Have you Been “COVID-ed”

And who has not has some interaction with COVID-19? According to the World Health Organization as of May 6th, 2020 the following countries haven’t reported any cases of COVID-19: Comoros, Lesotho, Turkmenistan, North Korea, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Cook Islands, Nauru, Niue and Palau. The debate is out if these islands were mostly spared because the countries were quickly locked down, preventing travel and tourism. Hm… Take to mind no cases have been reported versus no reported cases. I enjoy debates (to the dread of ex’s) and often get accused of not giving direct answers. My job is to get us to think outside the box.

Even if North Korea has no reported cases everyone around the world, including North Korea, has been “COVID-19ed.” Daily we hear the word, COVID-19. We evidence the impact of the virus in seeing people wearing masks, stepping aside to others to pass, limiting human contact, and yes, even those that are openly rebelling against the virus and share a pint or two. My boyfriend schooled me that when we go to the store we go to buy not to shop. Gone are the days of pursuing the isles for the sale or tasting the grapes. The word COVID-19 is heard daily on the TV, in the news, in written print, in electronic print. We can’t escape its tentacles. With the abundance of auditory and visual COVID-19 stimuli how can help but be anxious or stressed?

So glad you asked or hopeful you thought about the question. Let’s get some background first. Our brains get hijacked. To be more specific our amygdala gets hijacked. The amygdala is where emotions are given meaning and attached to associations and responses to them (emotional memories). When sensing a threat our smoke detector goes off and automatically activates the fight-or-flight response. We are groomed by design to protect ourselves whenever we sense a threat. You are not feeling anxious or stressed because you want to; it happens automatically. Let me repeat that, you don’t feel anxious, stressed, or afraid because you want to; no, your natural instinct to survive kicks in.

Our smoke detector goes off warning us something is up which then signals our neural pathway to our prefrontal cortex (PFC). The PFC gets the alarm and starts to shut down. When the PFC shuts down so does our orientation, our memories become skewed, our decision-making is compromised, and so does our access to multiple perspectives. I already stated, we don’t want to feel anxious, stressed, or with fear; it is an automatic response to survival. What we don’t want to do is to get stuck in the overwhelming emotion(s).

Emotions are neither good or bad. Emotions remind us we are humans. What are we to do in response to being COVID-19ed’? Offer ourselves compassion. We are living in unprecedented times. As our president said, “People have died that have never died before,” (thought I would add humor). Anxiety, Stress, and Fear are reminders that you are alive and are surviving. Thanks to neuroplasticity (Our brain capacity to adapt) we can alter the neuro pathways and ease the anxiety, stress, or fear.

COVID-19 may be prevalent in our world as a verb, let’s make it a noun. Ways to become de-COVID-19ed’: Listen to your favorite song, Dance when no one is watching, dance when they are watching, take a breathe break, go for walk, go for a run, watch nature, experience a sunrise, experience a sunset, make it point to be grateful for something each day. And stop being hard on yourself. Your amygdala has been activated; you are only human. Don’t ignore that truth just know it and live out your best life today. After all, we are only guaranteed the moment(s) we have now.

Carpe Diem,


It’s Going to be OKAY. Really?

I was talking to a friend on the phone. I have recently purchased a home. The home is older then I am and my age is more than you can count on your fingers and toes. I had sent some funds aside for remodeling or much better put upgrading. What I failed to set aside was the mind frame that I had just purchased an old home and with old homes come, well things that need to get fixed. Leave it to friends to remind of your reality. “You purchased an old home.” No, my non-favorite response from my friend is not, “It’s going to be okay.” No kidding! But right now it doesn’t feel okay.

I don’t know about you, those 5 words pierce my heart and invalidate my feeling. Yes, I may be sensitive at that point. That is my right as an individual. I know it is going to be okay. eventually – now is the struggle. The awareness of the now takes versus futuristic thinking. What would it be like if you gave me room to be with my emotions? If I could sit with my stress? If I could sit with my anxiety? If I could just sit with me…..? I could be with my emotion then allow the feeling to flow without minimizing or maximizing the emotion? Your part would be to be my witness.

Emotions are not a bad word nor such a terrible feeling to feel. Perhaps we have spent too much time avoiding emotions and now we have to learn Emotional Intelligence (EI). EI is, for those who do not know, is the ability to identify and manage one’s own emotions, as well as the emotions of others. There are books written on EI. I hold counseling sessions for adults and kids who struggle with EI. Think about that for a moment. We as a society have lost the skill of expressing our emotions or being able to read emotions in others which indirectly impacts our level of empathy and compassion. We fluctuate from being mad to being happy and we label each other bipolar.

Four mental and psychological processes are involved in feeling: Arousal, situation, interpretation, followed by behavior. EI demands awareness of how emotions influence our thinking, judgment, and interpersonal behaviors. Our emotions are responses to our arousal states. Self-awareness is key to our authenticity, sense of agency, and impactful relationships.

Next time when life becomes difficult or when we get disturbing news or when stressful situations appear persistent allow yourself compassion. Not, it is not a good situation. Allow yourself the emotion of disappointment or pain. Don’t catastrophize simple notice. If you notice your friend going through a difficult time be there witness. Give them an elbow high five or an empathic expression to let them know they have been heard and that you will be there for the ride. It’s going to be okay; for right now just you may need to cry your tear or eat that chocolate. Take a few deep breathes and rest in the beauty of being human.

Emotional Intelligence Frameworks, Charts, Diagrams & Graphs
Just for fun see how your Emotional Intelligence rates.

Carpe Diem, Gloria

Yikes! I am stuck parenting during the Pandemic. Where’s the Village?

The feeling of another COVID-19 day, with the news report of who is or who is not wearing a mask. Statistical unemployment reports and reports of how many people globally have contracted the virus along with deaths contributed to the virus. There is not a day that goes by that we don’t hear the word COVID-19. To top that off we are having to be parents 24/7 and be teachers at that.

Wait, let’s think about that. When we decided to go through with the pregnancy, gave birth and brought them home it became official. We were parents. I have children. All of which I homeschooled. No they did not wear matching outfits, I did not sew their clothes and we did not churn our butter. We were a military family and to promote continuity of education they were home schooled. Two of them were home schooled through high school while the other kids were home schooled into their high school careers.

Does homeschooling award me a badge of honor? No. Does it make me an expert on parenting. No. There is not a single person who is an expert. Our kids are individuals with no particular prototype. What homeschooling afforded me was an opportunity to get to know my kids learning styles, help them develop within their learning styles and give me chance to reparent myself.

Reparenting is giving yourself what you didn’t receive in your childhood. When an adult recognizes certain personality traits that are a result of faulty treatment in their childhood reparenting becomes a tool to makes requisite changes in the affected personality trait. In a healthy environment our caregivers were actualized people who allowed their children to develop uniquely as kids. Perhaps your parents were like so many others who were not self actualized and parented out of unhealthy models. My parents were both alcoholics and their was abuse in the home. My childhood memories are lost in the dep recesses of my unconsciousness. My parenting models came from watching the Brady Bunch. They were the only intact family I saw. There was my Three sons, but the mom was dead. Their was the Andy Griffith Show but that mom was not around. Their was the Partridge family. There was no dad. Good Times came a bit later. There was a mom and day and of course Dynomite!

What does reparenting and teaching our kids at home during the crisis have to do with one another? Well, being “stuck” with each other for prolonged periods of times tends to expose the true nature of self The true nature of self is rooted within the ego part of self. When you child starts to get on your nerves is it really about them or what part of self is being challenged.? What is the child doing that is awakening that part of self that doesn’t want to be bothered? How weren’t you tolerated as a child that now is being counter transferred onto your own child?

WE have been given a gift. Many of us have the challenge of working and being with our kids at home; yet, it is a gift of time which you can never gain back. Take the time to reparent yourself as you parent your child. Allow your child to make and process mistakes. Model how to delay gratification, work. Model how to achieve goals and do as a person with integrity. Model self compassion. Model and practice emotional intelligence by giving words to your own emotions and noticing where you feel them in your body. Model for your kids the ability to view yourself objectively from the perspective of others. Self reflect by examining situations without judgment. And practice and model the ability to be and be present. This isn’t an easy task. Parenting is not easy; however, it is an amazing call on your life. To be able to shape and cultivate a life that will be contributing citizens and overall good people.

We need more of those types of people. Let is start with your reparenting. Maybe this time isn’t so much about teaching kids academics. Perhaps it is about sizing the moment and allowing for curiosity to arise and experience your best life so that your family can experience their best lives yet.

Don’t hesitate to reach out for more help on how to reparent or how to parent during this time of crisis. You can do this with or without the Village.

Carpe Diem, Gloria

Gratitude transformed into Salus Vita (My Best Life)

Gratitude. Gratitude is the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness. Gratitude is not simply an attitude; it is something that flows out of you from you. An attitude is a way of feeling or acting toward a person, thing, or situation. We can surmise that Gratitude has its roots in attitude; however, is cultivated by a feeling. This is where it gets tricky because feelings can lie to you and often do.

Feelings are an emotional state or reaction based on your subjective experiences. Our feelings don’t have to lie to us they are just doing their job. Our feelings are trying to protect us and are based on our previous experiences within the world we behold. Many things may produce a feeling response such as being in the moment, triggers from the past, worrying about the future, fantasies, not allowing ourselves to feel happy because we feel undeserving, paranoia, unresolved grief and pain, traumatic experiences, and the list goes on. There is no end to the amount of feeling (both positive and negative) that flows through our lives on a daily basis. How we can express gratitude in such a fallen world where feeling so often gets highjacked?

Slowing down the process. Don’t push away the negative feeling away simply notice the feeling without judgment. Shift into an attitude of gratitude then allow the attitude to manifest itself into your life. “Thank you I can feel.” “Thank you for this awareness.” “Thank you for time to be and creating space to be.” Gratitude will not change your situation. What gratitude does is to help us experience more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve our health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.

13 Most Popular Gratitude Exercises & Activities [2019 Update]

Join me on a two week gratitude challenge. For the next 14 days when you wake and and when you go to bed say something you are thankful. Write these down daily. At the end of the week read all 14 cards aloud. Take your breathes in between and notice a life being transformed into your Best Life yet.

Carpe Diem,


Transforming my COVID Anxiety

Uncertainty is an inescapable part of life. At what point does uncertainty transform into Anxiety versus life transformation that brings on the “next” of our life’s journey? Anxiety is a response to perceived threat or danger which is felt by biochemical changes in the body that is supported by personal experiences that are undergirded by implicit and explicit memories. This memory bank stores up the feelings of the past which shapes anxiety into a feeling or augments the imagination of what might happen in the future. Does the difference between anxiety as a feeling versus anxiety as experience really matter?

Yes. It is the difference between feeling (being) and believing in that emotion. Feeling certainly is reminders that we feel although they may or may not be the truth. Try this ABCED technique for anxiety.

Attention: Sit with the anxiety and notice where you feel the emotion in your body. On a scale from 0 to 10 where 0 is no disturbance and 10 is the greatest disturbance. How does your anxiety scale? Now, notice where you feel the emotion in your body. How big does the emotion feel in that area of your body? Notice the intensity. Is there any warmth associated with where you feel it in your body? Is it a throbbing sensation or heavy lingering sensation? Just notice that sensation in your body without attaching a narrative. (Don’t give the anxiety a story. An example of attaching a story is telling yourself you feel this way because you might get COVID-19) . Notice the feeling in your body without justification. If it helps close your eyes. If not focus on the area in your body where you notice the emotion. Do this for about 2 minutes and take what I call 4/6/8 count breathes. Breathe in for 4 seconds, hold for 6 seconds, and breathe out slowly for 8 seconds. Do another scale check and notice what has happened to the emotion in your body. Repeat if the scale has not dropped to a manageable number.

Believe? Is this Anxiety believable (Based on logic) or based on an automatic thought process (Images or mental activity that occur as a response to a trigger). Sometimes our thoughts happen so quickly that we fail to notice them. Automatic thoughts fall into the following categories: Arbitrary Inference, Overgeneralization, Dichotomous thinking, Selective Abstractions, Magnification, Minimization, Catastrophic thinking, or Personalization. For the purpose of CORONA Virus, I would venture we tend to Overgeneralize, Have dichotomous thinking, Selective abstraction, Magnification, and or Catastrophize.

Challenge: Challenge the believability of the thought. What is the bigger picture? How might I think about this if I were calmer? Finally, think about the following quotes: “Men are disturbed not by things, but by the view which they take of them.” Epictetus. Don’t let your reflection on the whole sweep of life crush you. Don’t fill your mind with all the bad things that might still happen. Stay focused on the present situation and ask yourself why it’s so unbearable and can’t be survived.” Marcus Aurelius.

Discount the unbelievable thoughts which have been debilitating. Visualize them float into the air like a hot air balloon. Each word takes float. Practice your 4/6/8 count breathing three times.

Experience peace instead of Anxiety. This peace is in being and beholding the liminal space. Letting go of what was and availing yourself to what is next. We are a resilient people. We are a resilient Nation.

COVID-19 has ushered in change and awakened feelings of anxiety which are par to the course. Although we cannot control the anxiety from occurring my hope is that each of us uses the ABCDE techniques to quell to the emotion of anxiety instead of allowing the emotion to dictate how we are going to live out the COVID-19 crisis.

Carpe Diem,


Liminal Space

I learned a new word today during the virtual meditation class; Liminal. Thankful that these days we do most everything virtual I was able to look up the word while a discussion took place. Liminal is the transforming space between what was and the next. COVID-19 has thrust us into a Liminal Space. In this space the capacity for peace is present.

COVID-19 brings about many unknowns that activates fear. Am I going to be able to open up my business again? I am going to be able to pay the bill? How far behind will my kids get academically? Will my marriage last? Am I going to get sick? Will my loved one get sick? Will the person I know who is sick die? Will they find a cure? What will happen to our health care? How far will Social Distancing go? Will I have to become a Vegan or Vegetarian because of meat contamination? Questions go on and on and if you watch the news daily you notice questions continue to go unanswered and more questions are created.

Before COVID-19 we lived in a world was a place where we experienced life first hand. We felt the touch of another human being, we hung out together and laughed in real-time. We went to sporting events and cheered on our favorite teams. We went to happy hours, yoga classes, went to our places of worship, and met our neighbors.

COVID-19 has brought on a world of fear. Fear is justifiable in light of the pandemic; however, we do not want to allow fear to cast a shadow over our Liminal Space. The emotion of fear awakens the Amygdala (Fight, Flight, or Freeze response ) which triggers the hippocampus (where memory is stored) into activation which impacts the prefrontal cortex (decision making part of the brain). So we can say, A + H+ PC = Assess Threat after which we can understand if our fear response is based on reason or based on emotion.

Fear is a basic emotion such as is joy, trust, fear, surprise, sadness, disgust, anger, anticipation. Emotions are subjectively based and a reminder that we humans beings who feel. Notice the fear without a narrative and notice how your liminal space grows. This space allows for your journey to continue. The unknown has a great capacity for just that…to transform. The unknown can become anything. Our propensity is to think the unknown means something bad. The Buddhist saying it that, it is neither bad or good. It is.” That’s Liminal Space, a threshold of potential to continue on building a life of meaning and purpose despite the pandemic.

Martin Seligman, often regarded as the father of positive psychology, describes three paths to happiness: the Pleasant Life (Hollywood’s view of happiness), The Good Life (focused on personal strengths and states of “flow”), and the Meaningful Life. COVID-19 has stripped away the Pleasant life and has given each of us an opportunity to transform our lives into the Good Life and the Meaningful Life. If you have been living the Good and Meaningful life, hats off to you and may this time confirm your journey. For those of us we were getting caught up in the Pleasant life may our perspective be that of relishing in what money can’t buy or the ego can’t feed.

It is important to understand that the Liminal Space does not mean pushing away negative emotions or making as if a crisis is not occurring. The liminal space makes room for the inevitable states. If we learn to wait and allow for the Liminal Space our capacity to live out our best life yet will be materialized because we don’t fight against the inevitable. We approach crisis intentionally and rather than being paralyzed we boldly approach the space confidently being assured that beauty to come forth from the ashes. That life may not look as it did before COVID-19 yet it will be beautiful for beauty will come forth from the ashes.

“Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.”
― Rabindranath Tagore

Carpe Diem,