coffin Wright, who helped organize the first convention for women’s rights, at Seneca Falls. Both women harbored fugitives when it was a violation of federal law. And, after they met Harriet Tubman, through the Underground Railroad, Tubman also settled in Auburn. “The Agitators,” by The New Yorker’s executive editor, Dorothy Wickenden, tells their interlocking stories. “These people were outsiders, and they were revolutionaries,” Wickenden tells David Remnick. “They were only two generations separated from the Declaration of Independence, which they believed in literally. They did not understand why women and Black Americans could not have exactly the same rights that had been promised.”
‘You can easily guess that in using the term “innocent bystander” I had to examine my conscience to see whether I was being facetious. I do not remember if I smiled when I first thought of it; but, in any case, I am no longer smiling. For I do nothing the question of our innocence can be a matter for jesting, and I am no longer certain that it is honorable to stand by as the helpless witness to a cataclysm, with no other hope than to die innocently and by accident, as a nonparticipant.’
[Raids one the Unspeakable]
Never let the fear of this world distract you from the immense beauty, infinite mystery & deep love all around you.
The 21st century, the United States of America, capitalism, our churches and our political parties, and all the rest are passing away. We might recall the Buddhist heart sutra “Gone, gone, entirely gone” when we watch old movies—even celebrities and stars die. We can take this as a morbid lesson, or we can receive it as the truth ahead of time, so we’re not surprised, disappointed, and angry when it happens in our generation.
In times like these, our prayer may need to be expressive and embodied, visceral and vocal. How else can we pray with our immense anger and grief? How else can we pray about ecocide, about the death that humanity is unleashing upon Mother Earth and upon ourselves? How else can we break through our inertia and despair, so that we don’t shut down and go numb? – Fr. Richard Rohr
Walk. And pray. Contemplation.
Terry Tempest Williams
Who have we become? “This is a violation against ever woman and life-giver,” says Regina Lopez-Whiteskunk
A prehistoric petroglyph panel near Moab was defaced with the words ‘White Power’
The Bureau of Land Mangement is offering a $10,000 reward for relevant information about those who committed the vandalism
Salk Lake Tribune
Known as the Birthing Rock, the boulder features petroglyphs on all four of its accessible sides that date from the Archaic period to more modern Ute inscriptions, including dozens of ancestral Puebloan-era images, including a woman giving birth.
Sometime late Monday night or early Tuesday, however, vandals descended on the roadside rock and scratched it with obscenities, a crude penis and the words “white power” directly over the top of two anthropomorphic figures.
The Bureau of Land Management is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the vandalism.
Al Jazeera English
‘India’s devastating second wave was fuelled by a series of crowded events, including mass rallies addressed by PM Narendra Modi, religious holidays and pilgrimages on the Ganges river — in pictures.’
India opened too quickly, no masks, large gatherings, few vaccinations…by choice.
331 (M) people in the U.S. Masks eased outside. Be wise. Distance. Small groups. Oregon is surging and variants are circulating. And please. Read the science. Vaccinate. -dayle
“They had no idea the virus could spread this fast.”
Fear and Loss: Inside India’s Coronavirus Crisis
New York Times
Jeffrey Gettleman, The South Asia bureau chief for The New York Times, based in Delhi.
COVID is here to stay. With so many hesitant, and anti-vaxxers, it is now believed we will never reach herd immunity in this country.
What will the psychology and existential remains be as we settle into a new existence? -dayle
Dr. David Pate, Idaho COVID task force:
“I am very pleased with many of the efforts being made to address vaccine hesitancy, but we lost our chance a year ago to rid ourselves of this virus and unfortunately, I suspect we are unlikely to reach herd immunity given more and more evidence that prior infection is not going to be as protective as we had hoped, the unwillingness of people to follow guidance that would allow us to control disease transmission and therefore the evolution of variants, and the currently inadequate numbers of people willing to be vaccinated. Most likely, we just have to prepare for SARS-CoV-2 to be endemic.”
[Christakis is a physician and sociologist who explores the ancient origins and modern implications of human nature. He directs the Human Nature Lab at Yale University, where he is the Sterling Professor of Social and Natural Science in the department of sociology, medicine, ecology and evolutionary biology, statistics and date science and biomedical engineering.’]
‘…and frequent funeral piles of the dead were continually burning.’ -Homer, The Iliad
‘Humanity has but three great enemies: fever, famine, and war; of these by far the greatest, by far the most terrible, fever.’ Sir William Osler 
New York Times
“The story changes daily and so do the prognostications about where this pandemic is going, how it will end (insofar as it ever does end), what toll it will take and whether it will serve as a critical inflection point, or not, for how we humans live on this planet. Will it deliver a deeply absorbed lesson, not just on disease preparedness but also on climate change and vanishing biological diversity, the three greatest problems we are facing and causing? Or will it drain away and be forgotten, as the 1918 influenza pandemic largely drained away, its lessons ignored and its grim particulars seemingly blocked from public memory for decades? Along with the prognostications we’re also getting postgnostications (it’s not my neologism), efforts to understand the past by predicting what happened: Where did this virus come from? A wild animal? Which animal? How did it manage to be so nefariously well adapted for human infection? How did it get into us at the start? Has it evolved since?
Given that Christakis is a physician and sociologist, the co-author of an earlier book about social networks and how they shape lives, the co-author also of an influential paper on “social contagion theory” and the co-director of the Institute for Network Science at Yale, one naturally expects that “network science” might afford him special insight into Covid-19.
M O O N
This can manifest as a difficult moon as aspects of wanting more freedom to move forward meet with limiting influences and hard work.
Resiliency and flexibility are very helpful during this time especially around unexpected changes, events, reversals and decisions. Be careful with being impulsive.
Put some practical thought into any important choices around changing or adjusting anything major in your life. Take this opportunity to tap into your own wisdom as well as to find a new courage for those changes you do want to make.
You may experience an inner tension that brings up any imbalance you feel around time – how you spend it, how you use your energy etc.
Use this full moon time to take an inventory of what you value so you can set intentions and get support around what is most important to you. We are all ready to move on, to go forward and experience more freedom.
And yet we are being pulled back to take yet another look at what needs to change, to be healed and to be released.
So, be patient, ask what can be healed, and do the work so you can move into the future from a solid and practical foundation and not one built on impulsive behavior. ~Lena
The full Moon in Scorpio is Monday, April 26 at 9:33 PM Mountain Daylight Time
“In a very real way, the shift from a pagan earth-based spirituality to the patriarchal Christian notion of man’s right to dominate nature was a causal factor contributing to what would one day become our environmental crisis.”
F O R E A R T H D A Y
Award winning film at the 2021 Sun Valley Film Festival. NatGeo photographer Brian Skerry discovers a profound whale culture filming the series over three years in 24 aqueous locations across the planet. Astonishingly beautiful and tender. Streaming on Disney+. #EarthDay2021
Executive Producer James Cameron: “It’s so important for people to understand and illuminate how these creatures think, how they feel, what their emotion is like, what their society is like, because we won’t protect what we don’t love.” [Deadline]
‘The Eurocentric view of property ownership requires to see land as disconnected from us, separating from the source of life. The Indigenous view, kcyie, recognizes our obligation to care for the land as we would care for our human relatives.’
-Fr. Richard Rohr
Climate Journalist Eric Holthaus:
“A Green New Deal is inevitable – if we keep on fighting for it.
This is a terrifying moment because it is so important, and the people who realize that – people on the front lines of climate violence around the world – are being told to wait.
The anger in these words I’m writing now is because I know that what needs to happen isn’t hard at all once we get enough people demanding it.
The best thing of all is there’s a shared vision of a world where every living thing matters. Building upon hundreds of years of wisdom, struggle, and science, we know that a flourishing human civilization is no longer possible without it being rooted in ecology and reverence for the interconnection and interdependence of us all on each other.
And, as it turns out, that vision of a better world is really really popular.
We have everything we need to make this happen. Don’t let anyone tell you that you need to wait any longer for a livable planet.”
A lot can change in five years. Or nothing at all.
June 7, 1958 to April 21, 2016
“Peace is more than the absence of war.”
Father Richard Rohr wrote this prayer yesterday after Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty of the murder of George Floyd. Richard and the Daily Meditations editorial team invite you to pray these words, along with your own, as your contemplative practice today.
Center for Action and Contemplation
Albuquerque, New Mexico
‘The event gets underway at 5 p.m. at Ketchum Town Square with music by Tylor and the Train Robbers. Their music will be followed by a showing of Teton Gravity’s Research’s 25-minute film “Fire on the Mountain” showcasing music by the Grateful Dead.’
[Eye On Sun Valley]