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While I am working on the laptop on a coaching program for this 2022, my smartphone notifies me that I have a message on Messenger.

I am working with some freedom and therefore I read it.

She is a friend with whom we are used to joke and send us ironic posts.

“Is the photo yours?” says the message followed by a link.

I never open links that arrive via social media unless the addresses are clearly recognizable or if I am sure of what I will find once opened.

This time I did it, I clicked …

And since I was intent on doing something else, when the smartphone alerted me that Facebook was asking to log in again to view the content of the link, without giving any weight to it, I agreed that my e-mail address and password were reinserted (on the other hand, a double click was enough: I saved them on Google …).

Done and done! I fell into the trap.

The virus entered my account and – in addition to “infecting” it – began to spread to some of my contacts.

Although I managed to contain the damage – mine and my contacts – for quite some time during the day I was left with a marked sensation of discomfort, a bitter taste.

I felt vulnerable, imprudent, anti-smart (I don’t know if you say that, but I hope it conveys the idea), intolerably naive, primitive or rather paleozoic-digital.

But above all, and it was the most unpleasant feeling, “infected” and “infectious”.

Of course, the comparison with true reality is impossible.

Real life is testing us with viruses and infections of a very different nature, but when I tried to retrace the events by first listening to my feelings and emotions, I made an interesting discovery.

In the late afternoon of a day at the end of September 2020 – we were at the beginning of the second wave of the Covid19 pandemic – while I was driving back from a workshop I received a call from one of my coachee.

We had had a coaching session the week before, he had just a bit of a cold then, but as the days went by that simple ailment had become something more important and he eventually found out he got sick with Covid.

I was potentially infected and therefore a possible virus spreader.

Cold shower!

At that time there were no vaccines, tests were rare and could only be carried out in organized facilities.

I spent a few uneventful days isolating myself immediately to try to contain the potential damage.

In the end, the result of the swab was negative, but I can guarantee that before receiving it – with the due differences in intensity – the emotions and sensations I experienced were completely similar to those I felt for the virtual contagion.

What unites a virtual contagion and a potential real contagion (at least until a test proves the opposite)?

I looked for an answer as a coach and I found 3 elements that gave me 3 learnings.

Julien Tromeur

First element : whether we like it or not, whether we are dealing with something concrete or with something imaginary, the most real thing we immediately deal with, our first interlocutor, are our emotions.

Emotions are something real and concrete, so you have to make sure that they are treated in a real and concrete way with all that follows.

At the same time, if I am something real and concrete, I am also something distinct from me: I am not my anger or my joy, I feel anger or I feel joy.

I am not my emotions, they are not my thoughts, I can choose or – better – learn to choose not to get lost in them, to try to observe them, to observe myself while I am dealing with them .

And speaking of getting lost, second element : virtual or potential contagions stress us, that is, they subject our life system to an important “negative” stress because they keep us constantly (in a more or less conscious way) alerted.

Some neuroscientists who deal in particular with emotions and stress define fear as a simple empty signal, a simple warning signal that each one fills with meaning according to the circumstances and moments of life.

If the life of an average human being who lives in our latitudes has been subjected to prolonged and constant levels of negative stress for some time, this pandemic we are experiencing has increased in all of us – for different reasons – the level of alert.

The sense of fear, anger and frustration winds between us and within us and transforms into a kind of background noise of our inner and relational experiences.

Being aware of this and looking for effective alternatives helps us to lower the alert level and increase the level of focus, attention span and discernment .

The virus has triggered a major change.

Third element : we are still fully in that “middle river” that divides the banks of what it was before the virus appeared – and which in some ways will no longer be – and what is to come but is not there yet.

That is, we are in full transition.

The river in which we are immersed is full of risks and opportunities, it is an unexplored water in which excitement and anxieties, certainties and uncertainty, outbursts of energy and profound frustrations are combined and confused.

The “middle river” can be a gentle and treacherous water at the same time, one would want to get on a lifeboat, but diving is the only way to be sure of landing on the shore of new beginnings.

There are some facilitating factors that can make a difference in how we can cope with the waters of the “middle river”.

One of them is: giving and receiving support .

The contagion pushes to isolate and isolate oneself. The risk of feeling (or wanting to be) alone is more than real.

Look around and realize what we can help do to support those who are isolated or know how to ask for help if we are or feel isolated, seek alliances, explore relationships and rewarding modes of interaction, … create all opportunities to isolate the virus and opening channels of humanity supports our physical, mental and spiritual immune defenses.

I am particularly grateful to Matteo and Silvia for helping me overcome the impasse of the virtual contagion I ran into.

Have a good swim in the “middle river”.

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