Friday, April 3, 2020

We Can Do Hard Things, Friday 4/3/20

From off the wide world webs

I don't know about you, Reader, but I find myself cycling through a whole lot of emotions each day beginning at about 5 am and continuing throughout the day, often capped off with a kind of easy dissociation and ending when I go to sleep (always untroubled, this is a gift I know). I woke this morning in a financial panic with apocalyptic scenarios that would make envious any thriller screenwriter, and I realized only after breathing through all of it that the panic comes from privilege -- the privilege of having everything that I need right now. Plus, the sun came up. So there's the FEAR ZONE, THE LEARNING ZONE and THE GROWTH ZONE.

Do you see how much one can grow, even in the darkest hours before dawn?

Today is a beautiful one in southern California. I've taught my students and am now ready for what we used to call "Spring Break." I have no idea what I'll be "doing" next week but somewhere in my tiny little mother mind™ I might sit down and pull out the GDB and get writing.

Oliver told me that during a zoom conference with his boss at the U of A (he works in the bookstore), they learned that the university is operating soon at a massive deficit and that many, many people will be laid off, including faculty. Cue a FEAR response (anger at why would they say these things in a meeting?), but instead I'm going to LEARN, and I'm going to take Oliver along. I recognize that the university, like all businesses and people, is trying to do its best. I ask him whether this was rumor that the boss was spreading or whether there's validity to it. I acknowledge that this whole thing is scary as shit but we can't control this part of it. 







It's super scary and unnerving, I share with Oliver, but right now, we're fine. We're making sandwiches, and I've got a job. You have an internship lined up for the summer that is still going to happen. We're all going to get through this but not unchanged.

Reader, tell me how you're experiencing fear, learning and growth.


  1. I'm waiting to learn or grow till my period is over, and staving off stark staring anxiety with carbs and occasional chocolate or crunchy things.
    I just found a California doctor treating spd with beta blockers, so I sent her an email asking if there's anyone here she'd recommend. And if not, I guess I have to talk to the GP...
    Information and maybe effort. I don't know, we'll see. Fear of grief floats ever around me.

  2. I'd like to think I'm in the Growth Zone, of course, but I'm probably not only still learning but still fearful in some ways. If that's even a realistic depiction of the stages of emotional progression through this event, which seems debatable.

    I hope you do get to work on your GDB. As for the university, I understand -- the school where I work is in financial crunch mode, too. I suppose it's common among pretty much all businesses now. Your message is right -- we'll get through, but not unchanged.

  3. I had five minutes of magic this morning when I discovered a weird property full of art out on the south tip of the island.

  4. Well, at the moment I'm not experiencing much in the old Fear Zone but if one of my own becomes infected, it'll be a completely different matter. Doing a lot of learning and according to the chart up there, I guess a little growing. Does watching chickens grow count? I don't see it there so maybe not. I am definitely trying to live in the here and now but I'm not focusing on the future. Seems to me that that would only lead to either fear or possibly false hope.
    I like Rebecca's answer.

  5. Sadly, my son is worse than this pandemic. He found out where Gracie lives and harasses her constantly. He's also harassing me. My goal this weekend is to get an order of protection in place for both Gracie and me.

    When my son texted me this morning I caught myself going off the deep end, as I do. So I took some deep breaths and realized there was nothing I could do that would change the outcome and let it go. I was mostly successful which surprised me and it didn't ruin the rest of the day.

    I really like that diagram you posted. I'm in between the fear and the learning zone but now I know that there is a growth zone to aim for so thank you.

    Stay safe my friend.

  6. I am going thru the Fear-Learning-Growth Cycle and Emotionally regulating is harder than usual. We're Okay and I do try to feel Calmness about that, so many aren't Okay right now and my Heart aches for them all. I have concerns for the Future, especially for the Young, so much has already changed drastically and continues to daily so I don't know what the New Normal will even look like for them? I'm going to aim for the Growth Zone and to attempt to spend more time there than in Fear, it's all a Process, isn't it?

  7. With the exorbitant cost of tuition, I find it surprising that universities are running out of money so quickly. The two highest paid employees at U of A are (no surprise here) their head basketball and football coaches, whose combined salaries total just under $4 million. Perhaps reduce their salaries before letting go of teachers and bookstore employees. Sigh..just wishing on a star. Hang tough everyone.

  8. I resonate with your comment about privilege. When I was in India, I knew KNEW that I lived in a palace with clean water to drink and plentiful food and so on.
    The hoarding here is a an example of our poverty of heart/mind. Toilet paper, really? Even our bottoms are privileged!

    My mood swings are not so bad now. The concentric circles are accurate for us humans. For me, there is the feeling of a new normal, a routine that is adjusted daily as we go through updates from our governors and the CDC and WHO. Now we're wearing masks. As I write this, I'm thinking that my mask making skills could be offered to my neighbors. I find myself making eye contact and smiling at strangers. Now with a mask, my smile will be implied.

    After this is 'over', people say we will be changed. I'm not so sure. Right now, we are in an awakened state. We are evaluating what is dear to us, what is precious, irreplaceable. When memory of this catastrophe fades, as it will, we will probably revert to our greedy ways. It's human nature. But for right now, this lesson is being learned by millions of us. We are temporary. We are not in control. We have inherent goodness and love in our hearts. We can practice gratitude and kindness because it is all we have to offer.

  9. Learning, learning, learning. And I am amazed because suddenly, people are looking for science, listening to scientists, getting their heads around concepts of data and verification and testing and for a split second, I think, if we can learn to do this now with this virus, we can tackle climate change next.

  10. It occurred to me the first time I saw that graphic (somewhere else on the web), that it describes lives of privilege. The fear zone for folks who don't have food or money to buy food or who are sick or who are working in jobs that are classified as "essential" and thereby exposing themselves every day looks a lot different than this fear zone. And all of it seems to be to go right back to a concept I've been puzzling on for months now - how we build systems that come to center themselves instead of centering the collective.(More about that on my blog) As for the rest, I love that you stopped to ask whether what Oliver heard was rooted in fact, and that you had a conversation with him about what life is like for you all now, today. Sending you all so much love. XO



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