Palingenesis (/ˌpælɪnˈɛnəsɪs/) From the Greek palin, meaning ‘again’, and genesis, meaning ‘birth’. It represents the concept of rebirth or re-creation; a new beginning; to begin again.  

Hope can be an absurd quality. It holds tightly to our projections and takes a circuitous route through the rational and irrational pathways of our mind to an imagined resolution. It continues to ripen with unrelated events and has the power to change from moment to moment.  Hope is a truly elegant human coping mechanism. It harbored our lives through this pandemic. 

 COVID is now savagely embedded in the popular mind, hastily upon its path to becoming mythic. This virus lies across the equinox of two realms: biological and psychological. COVID-19 is a multi-faceted harbinger of illness, death, grief, accentuated fears, power-complexes, controls, wealth, and opportunity. It will likely always introduce divisions wherever it is discussed. Is COVID particularly special in itself, or is it rather a reflection of the current polis’ caste of mind? History may offer a more poignant perspective with distance.  

For many of us who remain in the aftermath of this pandemic, we find ourselves fatigued with the discussion; its urgency atrophied, leaving us in an ambivalent grief that seems too elusive to be wholly defined. 

Collectively we have lost much with this pandemic, and the turmoil has, in no small way, impacted us at Arbor Family Counseling. Though our counselors remained engaged, our offices grew silent as we turned to virtual sessions, rebuilding the therapeutic frame through the flat dimension of digital image. Sharing the tension with our clients in the face of a world suddenly askew, required each professional to hold the tension within themselves.  

 The pandemic, like any unfamiliar siege, forges a special awareness. That awareness may still feel foreign to us, a paradoxicality of experience. At a glance we see in the margin of our collective initiation what appears to be our lost potential; all our longings in stasis. How easy the temptation is to perseverate our fears and regrets until the wheels of anxiety grind us up. This ordeal was an unanticipated grief, and where it remains unfiltered by deeper reflection, numbed by weary astonishment, it devolves to an ambivalent grief.  

It seems now that many of us are living in this ambivalent grief, undecided as to whether there is still a threat or not; unable to fully calculate the impact this phenomenon has had on us individually and collectively. Our collective anxiety is hypersensitive to the voice of new variants, hurling us again, tiny, vulnerable, still fragile, into an utterly tragic disposition. Our culture has been traditionally focused on self-reliance and rugged individualism, yet this collective event has shaken the moorings of such American myths. It has revealed our deficit in dialogue and civil connection.  

 As of this writing, our communities are in recovery, and we are confronted with the challenge of denying the desuetude of our imagination and vitality. It is important that we honor ourselves with our experience and its congruency with our faith, our beliefs, and our values. If perception is applied uncertainty, then perhaps we can discover great potential in the future unknown. This pandemic realigned our life-lens and allowed a respite from superfluously important things. 

Can we doubt the worth of our experience? If we do, is that not a conspiracy against ourselves? We have all received something sacred from this pandemic, even if it is yet still unrecognized. We are changed though we may not have learned anything particularly profound. My hope is that through this traumatogenic pandemic passage our hearts have been steeled with the courage to temper our experience with a revelry of acceptance. Psychologically speaking, our perspective of reality is a system of ordering and relating to things; even chaos. Our experiential acceptance is the beginning of the mind’s quest for quiescence. 

Every dark age is followed by a renaissance, which can be translated as an abundance of heart, soul, and mind. Borrowing the words of Albert Camus, “In the midst of winter, I found within me an invincible summer.” May you find your “invincible summer,” for in this is your palingenesis, your road to begin again. I share in the anticipation of our evidence of revival; our collective palingenesis.  


Latest post by Steve Thomas, Originally published as “Proof of Life” by Steve Thomas,