These are Crazy Times
I need to make a confession. This is an exciting time to be a therapist. I used to work at the first Mental Health Urgent Care center in the country and I am reminded of all the mayhem that went on there, with how busy our business has become. Yes, we are going through a time of epic change globally and how are you surviving?
It is easy to get caught up in making ourselves right and others wrong. I hear it all day long, “People are not practicing social distancing, nor wearing a mask.” Yes, that is true, but who put us in charge of policing everybody? And, do you want to waste your time doing so instead of focusing on simply modeling those behaviors to others.
Being trained in crisis management the first skill I teach people is how to create the “Eye of the Hurricane” around them. Yes, the world may be going mad, but do you want to join in with them? People don’t realize that we have the ability to remain centered in our loving heart, regardless of what is going on around us. Does that mean that we agree to what is happening, and shouldn’t take action? Of course, not. It is important to respond to what others are doing in a balanced and calm manner in order to be heard.
Communication is only 10% verbal and the rest is emotion and body language. If we come out guns blazing, people will scatter and not listen, however, if we are calm in our communication, it betters the odds of being heard.
What is coming to the forefront in this chaotic time, is the separate worlds of those of color and those who are of the dominant culture. To me, this had been cooking ever since the pandemic began closing down businesses and the have nots continued to get nothing, while those in charge were rewarded with sometimes millions. Then, there it was, plastered all over the media the ancient injustice that people of color have dealt with for centuries. And how do we react to this? To be honest, we are going to react according to our internal filter which has its influence from our social group, our family system, and our own worldly experience.
Take a moment to check inside of you and feel your response to what has gone down with the civil rights movements going on around you. What is your reaction? Are you angry? Are you satisfied? Do you feel the looters are entitled to get away with the thefts and damage to property? Do you feel they need to be harshly treated? What amazed me, to be transparent, was the people rationalizing that since they were criminals they got the proper treatment. Execution, before the process of law is not going to move us forward in our evolution but thrust us back 100 years!
I chuckle at myself since therapists are trained to be neutral. Of course, I am in working with murderers and pedophiles, I can find compassion for them and even the policeman who shot the person recently. Still, I am human and I do care. With this said, how to handle the situation is another issue. Do we follow the guidance of Gandhi and Martin Luther King and be non-violent, or Malcolm X and fight fire with fire?
I am a huge fan of Carl Rogers who was a peacemaker in mostly the 1960s and 70s. He created encounter groups in which he brought warring factions together in a town hall-like meeting, sometimes upwards of 1,500 people, to talk about their differences. He was a great facilitator and began to show people how similar we all were: losses were experienced on both sides, each side had love and compassion for the members of their group, and soon it was discovered that they were all the same.
This is the point of this article – we are all the same and if we can learn from this outbreak of violence, learn to listen to one another, and see that we are all the same, then we have hope as a society. The preemptive strikes and justifying violence and killing needs to be a thing of the past if I could be so bold.
As a therapist, these matters are discussed with a twist – the more angry and hurt you are as a result of what is happening in the world, you have the opportunity for profound healing. The amount of anger you feel in this time period is equivalent to the amount of hurt you have experienced in your life. For those who have been suppressed, it is a time to talk about your pain, where it comes from, and in our program, the final step is applying love to the part inside of you that originally was wounded by the unthinkable deeds of another. Injustice seems to be worn on the sleeve of millions.
Do you want to further the violence or heal and move forward? This may seem like an easy question to answer but think again. Many people would rather be right, want to punish others, and hold onto their anger, as a birthright. What is under this anger? Do we heal through displays of anger? You cannot find the Light by dark means.
I believe in man and womankind. I believe we are evolving and are living in an era of incredible change. The poet Rumi reminds us that “the breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you. Don’t go back to sleep.” This reminds us that right from the morning time, we can break out of our habitual tendencies and become present. We don’t need to fall back into the same old patterns that got us stuck in the first place, we can continue to learn, grow, and above all love one another.
Compassionate Care is Always Available
There are many more tools and strategies you can use in your pursuit of happiness. Here is where we come in. Contact us at Basic Steps Mental Health and let us support and educate you on this journey back to your loving heart center. Imagine living a heart-centered life, regardless of what is happening externally. We’d love to be of help.
For 25 years, Dr. Scott Alpert, the clinical director of Basic Steps Mental Health, has treated over 7,000 people with mental health and addiction problems, using a Psychological approach that mixes and matches ten of the top approaches used in the industry. We are here virtually and in-person to help you get through this COVID-19 pandemic and many other difficulties you may be experiencing.
May you have good mental health.