Yes, I know there are no Zombies. Not yet. I’m not sure I can write a post that is somehow linked to feminist fitness. More “this is what I am doing at home to keep my body moving” stories are great but that is not my headspace right now. I think this community is often about more than that of course. Inherently, this blog was founded to shift perception and change narrative around the purpose and potential of women moving in ways that make them alive and strong.
So, update: Still alive. Still strong. Still moving although it has winnowed down to walks and a little yoga. The world has winnowed down to my bedroom, my bathroom and my central area. I did not mention my kitchen, because I DON’T HAVE ONE RIGHT NOW. Somehow, three weeks ago, the idea of starting a renovation wasn’t as ridiculous and frivolous as it now seems. I love camping, so I’m still good. Not at all the worst thing happening is it?
I’m a therapist. More specifically, I am a Relational Psychotherapist. The way I engage in my job with people is not only to be helpful or give advice but to look for ways to know, connect with and be fully in present moment experiences with them. When I do this, and deal with all the blocks, hiccups, side trails and deep crevices that we encounter along the way, my clients learn that they can be seen as who they are, that they are valuable and worth knowing, that they matter. Through this fundamentally developmental experience, people grow and change and feel better.
So there I was, bopping along, dealing with all the usual, and the world fell apart. It fell apart for them and also for me, all at the same damn time. That is not the way it usually works! I have spent years in training and my own therapy so that I have a handle on my things, so that I know about the outcomes, so that I can carry hope for what it looks like on the other side. Sure it’s uncertain after you break up with your boyfriend, but eventually, you come into yourself and you feel more whole than you ever have, blah blah blah.
The theme that is coming up the most is about meaning making. We start off with check ins and reports about family and friends. They want to know I’m okay before they tell me about themselves and that’s normal, especially when there is a chance all may not be well. As we move through the sessions, so much reflects back to “But what can I do? I need to do something!” That something may be about their own stuckness or the plight of others. Many of my people are so paralyzed with worry about EVERYONE, the Uber drivers and the warehouse workers and the nurses and the restaurant workers.
We can’t help them. At least, not directly and we are consumed by the enormity of what is consuming them, of what is consuming us, of what could literally consume us if we are unlucky, vulnerable, in the wrong place at the wrong time. The universe is not benevolent. It is neutral. It does what it does and today, it’s a very successful virus having a big ‘ole party in the population. But what are we? We are meaning making creatures. We are social beings. We are good and bad. We are Moral Actors.
So, what are you going to do to make your life more meaningful? What good moral choice will you make today? What will you value? Is there a deeper value and meaning in things that you haven’t paid attention to before?
Part of my work with people these past weeks has been to tune them into these choices in their every day lives where they actually have agency, as opposed to worrying about the things they have no control over. Can they recognize the value in connecting with their family more often or reaching out to a friend? Can they organize an online community event and realize that the community would want it, that it would have value? Can they tip the Instacart person more? Can they thank the woman wiping down the grocery carts?
Other things people are doing: Giving blood, supporting really vulnerable populations with money (support Maggie’s House here and support sex workers, I don’t know how much more vulnerable you can get than that), waving at all the delivery truck drivers and giving them a thumbs up, physical distance with social consistency. Our social cohesion is the only thing that actually makes us a functioning society. Survival of the fittest is not a thing (it actually isn’t, it’s a misreading of Darwin). Survival is in the collective, in our variability within our webs of connection. It is in sharing and caring and we do this, in spite of the neutral universe that favours no one and no thing.
The virus is having its day as viruses do. Who will we be when it is all over? We are in the liminal now. If you didn’t set your intention, there is still time. There is still time to make meaning that is good for all of us, to be better than you were on the other side.
One thought on “Making Meaning in the Zombie Apocalypse”
Would you mind expanding on your comment about “survival of the fittest?” I certainly agree (if this is what you are saying) that Darwin’s ideas had nothing to do with fitness as it is often used today, or as it is used in this great blog (where it is a variation on being in good physical shape; his phrase has nothing to do with push ups or running). But on the other hand, he did use the phrase and commented on why he found it useful in explaining his theory of evolution. To him, it meant something much broader: a species that is able to reproduce successfully through generations is the fittest. If a genetic change in the species makes it fitter or less fit, it will increase or decrease its survival probability. In fact, he agreed with Spencer, the originator of the phrase, that it avoided the inherent weakness of his original term, natural selection, in that it eliminated any suggestion of some mysterious power making the selection. So it more closely aligned with your reference to “the neutral universe that favours no one and no thing.”
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