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Okay, Corona (a Call for Submissions)

A graphic RX template with request for use of narrative medicine to cope with the COVID pandemic.

No doubt, you are one powerful creature. You managed to cage an entire country in only a few weeks time! You are a force to be reckoned with & yet, I’ve been wrestling with this letter to you for weeks…. I have so much to say to you – & about you – it literally hurts! But, this project really isn’t about me. It’s about a bridge. About bridging the gaps that prevent us from reaching our greatest potential – as individuals AND as pack mates.

Talking to you,COVID-19, helps. It helps me to peel back the layers, so as to maintain perspective; but I’m stuck – too many questions unanswered! Tell me: Have you come for a reason? A force of nature – here & now – to remind us of our place on this planet? Of natural order, itself?? Are you as dangerous as you seem? To what degree shall we work to prevent your transmission & to what end shall our lives remain on hold??

Trying to make sense of the uncertainty & the unknown, I wonder:Is this a test? A trap, maybe? Are you asking that we look closer at our very own (perhaps faulty) neurological wiring? FIGHT, FLIGHT or FREEZE; pull TOGETHER or fall APART – do you know it’s in our DNA?? To what degree must we scramble to ensure, now, that we have ‘enough’? Have done ‘enough’?? Asked to keep a safe “social distance” & to evaluate our own risk factors, many worry along a similar thread: What is it that I truly need, now? Who is it that I can earnestly trust? Am I to care for others? Will others care for me??

Perhaps this is – instead – a wish granted. Is this a long sought-after opportunity for respite? The ultimate opportunity for self- & community-care?? With space & time to consider, what is it that I truly long for now that so many things have been placed on hold? Have I managed any sort of newfound appreciation in life? Newfound respect?? Am I called to tie up ‘loose ends’? To repair discord in my relationships?? When the day is done – & if you come for me – will I still wonder about my worth? Am I ‘enough’…?!?

In moments like this, as a counselor & a coach, I am reminded of the gift that is: shared humanity. I am also reminded of our perfectly imperfect human condition, which predisposes each & every one of us to a lifetime of patterned responses triggered by stress: automatic thinking, emotional reactivity & ‘negative’ habits as coping. Brené Brown, PhD. LMSW (another social worker) says, <strong”We can do hard things.” We can & will experience suffering, illness, death, & uncertainty; but we can also “rise strong” & “dare greatly.” We can do hard things, but first we’ve got to “show-up” & “be seen”. From this, I know: Ruminating in isolation is not enough.

To bridge the gaps that prevent us from knowing our true potential, we’ve got to speak-up & speak-out about our own perfectly imperfect experiences. We’ve got to show courage by disclosing the contents of our minds & of our hearts, so that we can receive empathy & gain perspective in turn. If the aim is to rise strong in your wake, we have to connect with ourselves & with each other – now – while we’re in it: caught in your tide & currents of change. After all, courage is contagious; & (as Brown says) “Every time we choose courage, we make everyone around us a little better & the world – a little braver.”

May this letter serve as an invitation – a call for courage, for authentic relation & for connection in turn; despite quarantine.! Just write. No length or content requirements. No expectations for grandiosity, critical insight or knowledge display. No signature required. Just write. From your heart & about your experience as it unfolds – this is a call for submissions. A call for contribution to this shared blog. Because together, we too are a force to be reckoned with. #Stongertogether #Neveralone. Now, let’s build bridges!

In Service & Sisterhood,
This Blog’s Manager

Dear Diagnosis Affirmation Key

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