I have been struggling to find light in the past few weeks. With interests in public health and living with a post-stem cell transplant cancer thriver, COVID-19 has been on my radar since January. After the pressures of navigating cancer treatment and embracing being physically distanced for much of the past year, I was looking forward to the freedom of spring. To be able to dance again. I guess for us, we at least had some practice for this time of physical distancing.
I am well versed on the impact and research on how positive emotions are essential to health and wellbeing, however, I could not get myself there authentically. I live with the unstoppable will of Jason Berger, which is a force that does not quit. So, I have witnessed what that will can do for your health. All the initial “embrace the positive” posts of leaders that I follow, while well meaning, fell short and seemed inappropriate as they did not acknowledge the loss. The reality is, there will be great loss and many are under unbearable stress. How can I acknowledge this fact in a balanced manner? It wasn’t until I read this passage by Clarissa Pinkola Estés, PhD, that I felt a shift in my soul which gave me a moment of solace. I shouldn’t be surprised to discover she was the author of one of the books I read in my 20’s, also when I was searching. A book that continues to define me as a woman trying to find my place in this world.
When I read this passage last Friday, my day started with the JAMA interview of the ICU physician from Lombardy, Dr Maurizio Cecconi. I was humbled by his dedication, service, and leadership during this time. This passage below speaks to the will of all the healthcare professionals that are on the front lines of this unimaginable crisis. Never in our time has it been so true, we are in this together.
There is eventually light in darkness. I wonder what will come out of this for us all? These are difficult lessons and defining moments which will give rise to the opportunity to create our future. Although I wish it was for different reasons, the leadership skills of individuals like the Ohio Department of Health Director, Dr. Amy Acton, are shining bright. She even has her own Facebook fan page with over 81K members. So, as I am reminded of Mr. Rogers quote about scary times, “look for the helpers,” I have found hope in Dr. Cecconi and Dr. Acton as they exemplify “what great ships are built for.”