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  • Writer's pictureDavid Sutcliffe


I caught Covid in a Sweat Lodge on Christmas Day.

I was sick for a week: fatigue, brain fog, body pain, headache, sore throat, and night sweats. It wasn’t pleasant.

But the worst symptom was the despair. For thirty-six hours I couldn't escape the feeling that life was meaningless and empty. It was hell. (And I mean that literally. Hell, I realized, is not a physical place. It’s the absence of hope, meaning, and the unrelenting feeling of doubt.)

I was comforted when I heard that others were having the same experience. It was good to know I wasn’t alone, that there was nothing wrong with me.

I was relieved when it finally passed, but I was glad to have felt it. It was humbling.

I immediately set out to inoculate myself against feeling it again. I decided I must be more vigilant with my thoughts. I must purge negative thinking before it takes hold, interrupt the pattern, reframe and redirect.

And so I’ve doubled down and my gratitude practice and renewed my focus on daily affirmations. I’ve made “programming” my unconscious mind my highest priority. I’m going to teach my brain to think positively, to focus on the good and beautiful, and to orient toward optimism, love, and acceptance.

This is something I’ve always done, but it wasn’t until I was sick with Covid I realized my mind had become corrupted.

We’ve all been bombarded by fear these last few years. That fear has caused irrationality, defensiveness, anger, and resentment. This mind virus may be more destructive than Covid-19 itself.

And it’s all been exacerbated by the social media algorithms, programmed to capture our attention by eliciting outrage; and by our news media, who’ve exploited the crisis for clicks and ratings.

And whether through incompetence or corruption, our leaders have failed us. We’ve been lied to, gaslit, used, and manipulated. It’s enraging and deeply disappointing.

Is there anyone not experiencing a crisis of faith?

The despair I felt during my illness eventually gave way to grief, and the grief finally lead me to acceptance.

That’s where I am now. I know I cannot change the world or solve its problems. And man will never be cured of his affection for evil. I can only manage the corruption of my own soul.

For this I look to God. I pray for the strength to overcome my cynicism. There’s nothing clever in it. It’s just weakness; and a path back to the hell of despair.

Hold onto the light. Hold onto your goodness. Remember your divinity. And know that all fear is an illusion.

With Love,


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