What's Up With That? ~ Katy Byrne

Katy Byrne Katy Byrne, MFT is a Psychotherapist in Sonoma, editor and animal lover. Her private practice specializes in: life transitions, couples communication, eating issues, moving forward, conflict resolution and the kitchen sink.


The existential WTF

Posted on April 17, 2020 by Katy Byrne

A few more weeks of this social distancing and I’ll be ready for the loony bin. We’ve all  seen everything from articles on death, green pictures of the virus, earthquakes, and YouTube videos on how to stay calm.

After roaming around in the dark during the last couple of PG&E shutdowns, fires destroying friends’ homes, and now going through this pandemic – it’s just too much.

Technology requires new twists. Even sneezing on myself is scary. Wrestling with housing, healthcare, climate change, stocks, poverty, safety, income, prejudice, food, gas, elections, exercise, couples and kids cooped up. 

I’m sitting like gum stuck to the bottom of my chair. Little things jangle my nerves. Sometimes upsets seem to be in technicolor because I have fewer distractions. But I guess if you’re good at meditation and napping, and you hate your job or if you don’t like people, it’s perfect. 

On the upside, it’s a comforting break from fast living for some or a blissful way to be with a pile of books and a hefty pension, but most of us are nervous. Guys and introverts do better, many are wired to go to their caves, while I wake up at three in the morning wondering WTF?

For some, it’s a good time to clean drawers, ponder what matters in life and call old lost friends. It’s an opening to be artistic, deepen our empathy, and express love towards beings we are so dependent on.

All I can offer (from this distance) is a reminder to us all that self compassion and being gentle with yourself is needed in a time of trauma. We can all get better at kindness  and regulating negative reactions. And this is a tender time, truly, to do whatever you may have put off. 

And while we’re having quieter lives, hearing the owls in the trees instead of fast flying, boom box cars, we are digesting the reality that we need each other. I hope someday we have benches in front of our homes, not fences. No person is an island.

Let me try to leave us all with some helpful chewing gum… that this time to ourselves is important. I call it “thick space” (not just because it makes our waistlines that way). It’s time for our souls to catch up. The dark night of the soul isn’t easy, but important. This is a pivotal time to care about community. 

Many divinely inspired people had to turn within. Bill Wilson, founder of the 12-step programs, Henry Thoreau, Maya Angelou, Jesus, Jane Goodall, just to name a few – created great world changes in silence. John Donne’s loneliness while lying in bed led him to his most famous insight. He wrote: “No man is an island… any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.”

And, share your toilet paper.



One thought on “The existential WTF

  1. The Pandemic has upended my retired life! Taking a morning walk to Sonoma Market! Having outside at Basque Bakery or driving to Glen Ellen for the French bakery! Sonoma Library! Peets! Walking around the Plaza! Farmers market on Friday! Smiling at strangers! And chit chat. Church! Lectures! Vintage House!! Sonoma Sun! People!

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