Stay Sane and Stay Safe – Can you have both?

Most any inspiration I receive comes to me in nature. Saturday, I paddled. It’s still pandemic times, but it’s also nearing the end of ‘lockdown’. Thank God, cause the more I see and read and feel ~ the more I believe revolution is gaining steam.

Whichever side you land on and you have to admit there are sides. Open Economy Now, versus Shelter-In-Place longer is a brewing battle. Saturday, it was 83 degrees with bright blue skies and a breeze. I am landing squarely in the middle and claiming #reopennaturenow. .

That breeze was more accurately called wind. It really wasn’t a great day to get out on a kayak, but you live and you learn. I’ve always been a little risk-taking, rule-breaker but I’m finding the older I get the more safety minded I get. What used to be an easy-no-life jacket paddles (close to shore where I could stand up) became more water and wave than I felt safe navigating.

So, I put the life jacket on and began to steer further away from people because I’m safety minded for germs as well. Soon, I found myself on the abandoned shore of a closed campground. I had lots of time to think waiting for that stupid wind to die down…it was going to make my paddle home brutal.

I had a lot of time to wonder about why in the world the campground was closed (and I’d been able to find the needle in a haystack in Bankhead Forest that was open). What’s the rationale to shutting down nature? Especially confusing, since nature is being proven over and over again to make us healthier/build immunity/lower stress.

My paddle felt like a great escape from COVID. It has no shelf-life in sunlight, right?! My escape to the outdoors wasn’t unique. People were out en masse – so many people. But the solitude I managed to carve out was perfect ~ to write, to dream, to create and to spend time with my Creator. Whoever your Creator is, please take some extra time to spend with them. Seriously, someone’s Creator is really pissed!

This is all now feeling like a battle and the battle will wage on. Between evil and good, right and wrong approaches, demand and supply, big business greed and the rest of us, stay-in versus go out. You can go out here, but only if you have a mask (that have been proven time and time again unhelpful). But you can’t go there. Oh you can go to Target, but you can’t go to the dentist. It’s all so infuriating.

What do you think those dentists were doing in January and February? It’s been proven that COVID-19 was here earlier than we first knew. Dentists are within inches of every face they see and guess what? You did not hear about hotspots springing up from dental offices? No, because they are very well practiced in practicing universal precautions for infection control.

This battle that COVID is creating – an unseen enemy is forcing its way into our view and crippling many with fear. Others with anger. Every person on the plant is having an emotional reaction of some sort to forced quarantine and the divide grows larger. It’s a battle for some to get out of bed daily, having lost their job to the virus. It’s a battle for some who are vulnerable to get to the stores and a battle for the healthy that feel trapped.

But out here…in nature, it’s all so safe. Pure, clean air, dispersed by breeze, sunlight on faces. This is where I feel safest. Out here. In there may feel safest for you, wherever ‘in there’ is.

Either place, no matter which side of the battle you might fall on, is about hygiene. Just stay cognizant of the ways germs spread, wash your hands, and do what you need to make yourself feel safe. Just please stay a few feet away from me…and no, I will not have on masks and gloves. My belief is that they create false security and open more chances to collect viral germs around your face. Belief in medicine is half the cure, right? I will have my sani-wipe with me, thank you very much! But no thank you to all ya’ll that made them do darn hard to find.

That’s the way I stay safe and sane. I go out, wiping things I touch down as I go, protecting me from those that have touched them before me and protecting those that may touch them after me. But there are some that would admonish me for even going out. It’s how I have to stay sane, because I believe sanity has gone out the window with all this.

At the very base core of it all, here’s another thing I believe. I believe someone’s Creator is pissed and we are all being punished. By something invisible.

I also know there’s a political battle; 1. open the country now or 2. continue to contain its constituents. Either way you think, the numbers and information can be made to back up your points. Data can be twisted, the causes of death and number of cases is not trustworthy….every bit of evidence for the virus is being called into question.

But the media wants you to remain fearful. Facebook is even fact checking posts and deleting posts that aren’t within the agenda of keeping the fear at its highest levels. Admit it, if you watched any of the ‘other news stations’ that opposed your viewpoint for a little while, with an open mind and a heart for others – you’d likely question the perspective a little.

Photo by Ivan Bertolazzi from Pexels

Perspective is key though ~ everything, my dears, every single thing looks quite different from another angle. No one wants to questions their own perspective when they’re living in fear though.

It’s much easier to get in that flight, flight or freeze mode but we weren’t created to be crippled with fear. But if you’re watching news, at all, you’re being driven to fear. It’s what they do ~ sensationalize, drive you to watch more and see their ratings go up.

I failed logic in college, hate to admit it, but I found it stupid. It was just 28 different ways to say the same things. However, I’ve learned common sense and experience trumps a text book most of the time.

Logically ~ let’s think through some of the decisions made. Because of what was deemed essential and not, we are all walking around a little less snazzy than before. But we’ve got food, too much TP and some building products. Haven’t you wondered….

Logically, (and assuming this is supposed to be for our own good) how does it make sense that liquor and vape stores have remained open – while gyms and health food stores were closed? Believe me, I’m happy to be able to pick up a bottle of wine but where is the logic in that?

Logically, if hundreds of people can file through a big box retail store daily, tell me what the risk is of being a couple machines away from the nearest person at the gym.

Logically, if those same hundreds of people are safe in a grocery story, how are they in danger being forty feet away from campsite neighbors.

When I left the park Saturday, cars were parked along the edges of the road for nearly a mile. A Wildlife Resources officer was taking pictures or video from his truck. For what purpose, I didn’t learn. The day use area was legitimately overcrowded. Because we have been told not to go out, campgrounds and hiking trails have closed and there was no where else to go. It was a beautiful spring day and many people have to escape a lockdown that I even question the legality of.

Logically, if more parks, campgrounds and nature centers were open – the crowds at day use areas would be dispersed more. Making it even safer to be out, correct? But yes, I am nature biased. Always will be and proud of it.

Yes, we had a civic obligation to protect our neighbors, friends, families and others. It was spot on to shut down for a minute to see how this mess played out. It’s now played out in less than expected cases. The spread has gone more slowly and not as high as initially believed. Projected needs for hospital spaces and ventilators never materialized.

We’re simply now being sheep, awaiting government to tell us it’s safe. The world though is never truly going to be safe and you can bet your happy butt the government will never ever tell you the whole story of anything.

It pains me that people have lost their lives, but this doesn’t warrant closing the world, and certainly not nature.

  • More people will die, yet I still don’t see science strong enough to suggest that hiking the Appalachian Trail is a way to spread COVID.
  • More people will continue to lose their lives to cancer, diabetes, and heart disease and I believe it will be blamed on COVID.
  • More lives are going to be taken by overdoses and alcohol related deaths due to the strain of seclusion.

Not everyone is in a happy little home with happy little loved ones. Just yesterday, I read calls to suicide prevention lines are up 300%. Is anyone modeling that curve? The trauma from this will last for years, and trickle into future generations.

America, and beyond. . .we are currently being controlled by fear.

Either you’re terrified of COVID, or terrified of the effects. Or both. Because of the fear being inflicted upon us, I fear we won’t continue the better bonds that some families have forged.

I fear for the people with abusive family members.

I fear for those quarantined with their fear, driven by others who want to create more fear.

Above all the things I fear, I fear FEAR itself the most. Such a damaging emotion and it’s ruling our daily lives. Fear then leads to stress, and high stress lowers immunity. It’s the wrong thing happening in our bodies and brains.

As we come out of it, I fear we are not moving on as a more kind and more relaxed people. I fear that we are supposed to be learning something and we’re missing it.

So to protect my own sanity, and I urge all of you to take precautions with your mental health as well. The majority of the United States is going to be less physically effected by COVID-19 than mentally. So to stay sane, I know I’m learning these things help:

  • Get outside more – #reopennaturenow
  • Be more connected to those you love ~ in person if all are healthy ~ keep personal space and it will be fine
  • Do what you personally need to do to feel safe
  • Always try to hear a little of both sides
  • Turn OFF the news and stay off social media – my limit is 20 minutes a day
  • Stop using so many antibiotics (we already knew this…but they’re guilty of making you more vulnerable to viruses)
  • Slow down and breathe
  • Get plenty, but not too much sleep
  • And always WASH YOUR HANDS

It’s a real shame we have to be reminded of that last one. We need to be reminded of some other things too, though. History. History has shown us that there is always a good and bad guy behind every large crisis. There is also always someone that gains financially from catastrophes.

Who would benefit from us all being locked in, being separated from others and dividing even further?

Who wants to lock us in, when all the things we need to heal are outside?

Who wants to keep us from all being on the same side?

Who would really love nothing more than to control the movements of the country?

Because this cannot be putting your health as top interest when you examine the things shuttered, versus the things that are truly good for you in the world.

I don’t know, friends ~ I don’t have the answers, but when science is not backing up the demands being placed on us “for our own good” . . . it’s time to start asking questions you need to ask.

Believe what you want, but for me…I want the freedom to nurture my soul, to visit each other. I’m perfectly fine with doing that at a few feet to make everyone safe. But outside is the only place that there is room for us all to be together and apart at the same time.

This poem, by Kitty O’Meara beautifully marks this time in our lives, but I believe it’s time for the healing the earth has done to be shared back with its humans.

“And the people stayed home. And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still. And listened more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. Some met their shadows. And the people began to think differently. 

And the people healed. And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal.

And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed.”

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