Mental health during Covid 19 is a thing. And it’s going to be an issue for a while.

We’re all struggling with ongoing Covid-19 trauma. No matter how well we’re doing, we’re all feeling it.

In this episode, Melanie shares research data and coping suggestions from Dr. Diane E. Meier, the longtime director of the Center to Advance Palliative Care at New York City’s Mount Sinai Hospital. Dr. Meier is also a 2008 recipient of a MacArthur Foundation “genius” fellowship.

About the Covid pandemic, Dr. Meier says, “The fear and anxiety is completely different. It’s not that getting a diagnosis of dementia or cancer or kidney failure is not frightening. It is, but it’s somewhat normalized. You know people it’s happened to. Whereas the Covid pandemic — there was so much interesting coverage marking the 500,000th death about how invisible all the grieving is and how the whole country is in a state of numbness and denial because it is all too much to take in. It is too much to process.”

As a result, Dr. Meier says, “people are trying desperately to make room for one’s inner life.”

We’ve got two feet in the Before Times. And one foot in the not-yet-here world. We’re betwixt and between. It’s a liminal time.

And that can make us feel unmoored, ungrounded.

The good news is that there is an almost infinite number of ways to make room for our inner lives. Natalie Goldberg, the writer, recently did two shows with Melanie in which she talks of haiku as a way, a path, a spiritual discipline.

Techniques for exploring beyond the bounds of performative “work” are as varied as there are people.

The reasons for doing exploring our inner lives are compelling, indeed.

For the truth is that we aren’t gonna take whatever money we’ve earned or jewelry we love or cars or houses with us when we die.

But we’re here now, breathing. Feeling. In community with others, whether we’re in person or not.

We’re still here. Might that be enough meaning and purpose?

Here’s a poem from the Spanish poet Antonio Machado, titled Caminante, No Hay Camino, Traveler, There is no Road/There is no Way.

Traveler, your footprints

are the only road, nothing else.

Traveler, there is no road;

you make your own path as you walk.

As you walk, you make your own road,

and when you look back

you see the path

you will never travel again.

Traveler, there is no road;

only a ship’s wake on the sea.

Finally, this, from e.e. cummings, entitled 53

may my heart always be open to little
birds who are the secrets of living
whatever they sing is better than to know …

Dr. Melanie Harth’s website here