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Elmo and Our Trauma

So let's talk about Elmo. Last Monday, the lovable puppet tweeted out:

Elmo is just checking in! How is everybody doing?

The response was overwhelming - over 207 million views - thousands of comments - and a nationwide convulsion of reality - people are not okay....

People talked about feeling existential dread.

People talked about needing support.

People talked about deaths - divorces - layoffs - struggles.

"The world is burning, Elmo. No amount of tickles can fix this."

We cannot ignore the mental health crisis that is swirling around us.

Like other things we have feared as future problems, they are not theoretical, or warnings of things to come. They are here.

There are no easy fixes for this. It must be acknowledged and faced, despite all the challenges of dealing with mental health.

And it bears repeating again - we cannot stay helpless in the face of fear and trouble.

Here are four things we have to do to keep ourselves grounded and managing multiple crises at once.

  1. Turn OFF the news and the screens. Don't let them rule your world and eat your brain.

  2. Take excellent care of your health - eat, rest, drink water, stretch, stay mobile.

  3. Connect with others - I recently had a long Zoom with a dear friend from back home and it was life-giving to us both, even though we didn't "have time".

  4. Find ways to make a difference - volunteer, donate, help a friend.

Keep these guiding principles in mind:

  1. Stay in the moment by practicing mindfulness.

  2. Life is a marathon, not a sprint.

  3. Big Things can only be accomplished one step, one choice, one breath at a time. Make your choices carefully, with groundedness and presence.

And when in doubt, watch Sesame Street - decades after its creation, this sweet and seemingly innocent show is filled with wisdom and kindness - those little puppets who see the world through a child's eyes give us hope.

We cannot lose hope or give up our power - we simply cannot.

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