Author Archives: kj

Having a Look in the Covid Mirror

I’m back!– after a long year on the sideline, keeping up my spirits in spite of the isolation, respectfully wearing my mask in public without respect being returned in kind.  (Respect, after all, features tolerance, and a person whose viewpoint is discouraged or ignored is a person who isn’t being tolerated or respected.)  As a promoter of peace, it has seemed all but impossible not to cave to the power of the fear that has enveloped practically everyone I know. But in my heart, I know life should be different from this.

When a person is fearful, adrenaline makes broadening the mind impossible.  If you wanted to, you could blame biochemistry for blood draining toward the extremities, fundamentally narrowing thought.  For better or worse, instinct takes over in this fear state.  Now others are for or against you, on your team or the one that opposes you.  Fear is part of our survival toolbox.

This, to my way of thinking, has summed up our cultural mentality in the US long in advance of the novel coronavirus. Hypercompetitive, clannish, fragmented in our thinking, resenting marching orders but following them anyway, ruthlessly judgmental of those from different clans and tribes so that we must dismiss their every idea.  Ruled by leaders who mirror these qualities back at us, we resent the reflection or assume too easily that it’s not ours.  The Covid emergency has greatly sharpened this image in the mirror. Can we afford not to do something about what we see?

The prevailing meaning of Covid on the political left (of which I have been a fully participating member for most of my adult life) seems to be “be very afraid, you and your loved ones are going to die unless you do exactly what experts tell you and think exactly what they tell you to think, and make sure everyone around you does the same.” From what I have seen and read, that is a message that many on the left have absorbed, too often acting as if everyone that doesn’t believe as they do to the last detail will be foolishly endangering everyone. It is as if people believed that the wrath of the Universe would be rained down should any sign of withdrawn faith in the expert class be allowed to surface.

There are many things one could legitimately think about the current worldwide health crisis. There are many pieces of information to be considered that aren’t being considered. When people are shut down from speaking them, good solutions are lost.

This is a very messed up, unhealthy way to live. May I suggest a meaning of Covid that is hopeful, purposeful, healing rather than debilitating? If you would allow yourself to see Covid as a look in the mirror of the collective psyche, you as an individual could possibly gain an opportunity to release a crippling team mentality and once again just breathe, think, feel, imagine. Who knows, maybe your resulting explorations will be the very thing to change our collective human trajectory. You would find your way out of mental lockdown, that form of modern day imprisonment where you perceive the other team’s ideas as a threat to your very life. What a surprise it will be to find that that door unlocks from the inside.

Like Biblical plagues each worse than the last, the virus reflection is at least as scary as others that preceded it, but it seems to me that we will ignore it at our peril.  The mirror is showing us who we have become so that we can change. Where is there healing from these deeply grooved patterns of thought that the mirror is revealing right now?  Healing comes in many forms. Look around, look within, don’t stop until you’ve found the healing you need right now.

How to Trust Western Medicine

I trust Western medicine but only on my own terms. As long as the buck stops here, I am grateful for options Western medicine provides.  I am glad for its diagnostic capabilities, for the possibilities of surgery, medications, trauma care, vaccines. I am grateful that people spent years developing specialized skills in case I should ever choose to make use of them.

The pressure to conform one’s thinking to existing pathways is more intense than ever right now. In the states, you are supposed to find Fauci infallible, or find Trump infallible, and on down the line. This is to say that not having unflagging trust in the medical profession doesn’t make me an “anti-vaxxer” or prone to the sway of conspiracy theories. As there are plenty of legitimate reasons to distrust the pharmaceutical industry, being skeptical of it doesn’t either. Nor does distrust in either make me “anti-science,” the practice of science having many more caveats than most of us appreciate.

Though medical doctors will often be able to offer some kind of solution for a problem you present, sometimes it’s a strikingly rutted, defective one. It might create collateral damage. It could have unknown long-term consequences. It might not be all that effective or promising. It could also be prohibitively expensive in the short- or long-term. It’s not that medical doctors don’t have good things to offer, but the offerings are in fact very limited. The large percentage of people who seek alternative treatments every year know this from personal experience.

As Abraham Maslow observed, he who is good with a hammer tends to think everything is a nail. We might apply this statement to the current crisis, where medical doctors are in charge of how we solve our coronavirus problem. They admit no solutions to the problems we face besides their own kind. Their points of impacting the virus, based on a blinkered way of viewing the human body, are their “nails.” Collateral damage is irrelevant to this way of thinking. However, it is not necessary for you to think precisely the way they think.

There are many tools besides hammers (as my core articles show), and many proven ways to create wellness for yourself. However, the choice to look at the tool chest of techniques for achieving wellness is yours and yours alone.






Best Ways to Send Fear Packing

Beautiful cloudy sky

Photo by Faisal Ahmad

Here in the States, fear and anxiety are as surely in the air as coronavirus-laced respiratory droplets.

Last night I googled “anxiety solutions” to see what the major mental health outlets are suggesting we do about this. In addition to cognitive behavioral therapy and meds, most suggest eight, ten, or fifteen (etc.) other things you could do. These include everything from deep breathing and meditation to hanging out with pets and diffusing lavender oil.

This is all fine and good. However, conspicuously missing from practically all of these lists are two deep-acting, self-help, energy strategies. Each has numerous clinical studies to support its efficacy, meaning they deserve our attention right now. They are

  • Emotional Freedom Technique (over a hundred peer-reviewed studies confirm its efficacy)

  • Techniques created by the HeartMath Institute (over three hundred peer-reviewed and independent studies support their efficacy)

Fear and anxiety badly interfere with your immune system’s ability to stave off all kinds of illnesses, including Covid-19.  At least to avoid disease, it is very important to release these nasty emotions as quickly and reliably as possible.  Here is some information about those two ignored tool sets, for your consideration.

1. EFT

EFT is a clinically proven energy tool to use whenever any troublesome emotion strikes. It basically combines three elements: a triggering statement (e.g., “Even though I feel terrified about losing my job”), a statement of affirmation (e.g., “I deeply and completely love and accept myself”), and tapping on an easy-to-learn circuit of seven or eight acupressure points. It is as effective as it is simple. If you are like the majority of people, you will find relief for many problems after just a few rounds of this combination.

Though you may feel silly performing EFT on yourself at first (as I certainly did!), the astonishing results may cause you to forget this feeling very quickly. With a little skill, you will find yourself able to drain off and even eliminate negative emotions practically on the spot. For really difficult, entrenched problems you can always consult an expert. (I go to Marian Buck Murray online for those kinds of problems, and I highly recommend her.)

The tapping community is very generous and there are many free resources available for EFT online. For starters:

Get a free copy of The EFT Tapping Mini-Manual

Take a free introductory course geared toward professionals by one of the masters

Either link will put you on the EFTUniverse site, which is loaded with resources of many kinds.

2. HeartMath

The HeartMath Institute has been researching the psychophysiology of emotions, and the interactions of heart and brain, for decades. To help people strained by our current circumstances, the Institute is currently offering a beautifully produced introductory video, including instructions for five of their basic techniques, for free.

To create the healthful habits of heart and mind that deter anxiety and fear, HeartMath suggests practicing their methods for six weeks. While HeartMath techniques may not produce the instantaneous results often seen with EFT, I would wager that they settle into the system no less quickly than CBT or meds.  Given the amount of time it took many of us to become the anxiety-prone people we are, it seems to me that timeline is nothing short of miraculous!

Even more importantly, HeartMath aims to help people live a heart-centered life: fulfilling, passionate, compassionate, joyful, loving. These emotions can’t but heal the fragmentation that has torn us apart, both individually and collectively. Alongside this powerful cast of positive emotions, fear and anxiety can settle into the bit parts they were actually meant to play.

If you don’t have your own tried-and-true techniques for alleviating negative emotions, I hope you will consider one or both of these amazing resources for that role. Their benefits are likely to go way beyond supporting your immune system.





The Parable of the Coronavirus

Field of wildflowers with a looming storm

photo by Mario Alvarez, Unsplash

Your immune system is a magical resource that performs millions upon millions of processes each and every second to see to your health. To run properly, this system needs plenty of energy. When that is available, you enjoy health and life can feel wonderful!

The fight-or-flight system, which kicks in the moment you perceive a threat, also uses a lot of energy. This fear-laced system adrenalizes you and sends the greatest possible amount of blood to your extremities. Only then will you be able to outrun that tiger.

The energy needs of each of these two systems are too great for them to work at the same time. It is one or the other, and fight-or-flight trumps the immune system every time if both are needed. It doesn’t matter how sick you feel when there is a tiger to outrun!

Believe it or not,  doctors actually prescribe the very same stress hormones your body uses in fight-or-flight for organ transplant patients. This prevents their immune systems from vanquishing the alien intruders according to their habit.  In other words, the immune system knows to shut up or ship out when the stress hormones have spoken, so doctors tactically misinform it. How brilliant is that?

In theory (not a medically acceptable one, but humor me for a moment), the doctors could also bring the patient a pile of potentially threatening letters from the IRS and the same job would be accomplished. Or plant her mother-in-law in the bed next to her in the ICU. Frightening the patient and making her feel like she is about to die in theory would accomplish the same objective by activating the body’s own stress hormones.

Unfortunately there would be little possibility for titrating the doses of hormone with this bare-bones method, which is one reason doctors shy away from it. (Also, the pharmaceutical companies wouldn’t be making any money off of it, which is a problem for some.)

For some reason, the medical professionals overseeing the pandemic aren’t acknowledging a well-known medical fact. Two critical body systems–one for avoiding outer harms through fear and the other for creating and maintaining wellness—can’t possibly work for us at the same time.

Agency in the Age of Coronavirus

I am grateful to Dr. Bruce Lipton for making such scientific concepts understandable for lay people through his books and videos. See Biology of Belief: Unleashing the Power of Consciousness, Matter, and Miracles (Hay House, 2005).