Symbols are wonderful, they give us a way to look at a situation through a different context that may help give insight. Right now many of us are working hard on getting through the new constraints of the Covid-19 pandemic, so I thought I’d look at the feelings of being out of “in over our heads”, at risk, and helpless so many of us are feeling these days, by comparing it to the symbolism of being literally in over our heads.
I’m not sure that it’s applicable, but it may be. That’s sort of what symbols are for.
Step one is to hold your breath, and go back to where you fell in. To a certain extent I’m not sure we can return to where we were before a new virus none of our immune systems had encountered would be. But I do think that not breathing in that which will kill you is good. At this point we are using masks because we don’t really know if there’s virus in the air- so that’s not a good analogy for being underwater. Still, finding a way out, look for light. Look for what whatever “lights up your life” for you personally.
The second step is to get part of your body out, a bit at a time. I think of this would be being satisfied with small gains. Moving forward in tiny increments is still moving forward. Take the baby steps and inch your way to a better place. Take the little wins and build on them.
Third, they suggest that you get horizontal. Spread yourself out. Spread the load over as large an area as you can. Don’t try to let all the pressures push on one place, or that will tend to break whatever you are leaning on. Spread all your stresses over as many coping mechanisms and support systems as you can find. Have different friends each help you with different issues.
The rolling in the fourth step is simply one more way of saying keep your center low, and yet keep moving. Rolling is a way to move without putting pressure of your whole (or even half) body on one point. The world is fragile now, don’t add pressure anywhere because that could be a weak spot. As you use your whole body to roll, let your whole self make its way through the world. Try not to preference your mind or your emotions or your body, but let them work together.
When you think what’s supporting you is strong enough gradually start moving back toward normal. Crawl before you walk. Be aware of what’s around you, and keep your eye on the prize: safety, warmth, and a place where you can relax and shed what is sucking energy out of you and dragging you down.
OK, this is pushing an analogy pretty hard, but sometimes we can get something good out of playing with metaphors. If what was solid before no longer supports us, we have to get safe before we start trying to work out what to do after that. We aren’t in control of the weather, only what we do in response to where we are at the moment. Nothing we do will change that this virus has arrived and we can’t tell if it’s around, but we can do what we can to keep ourselves safe, and to go forward from there.
Together we’ll make it through. Stay safe, and do feel free to share any analogies or symbols you may come up with!