Well we are. Settle in, this note is gonna be a long one. But since many of you are likely at home, or things are slow for you at work, or your event/show/conference/class has been cancelled, you might have a little extra time to kick back and enjoy this unusually lengthy missive and PGG ;)

When thinking about which PGG to send out today, I recalled the essay I wrote back in 2012 after Superstorm Sandy, when the NYC area was especially hard hit and normal life was disrupted in a major way for the first time since 9/11. At that time, the external impact via decimation of homes and lack of power to keep our infrastructure going was quite striking and lasted several weeks, if not months for some. This pandemic is more internal, elusive and global, not only via the microscopic pathogens we cannot see that affect us within our physical body, but also mentally within our psyche.

Now, in March 2020 (as I write this on none other than a Friday the 13th), we find ourselves at war with an invisible enemy called COVID-19. Although we are not under siege from literal bombing and the majority of us currently have shelter, food and electricity, this crisis will be an economic hardship in one way or another for most all, and of course in the physical health of some. But at the moment it seems to be more of a psychological one , not unlike the looming yet invisible threat of terrorism or mass shootings: a bit amorphous, being aware of a constant potential danger but not knowing when or where it will strike. And of course the whole crowd/public gathering thing has always been a big target. Either scenario is a nice way to hijack our normal rational sensibilities and prey upon our human brain's aversion to threat of the unknown, our mind's gripping adherence to control, and our culture's irrational propensity for scapegoating, boogeyman/doomsday-ing and buying into any variety of Hollywood plots.

This is why - after taking all the advisable, tangible, practical precautions and protocols - it's important to step out of the loop de loop of information being spewed 24/7 and remain vigilant in our minds, and not go down rabbit holes and/or make up worse-case scenarios (hello toilet paper madness!) In other words, right now this is not only a physical hygiene and economic problem, but a mental/emotional/spiritual one , perhaps even more so.

Being at home for someone like myself, a self-employed single introvert with tendencies to isolate, a quarantine or social distancing is NBD, in fact it's the norm. But for many this is the opposite of normal and can make you quite uncomfortable and on edge. As we ride out these next few weeks, and maybe months, it's important to do an inventory of any anger, frustrations, worry, fears and anxieties and find ways to release them - most of all by accepting what IS (see my The Present of Presence PGG from two weeks ago ;) and "Be where your feet are." Inhale, exhale. Move your body. Get fresh air and sunshine. Cry. Use all your tools in the tool box and do whatever you can to feel your feelings and let them go because holding on to and regurgitating them is not productive - can be downright toxic - and weakens your immune system, which is your first line of defense if "attacked." Replace them with positive, immune-boosting feel-good feelings like gratitude, connection, pleasure, love - anything that is uplifting, fun, funny or heartwarming. These will stimulate your antibodies and flood your system with healthy biochemistry, and the viral enemy - whether physical, mental or emotional - will not find fertile ground in you.

And remember that thoughts are things and words are their manifestation - so you don't want to pollute the mental/emotional atmosphere any more than the news and social media are already doing.

We can each take responsibility for helping to mitigate the current crisis by monitoring and adapting our mental, physical and emotional behaviors. This too shall pass, and like any challenge, we have to go through and ultimately grow from it. Think about what you can learn about yourself, others, biology, government, public health, your finances and more; what you can accomplish when your time is otherwise occupied (hello spring cleaning, learning to cook, knitting that sweater, reading War & Peace etc..)? Make lemonade out of lemons. Times of crisis are some of the best times for creativity to emerge. It can also be helpful to have an Attitude of Gratitude and allow yourself to be a Body at Rest .

We are just starting to see how this situation is revealing and both testing and strengthening the inner and outer cracks in our foundation, both internally in our personal lives as well as externally in our communities and governments. I believe at the end of the day this will only benefit us by showing how we can course correct and move forward together in the highest and best ways that the 21st century promises, should we rise the the challenge. For now, we wash our hands, watch our minds, and wait it out with gratitude, love, deep breaths and patience...

Check out this week's Instagram post to remind you to have good mental and emotional hygiene, and watch this PGG Video of the week to remind you to find stability within yourself.

As always, please feel free to contact me with any comments about anything I'm doing.
Big hug <3 Kristina

P.S. This is also a good time to step back and reflect on your life's direction, so it's a great time to take advantage of my March Madness Coaching Offer - scroll down for details. For info about working with me check out the new website for my coaching services .

ALSO: Please note that the NYPL has cancelled all programs so my March 16 talk has been postponed until further notice.
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" I love your PGG newsletters - one of the only ones I actually read in its entirety. They are excellently written, and spot on. Thanks for being so inspirational and reflective!" ~ Tom D .
World Wide Web
Originally published November 6, 2012

The Saturday before Superstorm Sandy, I was at a Halloween party. The host went to town with decorations and had massive floor to ceiling spider webs in several corners. Little did I know what foreshadowing that would be for the week ahead!

Four years ago this week we were on the eve of a historic presidential election, after a historic financial disaster. That Fall, the unimaginable became imaginable on both fronts when we chose our first Black president and watched the implosion of the stock market and our banking system. This woke us up in more ways than one, and both divided and connected us.

Fast-forward to today, and we are on the eve of yet another historic election, the outcome yet to be determined, and post another disaster, this time a natural one, which is hitting us materially as much as anything else. And we are even more divided, yet more connected than ever.

After the financial crisis of 2008, because of the actions of a relative few that rippled throughout the world, at the very least we were forced to deal with our addiction to credit and consumerism, and at the worst lost our homes and jobs because of it. Now it’s Mother Nature aided by the man-made contribution to/ignorance of climate change who teaching us that lesson with a more visceral punch as we recover from power outages and gas shortages at the least, and physical destruction of our property and loss of life at the worst.

Since this hit the tri-state area, because of its special density of population and unique connection to the global as well as local economy, no one is exempt from this lesson, as everyone has been affected in one way or another – it’s just who, what, when, where, how and level of gravity that varies.

In the middle of the storm, the façade of an apartment building in Chelsea was ripped off, showing a dollhouse-like view of the inside, a symbolic representation of what is happening to us physically and emotionally as the walls and structures between and around us are being torn down in order to reveal the truth of our lives.

Our interconnectedness and vulnerability have been thrown in our face – not only through weather, power, gas, goods and services, transportation and social media, but relationally too. How long can you coexist in the disconnected dark, live back at Mom’s, stay at your friend’s, or sleep with strangers at a shelter 24/7? How many days can you work from home, or miss work altogether, or have three-hour commutes, or wait hours in line for gas without losing it?

Community is a funny thing in New York – we like the anonymity and self-sufficiency of living on top of each other and the illusion of togetherness that brings, but actually having to interact and be with each other and ask for or receive help is another story.

People have mentioned how Sandy is too "nice" a moniker for what she did, but just like the gentle soul of  Frankenstein for which she was also named, there is goodness to be found underneath the external horror of her monsterous appearance. She is asking us to come together like never before and question the deepest meaning of our lives; she is forcing us not only to realize but to actually experience the ways in which we are now more connected than ever, more interdependent than at any other time in history. And it is a gift because experience is usually the only way we humans learn, and that, as painful as it may be, is something to be grateful for if we choose to accept it as such.

Like big elections, these are the occasions when we focus passionately around something that impacts us al l; they bring out the best and worst in us. We get to see people’s true colors, good, bad or indifferent; how flexible we can be; how generous and open-hearted we are, how we distill down what is vitally important, what is a necessity, and what is merely a luxury – or when suddenly those necessities become luxuries after not having them for a few days.

Such events test our patience, politeness, perseverance and willingness to exist in the present. They also shows us the incredible strength and spirit of humanity, our willingness to help one another, our capacity for leadership and organization, and our ability to rise to the occasion in times of crisis.

So remember, when we wake up tomorrow morning, no matter what the result of this election is, and no matter where you live in this country or on this planet, what we do know for sure, now more than ever, is that we are all in this together.

* * * * * * * * *
If you like what I write, you'll love what I have to say in person!

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