Cocooned in Disarray: Emerging Out of the Darkness COVID-19

By William D. Parham, Ph.D., ABPP

When novel coronavirus came on the scene, life changed quite quickly into something quite different. As a tattoo artist indelibly etches on a human canvas complex and colorful images reflecting personal life stories, so too, has COVID-19 unapologetically inscribed its enduring signature of chaos, confusion, and commotion in the hearts and minds of our global community. And, the emotional ink of this alarming and painful pandemic has yet to dry. There continue to be many sobering moments that are unlike anything we ever have experienced in living memory. News reports are replete with reminders about lives lost, shaken economies, our inability to retrieve opportunities to celebrate milestone markers, and how little control we have over what happened to us. There is no doubt that the invisible tattoos of this titanic rude awakening will be etched into our psyche and influence how, and with what new level of clarity and vision, we move forward.

How we respond to what happened forever remains in our control. Consider for a moment that the bedlam, confusion, disorder, and disarray causing our “new normal” represent evidence that we are in the process of being changed. And yes, change is usually uncomfortable and sometimes difficult. We lead our lives as creatures of habit and pattern anchored in programmed routines that easily lapse into autopilot behaviors. Being forced to abandon our formulaic designs for living feels unsettling and on occasion, fuels resentments and anger. And, just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly.

A closer look around us, amidst considerable environmental frenzy and agitation, we learn about unintended consequences of our forced confinement spawned by the threats of this pandemic. For example, we learned that newly thriving coral reefs and marine animals can be seen off the coast of Hawaii. Reduced carbon emissions and better air quality are being recorded in Los Angeles and cities around the world. We have taken a fresh look at our consumption patterns and have been provided with abundant opportunities to re-evaluate our priorities. And, we are capable to continue our reset, moving the needle of real change further than we did prior to COVID-19. It has been said that that best place to hide is in plain sight. Take another moment to consider that hiding in plain sight is an invitation for us to take a step back to reexamine where we are and, more important, where we really want to go.

Moving forward brings promises of ongoing angst, apprehension, and self-protective cautions, however manifested. Known and undiscovered challenges will serve as markers along the road on which we will be traveling. During our journey, we will quite likely have to navigate through both expected and unexpected storms of complex chaos. And, we are wired to succeed. So, we will!

We will arrive, together, in territories of new possibilities. Herein I am reminded of a story revealing an encounter between the devil and a heretofore quiet and unassuming individual mired in tough and wearisome situations. Paraphrased, the story ends with the devil whispering in the ear of the quiet and unassuming individual proclaiming, “You are weak and won’t be able to handle the chaos and the storm!” Without a moment of hesitation or pause, the quiet and unassuming individual whispered almost inaudibly in the ear of the devil saying unabashedly, “I am the storm!” Until next time …