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  • Writer's pictureMj Pettengill

Somewhere Over the Rainbow: Pre-traumatic Stress

Surreal, Tree, Rainbow    CCO
Surreal, Tree, Rainbow CCO

My time in the wild is essential for my survival. For most of my life, I have comprehended that owning my place in nature is the key to belonging. Separation and duality are pitfalls, and as humans, we are experiencing it in a whole new light.

With the Coronavirus at the helm, we are instructed to remain at home, wear a mask, stay six feet away from one another— “social distance.” But wait; there’s more. We are also applauding the return to business as usual.

Come on and get your tickets to Disney World. Again, there’s more! Before you visit Mickey and friends, be aware of how Florida has become the geographic center of the Apocalypse.

Be happy. Be sad. Be assured. Be afraid. Believe. Don’t believe. Run. Stay. Aww, just forget about it and climb on a ride and scream with delight, or would that be horror, through your mask on a sweltering, summer day in Florida.

Don’t worry. We are in it together. Being expected to simultaneously believe that something does and does not pose a consistent level of threat may result in dissociative disorder. We face a virus of mass destruction, meaning it is more than a physical assault on the masses. It has reached into the mental, emotional, and spiritual core of our species.

Before this event, we were only separated by wars, philosophies, religion, race, politics, gender, age groups, and too many more issues to name. We have become experts of hardcore fracturing, driven to oppose one another, passionate about our beliefs with no room to expand.

Humans may unknowingly thrive in their drive to divide. I am right; you are wrong. Defiant, unwilling, and blinded by righteousness, there simply is no room for intuition. Forget an opposing viewpoint. Hand over hand, we claw our way through dense and rigid times.

Information released unto the masses is conflicting, inconsistent, and disturbing. It keeps its listeners locked into shock, trauma, hopelessness, fear, and confusion. You are with them or with me. Decide.

It may be time to scream, and then know that what is left behind should remain there. How can we experience devastation, incubation, and rebirth into our authentic being without dwelling in the unknown?

When we find the balance between careful and fearless, we can allow and trust ourselves to freefall and retrieve the wisdom necessary to find our way. We will know when we have arrived, welcoming the new earth, becoming grounded and rooted.

In the meantime, what saves me from tumbling backward into old ways and limitations?

  • Earthing is real. I walk barefoot. My feet get muddy, grassy, and sometimes, I may get a thorn or something in my toe. Oh well. It is worth it for grounding purposes.

  • I write. I cannot always write what I set out to. My current novel is inching its way through the first draft. I might just do something like this, venting about the chaos, and never publish it. I might fall in love with a sweet little bird or marvel at a flower that is poem-worthy.

  • I go outside, face the Great Pines Council, and sing. There is much more to that, but it’s another story for another time.

  • I play my cello. Since the pandemic unfolded, I am immersed in Celtic music. I thought that I liked Scottish more, and it still may be the case, but I am opening up to Irish fiddle tunes lately.

  • I started an oil painting. I like how it started, especially the sky. I actually painted the best clouds I have ever painted. But I cannot get into it again. I walk by it and think that I’m going to finish it, but I don’t. Not yet.

  • I forage wild medicinals and edibles; craft oils, tinctures, and tea blends, and work in our organic gardens.

  • I eat chocolate, but not too much.

  • I feed and watch wild things meander through the yard.

  • I meditate.

  • I miss my children.

  • I focus on something better. No fear allowed. No pushing my politics, social, or spiritual agendas on anyone. I am here and open for those who wish to rise up, find positive, alternative actions to what appears to be crumbling and not serving the whole.

  • Unpack. I realize that there are elements in my life that I have skillfully and sometimes frantically tucked away. Now they are coming up for review and release.

  • I have been conscious of the Earth, Our Mother’s fragile eco-systems in peril for quite some time. Through the practice of eco-psychology, I work towards healing, correcting, and improving these conditions.

  • I dream.

When I feel too much weight upon my shoulders, I rest, retrieve my creative spirit —Duende—and when the time is right, begin again.

In the past, I have experienced what is known as pre-traumatic stress disorder. I was particularly concerned about the loss of wild habitat, destruction of the environment, and the ongoing assault on fragile ecosystems. This affliction is rooted in the unknown. Now, and under the present circumstances, it is my understanding that many of us are at risk. What is it, you ask?

The symptoms are similar to post-traumatic stress disorder (including grief, sadness, worry, disturbing intrusive thoughts, sleep troubles and nightmares, and avoiding situations or activities that are reminiscent of the stressful event), but in this case, they stem from anticipatory anxiety about an event that may occur in the future (1).

We don’t know how or when we will re-emerge. It is not up to us to know. However, it is up to us to allow any unresolved grief, anger, confusion, trauma, or other emotions present in our wandering, to be acknowledged and set free.

It is time to set aside what we, as a collective, are expected to believe and examine what our intuition tells us. We have everything we need inside of us. Stop drowning in chatter and chaos. Allow yourself to thrive and reconnect with your remarkable human abilities. With this renewed inner strength and clarity, you will better find your way back to your path.

What you believe is of value. Take it upon yourself to decide what will be. Somewhere over the rainbow does not exist. You are here now.



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