Updated: May 1
COVID-19 Changed Everything
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted people's lives in many different ways. There are those who have been infected with the virus and experiencing significant health problems. There also those who have lost loved ones to the virus and experiencing deep grief. Many more people have had their daily routines, employment, and social activities impacted by "social distancing", "quarantine", and "stay at home" measures, in order to slow the spread of coronavirus.
I have also seen how the COVID-19 pandemic has caused personal psychological distress and suffering for a whole other set of reasons. A person’s sense of identity and self-worth are often wrapped up in their body, physical appearance, and level of fitness. There is no shortage of people who are addicted to exercise and striving to maintain the perfect body. But now that many gyms and fitness centers are closed because of the coronavirus, people are suffering with anxiety and fear, and feel unstable inside.
People also derive a sense of normality, identity and worth from all their external activity - feelings of productivity and accomplishment through work, validation and approval through social interaction, a sense of importance from our busyness, and elevated feelings from the stimulus of all our engagements with the world. We often keep our focus outward and busy in order to distract ourselves from the chronic unhappiness, disharmony, brokenness, anxiety, and fear that longers beneath the surface. For many people, the “stay at home” injunction is unnerving. Being alone with oneself and stripped of the routine, activities and busyness that we depend upon for our sense of worth and identity is discomforting and frightful. Many people's response to this is more Netflix, more social media, and more stress and anxiety.
The alternative is using this season of less engagement with the outer or external world, and more engagement with your inner or interior world.
What if... What if you stepped back from your life and took an honest look at what you depend upon for your sense of identity and worth? What if you threw all your assumptions on the table about your identity, the world, life, and what matters, and investigated them with earnestness, openness, curiosity and critical thinking? Rather than running away from your chronic unhappiness, disharmony and woundedness through all your busyness, what if you moved toward it and faced it courageously and compassionately? What if you took this time of relative inactivity and the temporary stoppage of the constant bustle of movement, noise, activity, and interaction, and opened yourself in stillness and quietude to explore your inner being?
To offer this alternative I have created the 30-Day Investigation Group. What I mean by “investigation" is choosing to redirect the time, energy and focus that are typically turned outward and engaged in external activity, and using them to explore your life and inner world more deeply. The 30-Day Investigation Group includes:
a daily investigation assignment that I share and offer instructions
each participant undertaking the investigation for that day
recording your findings in a daily journal
sharing your discoveries and insights with others if you choose to
a daily video where I share my thoughts and respond to comments
a final PDF with all 30 investigations for future use and reference
Some of the areas the investigations relate to are:
deconstructing false beliefs and assumptions that govern our lives
how to deal with troubling emotions such as fear, anxiety and overwhelm
exploring the true nature of reality through meditation
cultivating a life of simplicity
addressing the root cause of chronic unhappiness and disharmony
disentangling oneself from toxic religious indoctrination
the difference between self-improvement and self-realization
overcoming victim mentality
30-Day Investigation Group Details
I have created a private FB group for the 30-Day Investigation Group . All the written content, video content, daily investigation assignments, and sharing will take place in this private group. I am asking each participant to make a donation of 25$ or more to my PayPal Friends of Jim Palmer Scholarship Fund. I utilize these funds to cover the costs of my pro bono personal development work with the homeless, incarcerated, cult survivors, and victims of domestic violence. I have also seen an uptick of people interested in coaching and guidance around the world who have been impacted significantly and distressed by the realities of the coronavirus. I will not deny any person's participation in the 30-Day Investigation Group, even if they cannot afford the 25$, but if all possible please consider a 25$ donation or more if you are able to help others who are in great need and crisis.
In our explorations and investigations we will be doing a daily investigation into our inner world, the substructures of our personal identity, the assumptions on which we understand life and the nature of reality, and the root causes of our chronic unhappiness and disharmony.
The basic idea is to apply ourselves to self-inquiry, be students of our own lived experience, and rely upon critical thinking and direct experience as tools for investigating our identity, consciousness, and the true nature of reality. Each day I post a FB Live video to discuss that day's investigative assignment. If you are interested, please sign-up ASAP.
Here is the link to the PayPal Friends of Jim Palmer Scholarship Fund. I have left the amount open so you can determine what donation you are able to make. After you enroll with your PayPal contribution, go to this link to request membership in the private group.