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.


Phone home

Posted on August 2, 2020 by Katy Byrne

Even in Sonoma, it’s a stretch getting through this worldwide pandemic. Death by Covid stares us in the face everywhere – at the grocery store, with every conversation, mask over the nose, eyeglasses fogging. It’s getting old – and so am I. 

Next comes the swooping down of the fire season, elections, Halloween, and who knows what tricks from the haunted White House of Horrors? Not to mention our chronic uncertainty – will our checks come? Will retail prevail? What’s up with the Fed Mafia beating up kids in Portland? Mask or not, it’s nothing to sneeze at.

There’s plenty to grieve and worry about, so I knew I had to put the oxygen mask on myself. You know how it works on airplanes, you’ve got to get air first, then help others. “I can’t breathe” is a profound message now. These are times of unrest and fear for the entire world, all living beings, including elders, prisoners, African Americans with knees on their necks. Suffocation is happening to our earth, the struggling lungs of the disappearing Amazon and the globe. So, we have to take care of ourselves in order to restore our world. 

It might be time to rest, revisit family, seek support, read, redecorate, take a drive, paint your own toenails, hang out with a dog or pussy cat. 

One night when sorrow overcame me, I needed some cheer, so I googled around the web. I looked up humor and found Jonathan Winters, on YouTube. I craved some fun in a world swirling with snarly, shocking news about the treacherous off-the-wall Trump troops at the border wall, even though the Wall of Moms in Oregon inspired me, but with China and other messes he’s making, animals slaughtered for no reason, etc. 

I needed relief, a dollop of fun. Sometimes our souls need a break. So, I found myself quickly roaring with laughter. I was surprised how fast belly laughs burst out of me. I love the way Winters plays his inner child, wearing a baby cap. My sputtering chuckles must have been unrestrained because the neighbors asked about the ruckus the next day. I muffled a giggle, blushing, “I’m loud when I laugh, sneeze or… other things.” 

In lockdown, we have to do a lot of self-care. Safe, social connection is another way to take care of yourself, exercise and such, too. Get creative: use your phone, Zoom, walk, text, attend community meetings. Keep in touch (virtually) with people, carefully, with masks, at a distance, but don’t touch me there.

Watch lectures, film, interesting YouTubes, even when you think you’ve seen them all or read. There are luminous church services in New York’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Or wallow in Brenee Brown’s talks, frolic and dance with Vivaldi, or mellow out with Jack Kornfield at soothing Spirit Rock. And if you are one of the precious people still working, take a long bath, paint your nails, call a long lost friend, or lick a luscious ice cream cone without guilt, after a stroll alongside the scurrying quail and deer. 

ET, Steven Spielberg’s film about the gentle extraterrestrial alien landing in suburbia is another treat to view; it lifts us up with friendship’s magic, a lost being and a ten-year-old boy who helps him find his way home. “Phone home.” 



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