I’ve spent the last week in bed. Pretty sure it was a virus. I’m not so sure it was the big one… it felt more like mild mono plus a massive caffeine headache (on second thought, the caffeine headache was probably just that…seeing as a diuretic isn’t the most helpful ‘clear liquid’ – and as I don’t drink it clear anyway, it was best to take a pause from my drug of choice).

I spent much of that horizontal time looking at my phone when I wasn’t sleeping (my screen time report yesterday was APPALLING), and during that time, I read no small number of articles.

This article is the one that stuck with me through that entire time, and I hope you’ll take the time to read it — it really speaks well to our other US pandemic: a mental health crisis of epic proportions.

Many of our business leaders and church leaders and political leaders suffer from Narcissistic Personality Disorder: a pathological need for power and admiration.

You’re seeing it as grocery and healthcare workers are presented with wage and salary cuts as demands on their time, energy, and health are skyrocketing.

You’re seeing it in the creepy insistence of pastors desperate to pass offering plates. You’re seeing it as governors and supreme court justices overrule decisions made in the interest of public safety.

People who give a shit about other people don’t make decisions like these.

Gaslighting is emotional abuse. You’ll experience it when someone who doesn’t give a shit about your needs lies to you in the interest of manipulating you into doing or believing what they want you to.

What a Narcissist is trying to get you to do via gaslighting is not in your best interest (if it were, they wouldn’t need to gaslight you). You know you’re being lied to because you feel icky when you think about it (or, you’re numb). Gaslighting – Narcissistic abuse – impacts our mental health: fear, anxiety, depression are all normal when we’re caught in a cycle of abuse. Any wonder why these are rampant conditions in the US of A right now?

This Pause has allowed many of us to get a breather from some of our abusers… bosses, marketing messages, anything that tells us we need to earn something or spend something in order to be ‘enough.’ (Not coincidentally, it’s also put some of us in dangerous situations *with* abusers: if you’re unsafe, DM me and I’ll do what I can to help you network to support).

But think about this: do you really want to return to a cubicle? Do you really need to get on a germ-ridden plane or boat to experience wonder? Do you really need to buy something to ‘solve’ a first world problem (now that you know it could kill someone)? What is it that you’re really after with these choices?

I’d argue that it’s the chemical rush of dopamine…so maybe see if you can find that elsewhere: in a clover patch (yeah, after the snow melts), in a word puzzle, on an agate hunt… it’s the thrill of discovery you’re after, and that’s available any time you decide to hunt for something. Hell, just thinking about the thrill of holding someone else’s hand right now? That’s potent anticipation, indeed…

With that reframing in mind, give some thought to the things that might be working *better* for you since our Stay-At-Home orders went into place. Yes- there are trade-offs. And yet, maybe they’re worthy trade-offs…

What does the good life – after COVID – look like for you? Hold firm to that vision: if we can tackle *both* pandemics and climate breakdown with a common suite of regenerative solutions that put life – flora, fauna, all of it, all of us – first, we might just wind up somewhere incredibly good…

Before you click elsewhere, here’s the article, one last time: Prepare for the Ultimate Gaslighting*

Thanks for taking the time.

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