Episode 214: Ego Work, Grief, and the Coronavirus
Welcome to this episode of Bucci Radio!
Experiencing how you’re showing up in this pandemic is giving every single human the opportunity to do what’s called ego work. I’m going to first define this concept and introduce it to you, provide examples, and move into how we can heal and use it to our advantage.
However you’re showing up is completely okay, but what happens psychologically is this:
The pandemic ensued, and every human on the planet began feeling the uncertainty that’s really always there.
Uncertainty is essentially the fear of the unknown, fear of dying, fear of the dark, etc.
The EGO is a function of the mind that identifies as “I.” I am this, I feel this, I think this, I believe this.
It tells stories, runs narratives, and assigns meaning to you, the world, and other people based on its experiences so far. It helps us make sense of things. It also gives us a sense of identity. Having a sense of identity makes us feel like a human, with a purpose.
That’s why it likes to keep us in the familiar, predictable, and safe patterns. It protects us from painful emotions that might be too overwhelming to feel. Anything that ISN’T familiar is a THREAT to the ego.
- 1:39- Amanda discusses how we are experiencing showing up right now, and what ego work is
- 5:30- How does the ego work and what is its purpose?
- 8:57- Amanda leads us through a meditation
- 13:34- Questioning our belief systems and why it’s uncomfortable for us
- 14:50- Uncertainty and why our ego hates it
- 17:00- Amanda talks about an argument between her and her partner related to ego
- 24:00- How uncertainty makes us respond and why how you’re responding right now is okay
- 26:43- What is an ego death and how do we respond to it?
- 28:57- Amanda describes some different ego structures
- 33:59- How we are currently mourning the loss and grieving the fact that things have changed so much
The ego work is through self-observation and witnessing.
So with the coronavirus pandemic…
We are all going through a major bout of uncertainty, which the ego absolutely HATES.
It’s identity is being threatened. It’s sense of self. Believes about itself, other people, and the world.
A few examples:
- story about privilege, spirituality, and sense of self were being threatened
- needing to be right about how he reacted when it came to Cooper.
And how you are responding to the virus right now is how you likely respond to all ego-related things, except AMPLIFIED—because survival and safety is involved, quite literally—financial or health wise.
Are you getting angry?
Are you feeling anxious?
Are you avoiding feeling?
Are you coping, numbing out?
I want to tell you: however you’re responding right now, is absolutely okay. If you don’t enjoy how you’re responding and feel as though you need help, reach out to me and I can point you in the right direction—mental health, wellness, or otherwise—I’m here.
And if you’re responding by having a few extra drinks, eating a bit more food, sleeping more, etc. — I just want you to know that you make sense.
The ego is feeling deeply uncertain, and deeply needing to cling on any sense of certainty and feel good it can.
It resists being shattered into pieces.
If you look at people who are discussing conspiracy theories—I’m not falling on one side or the other in this episode, but you see the anger people have on both ends. To me, i’m observing a few different places in the grief stages.
Denial. —> even if none of it’s true, it’s triggering because it’s threatening.
An ego death is what occurs when you let go of a part of yourself that believed it was the way it was.
I’m personally experiencing many mini-ego deaths.
- I believed I would never run. Now I run.
- I didn’t think I’d ever get myself to cook because I was so stuck in the habit. Now I do.
- I didn’t think I’d ever get angry, because my coping mechanism has been shut down. Now, I’m letting myself feel anger when it arises. God, my ego HATED that one. It was so painful. It still makes me want to vomit. But psychologically, anger is a step up from shut down. Shut down is an emotional turn off where you numb out.
Things we automatically trusted were okay, are now not:
- grocery store
- potentially the government
- our goals and plans we thought would make us happy
- the things we felt safe doing and moving toward
What’s HAPPENING is that there is SO MUCH uncertainty, which leads to so much chaos, and therefore…destruction
Destruction is not bad. It’s just the ego that doesn’t like it. It fucking HURTS. If you’ve ever had what you could only describe as a death of part of yourself…you know. It feels messy and gross. But what comes out is a rebirthed version of the self, and the collective.
And rebirth can be beautiful.
Examples of how things are changing and what they never thought could change without necessity:
- universities going online and serving more people
- studios and classes hosting things online
- hand shaking? how does that change the conversation around intimacy with strangers?
- the environment? how does it change?
- home? how do you relate to your home?
For me, here’s what I’m changing:
- One thing this is truly forcing me to do is get clear on what beliefs are mine and what aren’t.
- My partner is huge into social justice and politics. He reads a lot.
- I’ve let him be my filter for the last few years.
- And, I personally can allow that to take over my thought process and belief systems.
- Turns out, that’s a part of my EGO STRUCTURE.
- As an enneagram 9 (there’s an AMAZING book—roaming free inside the cage…..) my ego structure makes peace, avoids conflict, and when unhealthy—allows for others opinions to turn into their own.
- Chameloning is easy for me. I’ve let that happen most of my life. Emo friend in middle school, I became emo. etc.
- Living with a highly opinionated and well studied person is forcing me to check in with my own beliefs and see if I agree, or I’m just agreeing because it’s him.
Reminders of this episode:
- It’s okay if you’re coping a bit with things that feel comfortable. that’s naturally what might need to happen. Eating a little extra, whatever—the ego is so resistant.
- How you do one thing is how you do everything.
- You may be in the beginning stages of grief of a loss of sense of self, others, and the world.
If you are struggling to handle what’s happening right now, please reach out to me on Instagram @amandabucci