Discomfort, Grief and COVID


Feeling fatigued? Loss of motivation? Anxiety? Maybe what you are feeling is Anticipatory Grief. This article in Harvard Business Review really hits it on the head: (Click here

They state, “There’s denial, which we say a lot of early on: This virus won’t affect us. There’s anger: You’re making me stay home and taking away my activities. There’s bargaining: Okay, if I social distance for two weeks everything will be better, right? There’s sadness: I don’t know when this will end. And finally there’s acceptance. This is happening; I have to figure out how to proceed.”

The article outlines the stages of grief and has suggestions for how we can handle them. For example, “Our goal is not to ignore those images or to try to make them go away — your mind won’t let you do that and it can be painful to try and force it. The goal is to find balance in the things you’re thinking.” — Balance here is not the kind of balance of precarious balance - standing on tippy toes at a cliff edge — just the opposite — instead finding internal support, finding our skeleton, and how it supports us, and through that, our balance returns. A good way to find balance is to take a Feldenkrais class.

Anticipatory grief is the mind going to the future and imagining the worst. To calm yourself, you want to come into the present.” Come into the present by sensing - the here-and-now. Feel your breath, smell a fresh muffin. More than this, sense your weight, your movement — feel it right now. It brings you into the present. Again, the Feldenkrais Method is a great way to become more present.

Another suggestion in the article is “... let go of what you can’t control.” Attend to what you can control. For example, your breath; the movement of your eyes, rolling your head on the floor. Then raise a limb and realize that gravity is constantly pulling it back. You realize that you must let go of the effort to control gravity. You surrender to it, and then lightness of being emerges.

The article moves toward a great upwelling of optimism. This comes from saying to oneself, “This is a temporary state. It helps to say it.” More than this, it helps to reflect on concrete examples which something felt insurmountable and then we persevered. We all have many examples of these, large and small. Again, in Feldenkrais classes, the lessons often lead us through seemingly impossible positions and actions and at the end we have an incredible sense of well being that emerges from doing something we thought was not possible.

We ”will find meaning”. I believe that this is the overarching sense- the lack of meaning. And by passing through these different ”stages” of grief, we will emerge with a new sense of the meaning of the experience; often times this sense is more symbolic, yet it provides us with a sense of personal safety and integrity on moving forward.

Tags: Feldenkrais, grief, sadness, denial, let go, control, optimism, find meaning