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Hey, there! Welcome back for another episode.
This time, here’s what we’re talking about: We are talking about COVID-19.
We are talking about fear.
We are talking about impotence.
We’re talking about uncertainty.
We’re talking about how to overcome them.
The message for today is: The world breaks everyone, and afterward, many are strong at the broken places.
[Classical Music Plays]
Hey! Welcome back. It’s Kriss, your Positivity Powerhouse.
Today, the quote is, “The world breaks everyone, and, afterward, many are strong at the broken places.” This is an Ernest Hemingway quote in “A Farwell to Arms,” a story of an American serving in the ambulance corps of the Italian army during WWI.
It’s about the love affair between the American expat and an English nurse. It was Hemingway’s first bestselling novel. It’s been adapted many times for stage and screen.
So, here’s the whole quote so that you can get the context of what the whole thing is talking about:
“But we were never loney, and we were never afraid when we were together. I know that the night is not the same as the day, but all things are different.
But the things of the night cannot be explained in the day because they do not, then, exist. And the night can be a dreadful time for lonely people once their loneliness has started.
But, with Katherine, there was almost no difference in the night, except that it was an even better time.
If people bring so much courage to this world, the world has to break them to kill them.
So, of course, it kills them. The world breaks everyone, and, afterward, many are strong at the broken places, but those that will not break, it kills.
It kills the very good, the very gentle, the very brave, impartially.
If you are none of these, that you can be sure, it kills you, too. But there will be no special hurry.”
So, on the base of it, that sounds a little bit morbid: the world’s gonna kill everybody. Well, the fact of it is, the world is gonna kill everybody. We’re all going to eventually die, someday. We just happen to be dealing with a pandemic right now, so we’re all like, “Ah! We’re gonna die!”
Except for people at Walmart who are trying to take three kids into the store, but it’s only one person per family, and the two-year-old isn’t going to go shopping. So, you have to figure something else out, lock them in the car, I don’t know.
I don’t know what they’re doing with all their kids at Walmart.
Um, you know, the whole pandemic thing – it’s really scary! It’s a scary thing, and it’s okay to be afraid. Being afraid is totally normal.
I have enough health issues going on that all of my appointments that I need to be having with my primary care provider are being done over the phone because ain’t nobody wants to be in the office full of sick people because I am seriously at risk of catching the disease, number one, and number two, of having serious complications from catching it.
I have breathing issues.
I have heart issues.
I have diabetes thanks to a medication I’m on.
I have all this stuff going on, and it’s like, “Ah! Nobody wants me in there!”
I’m not going shopping, I’m not going anywhere I don’t have to.
I did go to a doctor’s appointment today to consult about a surgery that I need to have. But the ORs are closed, so maybe I’ll have the surgery next month, or maybe in June, maybe July. [I recorded this episode in April, then got sick, then got REALLY sick – surgery was in June and recovery took forever.]
And that’s what’s so frightening about this.
But, the world breaks everyone, and, afterward, many are strong at the broken places.
All of us are afraid. The world is afraid, right now, and some of us, it’s breaking.
People are, like, seriously freaking out.
People are, you know, going stir crazy being couped up with their spouse, their kids, trying to homeschool, and trying to work, and you know, take care of the house, do the cleaning, and all of the cooking, and all of the shopping, and all of the homeschooling, and all the dealing with the everybody and everything, and…, and…, and…, and…, and…, and…, and…, and!
They are BREAKING!
But, afterward, many are strong at the broken places.
So, for me, it’s OK to break! It’s OK to break.
The very good, and the very gentle, and the very brave can all break and be strong again at the broken places.
I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve broken.
I’ve had serious mental breakdowns!
I’ve had serious physical breakdowns!
I almost died last summer because my kidneys decided, “Oh, hey! We’re going to both gang up on her, and we’re going to spike her fever to 106, and make her pass out in a pool of her own vomit, on a plastic bag on her bedroom floor, for, like, eleven hours.”
That’s how sick I was.
And, at the hospital, everybody kept telling me how very sick I was. That’s how I know how very sick I was, because the infection of my kidneys turned septic, and sepsis is what kills ya.
Or, what breaks you – and many are strong at the broken places – by kidney numbers and levels of whatever the tests are.
In February, as of February, just eight months after my kidneys tried to kill me, my kidney numbers are perfect. Textbook, spot on!
Strong again at the broken places.
I’ve had, I don’t know what they call them these days, nervous breakdowns, or psychotic breaks – I haven’t had a psychotic break, but I’ve had those, like, depression breaks where, like, you can’t even cry anymore.
You’re just rocking in the floor in the corner, and babbling to your friend, or to the walls, about how this is so awful, and how that is so awful, and all of it is going wrong, and what are you even doing, and it’s all futile.
And then they say something about the Borg and you almost smile but you can’t because you’re in this depressive thing.
I had a nervous breakdown when my son was little because I coudln’t breastfeed. He couldn’t latch on, and I was convinced that I was killing him because I couldn’t breastfeed.
Like, bottle feeding didn’t enter my mind because it had been drummed into my head, “You breastfeed! You breastfeed! You breastfeed! That’s the best thing for the baby, so you breastfeed!”
So, if I couldn’t do the best thing for my baby, I was killing him!
And, he’s, like, six and a half feet tall now, so obviously I did OK with the bottle.
But, you know, it’s been really bad sometimes.
But, every time I’ve broken, it’s made me stronger.
It’s made me better able to deal with the next thing that comes along.
And the next thing that comes along.
And the next thing that comes along.
You know the old adage, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”?
I swear it. I promise. I pinky swear.
Here, we’re gonna do this. I’m gonna pinky swear, and you’re gonna hold up your pinky to your computer, your phone, whatever you’re watching me on.
I pinky swear, it’s true, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
So, how does this impact the Triple M’s, the mood, mindset, motivation?
For mood, it’s a mixed bag of mood for me.
On the one hand, I’m apprehensive about where I’m next going to break. You know the uncertainty of what’s going on and what’s gonna happen next with COVID-19.
Which, by the way, for a bit of levity, you can sing COVID-19 to the melody of “Come On, Eileen,” that great song from the 80s, and it fits perfectly.
COVID-19, oh, I swear, I’ll be true-
You know, keep going.
Or, you can go with My Sharona, and have, “M-m-m- My Corona!” DO it that way, too.
Either way, either way works.
Just to give it a bit of, “Oh, isn’t this silly? We’re all freaking out about this stupid that fits to an 80s song.”
Yeah, we’re all freaking out. We should be freaking out because this is the first global pandemic since the 1918 Spanish Influenza, which the doctor I saw today, the surgeon, said, “Nobody alive has seen a pandemic like this.”
I said, “Well, my grandmother’s 94.”
He said, “Okay, nobody alive remembers a pandemic like this.”
I had to laugh, he’s probably right. Although, I’ve known some people in their mid to upper 90s, into their hundreds, who have been sharp as a tack and remember things better that I do, which isn’t saying a lot, but they remembered stuff.
So, there’s probably a few running around that remember the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918.
I mean, the last “epidemic” we had was the HIV/AIDS epidemic of the 80s and 90s.
But, we’ve got AIDS down to a chronic condition now. It’s not some – it doesn’t kill you! And some people are even being cured of AIDS when thirty, forty years ago, it was a death sentence.
And it was a fast death sentence.
You know, it wasn’t one of these, “Oh, I’ll kill you eventually” kind of illnesses.
Oh, no, its gonna kill you hard and fast and dirty. Play dirty. It cheated. It broke all the rules, but now it’s manageable.
And I’m convinced that COVID-19 is gonna become manageable.
It’s in the same family as things like SARS, and the flu, and the common cold. Same type of viruses.
And we can deal with the flu, and we can deal with the common cold. No cure, but we can deal.
So, I am optimistic that the same will be true for COVID-19.
Back to mood, on the other side of apprehension and uncertainty, there’s the hope, because I know I’ve broken before. I know that I’ve broken before. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve broken before, but I’ve broken very many times before.
And, I know that I’ve become stronger in those broken places.
And I feel brave because I know that my courageousness (if that’s a word. If it’s not, it is now!) – my courageousness and my hope can help others, can help you.
Not- not you.
YOU RIGHT THERE.
WITH THE NOSE, YOU.
Not you- not you.
Can help you.
And, since that’s my mission with this podcast and with this business, the Positivity Powerhouse coaching business, that gives me hope, too, and that gives me courage, too.
Because I know seeing someone in my position who can very literally die from this virus, saying, “It’s gonna be OK because we’ve all broken before and we’re stronger at the broken places.”
I know that helps other people.
And that’s what I wanna do.
So, onto mindset:
Mood is just your feelings. It’s what happens in your brain.
Anyway, mindset is what you do about it.
So, I have decided to cling to hope. I’ve decided to cling to courage. I’ve decided it’s going to be OK because deciding anything else is unacceptable to me.
I won’t let myself do that. I will not let myself cling to fear and uncertainty, apprehension, and all of the feelings that take me down into a depression, into a depressive place, into that kind of mindset.
Because that’s not the kind of mindset I wanna live my life in.
And, because it is only a thought, and a thought can be changed, I decide that I’m going to be hopeful. I decide that I’m going to be courageous. I decide that its going to be OK because it is.
My dad taught me growing up that this too shall pass, and, so far, he has never been wrong.
Not about that, not about “this too shall pass.”
Other things he’s been a little wrong about from time to time, here and there, over through the last 42 years.
I can’t remember any of those times off the top of my head, but on “this too shall pass” he has never been wrong.
And it’s so important to me to remember that this too shall pass. I had him call and leave me a voicemail saying, “This too shall pass. This too shall pass. This too shall pass.”
And I have had that voicemail now for six years? Seven years? And every now and again I go listen to it.
This too shall pass. This too shall pass. This too shall pass.
Because it will. It always will.
Then the motivation!
The action that I take based on the mindset.
My motivation is to keep going, to keep doing the work that I’m doing as the Positivity Powerhouse, to keep doing the writing that I do in the mental health field under my other business, Kriss Writes.
I’m a freelance writer over in that realm. I write about mental health and personal development and self improvement. To keep the faith.
I don’t often use the word “faith” because it has particular connotations in the religious realm and I do not practice a majority Christian- a majority religion.
You know, Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, I think those are the Big 5 these days.
I don’t practice any of those.
So, I don’t often use the word “faith,” you know, unless it’s under the context of “you put your faith first, and your family second, and your career third,” and everything works out the way it’s supposed to.
You put them in a different order, and things to haywire.
You put them all under one roof, and you can’t go to church because there’s a pandemic going on, and you can’t send your kids to school, so you’re with them all the time.
And you love them but you’re with them all the time.
And your career, you have to do while you’re trying to go to church online and deal with your kids all the time, and work at home all the time, and it gets haywire.
But, when you put your faith first, your family second, and your career third, it all works out.
So, keeping the faith, to me, is being faithful to the idea of hope, the idea of serenity, the idea of peacefulness, and the idea that this too shall pass.
Because I’ve had faith in that for 42 years and it’s never one me wrong.
See ya next time!
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