Been Here – Done This

Do you recall the movie JAWS?  It was an American thriller film directed by Steven Spielberg. In the film, a man-eating great white shark attacks beachgoers at a summer resort town. A few years later JAWS 2 was briefly the highest-grossing sequel in history until ROCKY II.  The JAWS film’s tagline, “Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water…,” became one of the most famous lines in film history and I believe is apropos for our current situation.

Just when we thought it was safe to return to a somewhat normal life, here comes the COVID Delta Variant! Let’s face it, we were more than overdue to get out of our homes, visit friends and loved ones that we have been missing, and perhaps return to a little travelling. To say we were ready for a worry- free summer of socializing and fun, would be an understatement!

And like JAWS, just when we thought it was safe to go into the water, the Delta variant rears its ugly head. Some states have reported the largest number of COVID cases since January, the month with the highest number of COVID cases since the pandemic began.  We are also seeing states break records for COVID hospitalizations for multiple days in a row.

As if that wasn’t enough, we are seeing breakthrough COVID even for some who have been vaccinated. However, the good news appears to be that symptoms are less severe in those who are vaccinated, but still contract COVID.

I am not a medical expert and you can watch the news and read for yourself. So, this article is about me… and about you… not COVID statistics.

At first, when the news starting surfacing about COVID being on the rise again, I managed to ignore it. I told myself: don’t worry, you’re vaccinated.  “I am safe,” I told myself. I am not engaging in high-risk behavior with huge crowds who may or may not be vaccinated. And then, the news started giving statistics on breakthrough cases around the world. I could only stick my head in the sand for so long…

That familiar feeling of almost 20 months ago hit me in the pit of my stomach. I started focusing on what I couldn’t do, dwelling on what I had lost in the blink of an eye, through no fault of my own. Familiar feelings and emotions arose:  anger, depressed, trapped, helpless – did I already say anger?

Then came a familiar voice saying “Wake up Joan!!!” You’ve been here before, remember?

I went for months feeling like a prisoner in my own home until I realized I needed to do something different, so I did. The good news is that this time, it didn’t take me near as long to realize I need to do some different – to take charge of my own life.

Some of the questions that are helping me to rebound more quickly this time are:

  • Have I been here before? How did it turn out?
  • What worked for me last time, and what didn’t?
  • What did I do? When did I do it? Who helped me?
  • What did I learn last time that I can use this time to get back on track more quickly?
  • What advice would I give my best friend if she shared this situation with me?

Maybe the Delta variant will be short lived, but if I have learned anything in my life, it is to prepare for the worst and hope for the best.

In addition to my questions above, here are a few more that you might consider in your own preparation for any less than fun days ahead and/or reclaiming your life sooner instead of later.

  • What have you been doing that you can continue to do? (Walking, exercising, reaching out to others, taking an on-line class, learning a new skill)
  • What new things can you do? (Not what you can’t do)
  • Who is in your network? Who can you talk things out with?
  • Who are those closest to you, that you trust, that you can begin building your safety pod with?
  • How can you create and experience joy every day? For yourself? For others?
  • Affirm to yourself that you are a victor not a victim, and DO what it takes to take care of you.

I am happy to share the following quote, which was shared with me by one of my favorite clients.

The author is Portia Nelson, an American singer, songwriter, actress and author of There’s a Hole in My Sidewalk, a loved collection of poems and truisms. Enjoy…

“I walk down the street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I fall in. I am lost…I am helpless.

It isn’t my fault.

It takes forever to find a way out.


I walk down the same street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I pretend I don’t see it.

I fall in again.

I can’t believe I am in the same place.

But it isn’t my fault.

It still takes me a long time to get out.


I walk down the same street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I see it is there.

I still fall in. It’s a habit.

My eyes are open.

I know where I am.

It is my fault. I get out immediately.


I walk down the same street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I walk around it.

I walk down another street.



At any one time in our lives, we can be students and teachers.

My hope is that you choose to walk down a different street.

I encourage you to be a teacher by sharing what has and/or is working for you as you take charge of your life.

Drop me a note to and let me know your coping strategies or what works best for you.


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