Tuesday, December 15, 2020


By Stacey Kumagai

If you have chronic health issues, cancer, autoimmune diseases like Lupus, MS, gout, GERD, fibromyalgia, stroke, epilepsy, diabetes, have had a heart attack (and the list goes on) amid COVID-19 – chances are you’re at a new crossroads.

If you have any pre-existing conditions like these or something from the long encyclopedia list of other conditions during this pandemic then you’re experiencing something that others who were healthy before coronavirus have not:  Having to navigate healthcare treatments, recovery, telemedicine, unreturned phone calls, specialists not speaking to your primary care doctor with updates because there is literally ‘no time,’ and yes, your own emergency situation and care at a time when the entire world’s healthcare system is taxed-to-the-max and overloaded.

Your HUMAN self may sit and say “Okay, is this it? Is this my fate/hand I am dealt?”

Facing mortality as one of the ‘forgotten’ may feel debilitating getting through this overloaded system.

But may I gently and annoyingly remind you that your HIGHER-SELF SOUL knows better.

It is time for a REBIRTH of HOW you approach your own health care in a changed system and a new world that you have not had to navigate before.

With that it is here I wish to empower you with LINKING TO YOUR OWN PATIENT ADVOCACY THROUGH COMMUNICATION before it gets to the point of no return and may it be helpful as you try to live in a world adjusting to COVID-19’s vaccinated, those unable to get vaccinated due to underlying conditions/allergies like yours, and what health care may look like for you trying to get help through this changed system.  

Before I get into a long-winded, unedited rambling blog as I already anticipate this will fast top 3,000 words based from my own personal experience, let me first arm you with some facts/truths and direction to help you through this time.


  • 1)      Create a telephone tree of all of your doctors from your primary care to every specialist with a list of every test, lab and screening you’ve had and do your best to gather every single medical record YOURSELF that you’ve ever had.  This includes any blood tests, X-rays, ultrasounds, EKGs, etc. and be sure to include the dates of these tests listing all of this UNDER THE NAME of your doctor, the phone and fax numbers for each specialist who ordered them.

WHY is this important?  Your Primary Care Physician may be the “hub” who has all your records, but during a pandemic – they DO NOT HAVE THE TIME to talk to all of your doctors, nor send them copies of anything so that all the doctors are on the ‘same page.’  The older you are, I know this seems daunting because your list may be longer, but if you don’t take control over your entire past history NO ONE WILL. 

This could be DEADLY for you if one of your specialists does not ‘know’ what one of your other specialists has advised for treatment, test, lab or via prescription or what they’ve advised you to do as their recommended next step (if any) or lack of next step.

The truth about Western Medicine is that everyone says “You have to ask your primary care physician” – but if your specialists are not bothering to update said PCP with what they discovered, did or advised when they saw you (as they are already overwhelmed with Covid-long-haulers dealing with a myriad of SYMPTOM AFTERMATH of the virus) and you have not thoroughly and diligently kept a FULL DIARY of dates, treatments and info yourself because you assume your specialist did – you have to take matters into your own hands AND do it yourself like you’ve never DIY’d in your life before as if your life depends on it – BECAUSE IT DOES.

YES… you read that right – you have to take matters into your own hands because NO ONE ELSE WILL.

Right now during this pandemic, many E.R. facilities, hospitals and Urgent Care Centers are not allowing patients to come in person to get their records to share with their doctors because it is dangerous to have crowds of people in line to wait to get their records.

So if you do not consider yourself to be a good administrative assistant or coordinator or task-masterer – this is when you are expected to put on this hat yourself as you fight for your own health and life to call, fax (yes, you’ll have to find a public fax if you don’t still have the retro throwback, because most doctors to not do things via email), send and follow-up with phone calls for every document, CD-ROM imaging, report and lab result to coordinate with all of your other specialists. 

SIGH.  I know… you’re the weary limping patient running on fumes, frustration, pain and pieces of hope for help. This is especially so if you’ve had to SWITCH HEALTH INSURANCES due to layoffs, and jobs disappearing in this pandemic… health insurance companies do not have a department to pour over all your old stuff with the other said health insurance company. That is a fact. They will NOT do this legwork for you.

Now while you’re supposed to be in bed at home trying to get well and tend to keeping yourself alive, keep your livelihood and sanity, the HARD TRUTH IS – you have to now take on this ‘job’ you didn’t know you were going to have to take on in order to STAY ALIVE amid this pandemic AND ALSO avoid getting Covid and all that goes with it from here on out.

This is especially true, because MILLIONS (!)  ---- YES, MILLIONS OF PEOPLE who have already had Covid and now have LIFE-LONG health issues in the aftermath are going to overload the system further.

While getting the vaccine can prevent more cases, the DAMAGE IS DONE to those who now have a buffet of health conditions that COVID ACTUALLY CAUSED. You’ve seen them in the news as the “LONG HAULERS” – who now have heart issues, brain issues, lung damage issues, and hundreds of other things depending on the “severity” of what went on when they got COVID. 

What does this mean for YOU say if you have diabetes or have had a stroke or some other condition?  It means you are going to have to work harder to fight for your own health survival amid your ‘other’ conditions/illnesses/diseases and ailments.

It’s a lot. Your soul may be weary and tired already, never mind if you are sick, but this is the SAD TRUTH about navigating your health at a time like this.  

2)      Make sure every single specialist you are seeing has a COPY of said telephone tree.  

Should God provide a miracle in that there is actually a slow enough day to where medical office staff is ‘looking for something to do’ – this “LIST” in your patient file could maybe save you one phone call or one fax or one less exposure to Covid having to run around to coordinate all this all by yourself, yes – but it can also be useful if you are alone and become incapacitated at some point to remember the numerous tests, labs, specialists and who did what and when.  You may think that it is already ‘in the system’ – but unless your doctors have access to all systems (Many do NOT – FYI) – they’ll be unable to retrieve all you have experienced on your journey so far, and this includes certain hospital systems that have their own portals, particularly hospitals, E.R.s and urgent care facilities.  Unless you are a minor or fully incapacitated, no one (friends, family, etc.) can help you – because YOU as the patient have to authorize everything due to HIPAA Law.  So get organized TODAY and get CLEAR ABOUT YOUR TOMORROW.


3)      Keep an open channel with your insurance company to see what is going on behind the scenes.

Yes, you may think this is strange to say, but this is REAL.  After any telemedicine visits or actual visits with any of your doctors, they may say “I’m going to order XYZ for you and we’ll talk to you next time, on this date/time.”   This is where you say “Okay” and usually hang up.  BUT IT IS NOT OKAY. DO NOT LEAVE IT HERE.

A standard cookie-cutter relationship looks like this between doctor and patient under normal times.  Somehow humans have ‘accepted’ this as acceptable.  However, during a pandemic it is worse, because chances are your appointments are SHORTER and you don’t have time to ask a list of questions. 

THIS IS NOT ACCEPTABLE.  You need to know WHAT is being ordered and WHY and above that, you need to know HOW RELEVANT this is to what you went in for, and if there is actual solution-oriented results coming from said ‘order’ to HELP YOU, rather than HINDER YOU or worse CONFLICT with what one of your other specialists has done.

So this is where keeping an open channel with your insurance company comes in. They can explain what your doctor won’t.  They can keep you apprised of duplicate orders from your other specialists who didn’t bother to talk with one another and so forth. And yes, your insurance company can also be your friend in this light because let’s be honest – they don’t want to be milked and taken advantage of paying for unnecessary/irrelevant/duplicate things that were not fully explained TO YOU.  THIS is what you can take back to your Primary Care Doctor to discuss for your bigger picture care.

But sadly – you have to do all this heavy lifting and leg work, because it WILL NOT miraculously happen for you.  You have to dig deep and investigate yourself.  Doing so ---- CAN SAVE TIME, ENERGY, MONEY AND YES ---- YOUR LIFE especially during a pandemic when you don’t need to be going to labs multiple times for the same thing over and over with the same result getting nowhere.  PROTECT YOURSELF.

4)      Befriend your pharmacist READ, READ, READ all fine print AND ASK QUESTIONS. They know more about what medicine the doctors prescribed you than the doctors who prescribed them (!) in terms of severity of side-effects, precautions, interaction concerns, previous pre-existing condition concerns and conflicting health issues that could actually put you in a casket faster than the condition you have. 

Sorry for the reality check – but this is especially true IF your specialists are NOT aware of what OTHER specialists or your PCP have prescribed.  It’s a lethal recipe for disaster, particularly if you are seeing other specialists at the same time and things are happening rapidly before any reports can be administered (or may never be) back to your primary care doctor.

During this pandemic, each health care professional is doing their best and like a horse on a racetrack, they are not getting distracted – they are working like machines and are just doing what is in front of them, not taking hours to ponder, analyze, reflect and fully pour over your entire medical history or chart to map out your best healthy life scenario from whatever ails you.  They’re trying to keep it together the best they can, nose to the grindstone in war zone.

Ouch… I know.

But if you’ve ever seen war movies where bodies are flooding in the way chocolates are rampantly falling off of the conveyor belt like in the old episode of “I Love Lucy” where Lucy and Ethel try to keep up – then you can see our NEW WORLD SITUATION through new eyes and try to formulate your communication tactics for your own life to work through your own health map.

Proof of what I just stated is when you call the office and leave messages. They all need to be reminded of WHO YOU ARE, WHAT YOU HAVE, WHAT IS GOING ON AND WHERE YOU’VE BEEN ---- they do not keep this in the memory bank of their brains remembering every detail about you –and if you DO NOT COMMUNICATE TO REMIND THEM, it could leave you open only to whatever is exchanged in that present moment.  Do not assume they know you the way you hope they know you, even if they’ve been your doctor for more than a decade. And with Covid BRAIN FOG --- it is worse.

This is not criticism, nor judgment – merely reality at what everyone is calling ‘an unprecedented time’ of survival and getting to the next human who needs help. There is no more luxury time to sit for hours over your patient profile any longer and instead they may be quick to prescribe a ‘quick-fix’ band-aid pill rather than getting to your root cause.

I, for one am a Naturopath/Homeopath. I do not like chemicals and I do not like prescriptions and I take nothing. Sadly, I have seen too much go down and witnessed first-hand the deaths of many loved ones because no one bothered to read the warnings or ask questions. 

In fact a few of my clients actually died because their specialists and primary care did NOT communicate and the cocktail mix of medicines killed them. I lost them at ages 36, 38 and 42. Three different stories with amazing lives gone too soon – because they were not aware they had to be their own patient advocate.  THIS WAS PRE-PANDEMIC… we’re talking early 2000s.  So just imagine NOW…

During a pandemic – this is worse because the system is taxed/backed up and physicians and specialists are going through patients like numbers yelled at a deli counter.  However your pharmacist HAS THE TIME (if you are patient to wait on hold) and if you call WILL GIVE YOU THE TIME.   Again – this can save your life. 

As I had called the pharmacy to set an appointment for a Covid test, I was told by the pharmacist – “A Covid test is great, it can tell you if you have Covid today, but the truth is the tests that see if you had Covid can be much more helpful if you are experiencing anything as aftermath you’re uncertain of as we go through this – both are important as ONGOING pieces to the health picture.  Even though no one knows exactly how long you can have antibodies, keeping this in mind can help as we all ride out this wave together.”

WOW… have you ever heard of a pharmacist going the extra mile to state this?  Have your own doctors stated this?  Has the news stated this?  Have any officials shared the value of both in the breath of life as we go through this? 

I welcome you to make your own assessments.

5)      Choose Senior Nurse Practitioners to help you.

If your doctor is so overloaded they can only give you 7.5 minutes for your appointment via telemedicine or in person taking your blood pressure or swiftly running a stethoscope over your chest like a grocery cashier scans your grocery bar codes, and you need to communicate more – ask for your next appointment to be with a Senior Nurse Practitioner.  Not only will it help you navigate your journey by sharing necessary information to make sure it is actually received by human ears and the notes they take, but quite often they have a wider scope of experience talking in depth to patients with recognizable avenues to explore to do better “process of elimination” matters with tests that are not standard order. 

This can also save your life from not going down a wrong avenue of assumption and prevents your specialists from prescribing medication for a condition you have yet to confirm you have, and instead lead you to more concrete answers and eliminate wasted time, money, headache, wrong-way navigation and yes, your life again from going out to yet another out-patient facility that is unnecessarily exposing you to another opportunity to get COVID.

Communication is key and these TOP 5 ways to LINK to being  your own patient advocate are imperative for your future from here on out. 

Don’t underestimate the power of asking as many questions as you can and continue to keep asking until you get the answers you need.

FINAL BIT OF ADVICE: Don’t give up. Be a “Nudge”…. Be persistent by calling, digging and seeking answers, because NO ONE will do this for you. Only YOU can be your very own health advocate to fight for your life AND on-going care of your health conditions instead of being a mere barcoded toe tag.

While none of us know the ‘future’ of the impact of what this pandemic will do in means of our own care for other things to maintain our health, it’s better to gear up now and prepare to stand in long lines for help in what has already been a challenging time.

My hope is that what I’ve provided can be useful to you in the interim as you continue to fight for your own health and life as the world works through what was unexpected in numbers and what wasn’t planned for in this capacity to be at said capacity, leaving the rest of those fighting for other health conditions to go it alone as warriors on their own path to figure out.

From my own first-hand grueling going-it-alone through the school of hard knocks experience and like many of you, not knowing what day will be my own last, my intention is to leave this information as part of my own legacy to help the world refine their own ways of getting the care they need through improving the communication they didn’t know they had to prepare to do in this alternate world timeline reality.

May we all emerge on the other side of this beyond mere survival, but hopefully create a way to improve upon our own health and well-being to live out the rest of our lives to the fullest in the best way we can without the bulk of it wasted trying to figure out how to get the help we need when we need it.

Sending blessings, love and light to you, Lovely Souls. Wishing you good health, safety and yes, a winning streak in your own patient advocacy communication strategies to save your own life.


Stacey Kumagai








Saturday, November 21, 2020



My neighbors were outside catching a bit of a break from their home computers (schooling and remote working).  The wife and two children stood outside with their eyes closed, faces upward in order to get some needed Vitamin D from the sun for just a few minutes, while the husband was looking frustrated as he spoke calmly but loudly into his cell phone.

No one in the neighborhood deliberately chose to eavesdrop, but his volume carried across the empty ghost-town looking street mid-day.

“I don’t understand. I have my phone and my computer. I’m working more hours from home for you.  Why do you want me to drive 55 minutes on the freeway to come to the office to sit in a crowded conference room for a 30 minute in-person business meeting with colleagues who have been traveling internationally catching-who-knows-what, at a table where we do not socially distance and bring that back home to my family?  Won’t my active participation in a conference call accomplish the same thing in a safer manner?”

As I overheard this, I had an urge to give a standing ovation for him expressing his values.  He offered a solution to the in-person meeting with a phone conference. He stated that he had been loyal to the company and even put in overtime, complying with present pandemic work circumstances and then declared the consequences of harming his family by his employer’s request.

I don’t know what happened after that as I was merely walking by.  But what I do know is that one of their children had been in a wheelchair due to a debilitating illness earlier this year. The child is probably still very vulnerable undergoing treatment, and as we have gone back to the purple tier with a 10 p.m. California lock-down curfew as Covid-19 numbers continue to rise – one can never be too cautious. 

Now up to 43 deaths of people in my local neighborhood community whom I have personally known succumbing to Covid-19 in 2020, watching bodies taken away on gurneys, I see things with eyes that maybe my neighbor’s boss has not seen.   With my own sister recovering from Covid after contracting it from an asymptomatic RN in-between tests, and several friends losing their entire families, I can only applaud my neighbor for speaking up, using his voice of concern and the conscious care in trying to be safe and respectful at a time when people locally still refuse to wear face masks or adhere to the guidelines.

VALUES…These are important. PRIORITIES, SAFETY and RESPECT are imperative. 

However, I scratch my head baffled in shock wondering WHY people still are NOT getting just how much this is indeed a dangerous time.  How many more people have to die for stubborn humans to be awakened by the reality of what it is we’re all facing?

If there has been anything learned during this pandemic, we have learned who stands by their conviction and values for the above and battling others to fight for their rights to health and safety and how much more glaringly important this has become.

On the flip side, we are witnessing ego-centric wishes of others who demand ‘old ways’ of living, existing or doing business pre-pandemic without any regard to the safety and well-being to putting others at risk, with what we have been presented in our now present outcome.

We are in a time of uncertainty.

We still need to live each day and while for most of us, we do not know what that looks like globally in a cure, healing of humanity, continued struggles ensuing economically, financially, and survival for our flesh puppets worldwide… the idea of disregarding safety and health’s bigger picture isn’t just irresponsible, it is inhumane.

At this point of the game called life, we have choices. There will always be consequences and compromises with every choice.

They are not easy choices for a lot of people who feel their minds, hearts and will pull like a tug-o-war rope in their human existence, fighting their own selves internally trying to combat daily life navigation, but one thing is certain:    

Communicating our personal well-being boundaries at this time is imperative for self (and humanity’s) preservation.

Your own well-being depends on how authoritative you are with your voice in stating what your health and safety terms are for yourself, which in turn is reflective of how much you respect your own human life and others.  Yes, it is THAT revealing… showing just who you are, what you believe, how you act and above all what your character says about you.

Cognizant awareness is key. Using your voice could be life-saving for yourself and others. 

Consciousness and mindfulness of what it is you do or don’t do connects to consequences.

It is astounding at how many doctors offices are still using community cup holders filled with ballpoint pens that are not sterilized after each use as crowded lobbies without social distancing have disregard for CDC guidelines. It is just as jaw-dropping at how touch key pads at self-checkout at gas stations, ATM machines and grocery stores are not wiped down after each use. 

Yes, it is shocking how some grocery stores no longer have people standing outside the doors policing who enters mask-less; while many mechanics may go through the motions of placing plastic on your seat and floor, but will touch your car keys, steering wheel and gearshift with dirty gloves used on the previous car ahead of you… with a driver who may not have washed their hands or has been sick.

Like a teacher with a red pen, my mind noted every faux pas and violation like safety police.

After bringing these things up to the source using my voice for change, all I have encountered is a bunch of deer-in-the-headlights looks and shrugged shoulders from management everywhere, with no reassurance things will change.

I question the laziness, or what is being called coronavirus fatigue, or simply parts of humanity ‘giving up’ on the fight and wonder if this whole ‘survival of the fittest’ scenario is being pushed to the capacity of each of us paying attention to the tenth degree, all because others simply are not.

After taking a social media health sabbatical from all of the political season mudslinging, and seeing all of the violators and their selfish selfies posting mask-less public photos somehow proudly boasting their recklessness and disregard for other humans… I have ascended to a place now of asking a lot of life’s tougher questions.  So now I will also ask these of you…

  • 1)      Do you believe humanity has given up the fight in getting to the other side of this pandemic?


  • 2)      Have you voiced your own terms/safety/health boundaries and has anyone disregarded, dismissed or actually listened to you?


  • 3)      Where have you seen the most improvement or decline in your human relating with regard to protocol within your own community or immediate circle of friends, family and colleagues?  How about your own local city, county or state officials in charge?


  • 4)      Are you witnessing hypocritical violating actions where you live?  How about among your circle?


  • 5)      Have you questioned the values of the people you’re surrounded by in terms of their own ability to have respect for their own human life and thus, how that radiates outward toward the bigger picture of others?


  • 6)      Do you believe that as we as a human consciousness have evolved through this, and that there will be greater change for the better?  Or has it brought out the worst?


  • 7)      Do you believe this entire year has excavated the true colors of truth to surface in order for all of us to learn and grow to make more conscious choices and sift out/away what no longer resonates with our own truth?


  • 8)      What does your new future look like as you contemplate present-day awareness of humanity and their actions?  How will you navigate this according to your own evolution as a human and as your soul’s higher mind processes your own communication values?


  • 9)      How have you witnessed your own transformation in how you have become more mindful of your own actions and the actions of others?  Has it changed your choices and decision-making with regard to your own life and have you set a firmer foundation for your own values?


Asking yourself these questions as we approach 2021 will be revealing in terms of what stays vs. what goes in your life in what you communicate to yourself and to others as you reclaim what matters in your own health, safety and daily life. 

If there was ever a time when the echo of your parents’ speech in your mind’s eye subconscious about peer pressure were to surface, it is now and it is time to reconsider the consequences of your own human people pleasing because someone has their own wishes in play that can compromise your own health and safety. 

The ‘Oh, it’s just a quick coffee and we’ve been quarantined too long, life is short’ can now be the deadliest cup of coffee on the planet ensuring that life is even shorter if the company you keep is NOT as responsible as you. 

How will you know?  What trust issues will this bring up within you and are you willing to risk your own human life in placing trust in the request?

Just like my neighbor’s boss who was requiring an ‘in-person’ meeting in a crowded non-socially distanced conference room with a bunch of international travelers who may not have quarantined for two weeks…. Yeah, it’s exactly the same thing.  

Corporate responsibility and individual human responsibility go hand-in-hand and it is time to question whether a headstone that says “had the highest sales during a pandemic” matters more than corporate willingness for contortion in finding safety alternatives in order to say “we care about our employees and their contribution matters, and we honor their health and safety” so that a headstone can be averted by this walking of the talk pivoting in protocol to protect human life.

Speaking up at this time for solution alternatives, can save your life and countless others and if others truly do care about you, value you and your own life existence and want you around, their actions will speak louder in listening than the demanding social convention whines of those who are selfishly requesting you risk your life by physical in-person presence to appease their own wishes, when it ultimately is not necessary to violate measures.

Yes, it is a tough time for everyone and it has been a long year, but to ensure we’re all here to even greet 2021, sometimes sucking it up to honor ourselves and respect each other can go the distance in extending our lifeline. Offering new problem-solving tactics, and implementing safety measures to improve ways of adjusting, adapting and protecting at the same time is a delicate balance, but one that will benefit for the greater good.

What we choose to believe and act upon now matters, even in the choices we make in using our own voice for our well-being and in respect to the well-being of others.

It is here we come to terms with how we’ve grown this entire year in articulating who we have become in the worst of times, so that we can move into the new territory of living a better life with values and communication of said values to live the life we all have left within us.

So what is it that you are communicating in terms of your own health and safety values?

Who is listening/paying attention and what are you learning from what this year has brought forth?

How we answer these questions depends on the work we do individually and collectively and what we continue to face going forward in a life path that has changed affecting everyone’s daily journey.

With that, I send you Lovely Souls love and light, health, safety and well-being wishes, strength and endurance for what is to come and hope that you find peaceful and comforting resolution to your own communication of your core values.

Gratitude & Blessings. Wishing all of you a healthy and safe holiday season.


Stacey Kumagai








Friday, October 2, 2020



A green and white metal tube made itself known.  It is the kind that neatly folds and pushes the contents forward. 

The contents of this tube?  A strong odorous ointment which packed a big eucalyptus punch. 

When the tube of Bengay made its way from the medicine cabinet into my mother’s hands, along with an Ace bandage, surprisingly it was not for her arthritis. 

Instead, this visual became a life message for me at six years old.

This superhero duo of ointment and bandage were a comforting assurance that my child limbs would be taken care of as they endured physical ‘growing pains’ long before the stress put upon knees and joints throughout my own childhood and adult life standing for hours and hours.  

My mother told me, “Growing hurts, but everyone has to grow.”

If the Universe had a message to deliver directly to my kid knees and joints, it would say that it could not guarantee that I’d ever grow the way that I thought I would in the first grade, but it would guarantee that I would grow nonetheless. 

Oh, and growing would never stop... even if growing in my limbs did stop. 

That was an important nugget… (and relevant to the topic of this blog) because we humans never ‘know’ how things will twist, turn, and change along our path, but regardless, we are guaranteed some things we do not expect no matter how well we think we plan. 

For the six year-old version of me however, the Universe would guarantee that a #2 penciled line on the wall would appear and continue to rise upward at least for a few years to indicate progress and growth of maybe a half-inch at a time, if I was lucky.  Though it was growth… a step at a time.

The catch though was that in order for the number two pencil to make its appearance to mark a line of my growth on my parents’ kitchen wall, the Bengay had to make its way forward first up through that metal tube, which was getting tougher to push upward the more the bottom of the tube tried to fight to stay where it was holding. 

In other words, there was an ‘order’ of sorts for growth on this journey…

Dare I say, it is a divine order, amid fighting with the tube, and ultimately compromise would bring resolution to the situation.

It has been a growing pains themed 2020 year for the entire world in unthinkable magnitudes, as if we were being put through some crazy, traumatic extreme test of life, death and loss of all proportions.

Our NEW REALITY AND REAL WORLD, which looks nothing like the ol’ MTV version has changed everyone’s life from what they once knew into a world where we question our own progress, growth and even where the growing pains will lead.

Though for all of us collectively, it is not just a knee, or a foot – it’s a whole body growth… mentally/psychologically, emotionally, physically, chemically, spiritually, personally and professionally for every human in how we live life.

Whew.  Yeah… we’ve been through a lot, people.

Some changes have been more challenging than others.

But this blog is not here to list and rehash all of that – as the many news outlets will be sure to do a 2020 recap and yes, even probably ABC’s 20/20 will recap of what we experienced, which will still seem like a present tense narrative, as we’ll still be going through the growing issues of this year.

Similar to the Bengay metal tube, humanity is struggling to deal with the fact the metal tube is rolling up on its own at times, with crinkles.  Just as humans digest one bit of news, more arrives, and the tube is now swiftly changing shape, frustrating for many OCD folks who wish to iron out the crinkles of the metal tube just as much as all of real life. 

I have many friends who have specifically decided to turn off the news altogether, and get off social media because the storm just “takes up way too much energy,” chipping away at emotions, thoughts and yes, at times, hope for our world, depending on the escalating numbers in lives lost, and pieces of our nostalgic pasts, and the day’s offerings.

In other words, everyday news, rips off the Band-Aid as we’re trying to heal ourselves and sadly daily events are pouring rubbing alcohol in the wound when we barely have time to catch our breath.

But I am here to say – this is the whole point.

Band-Aids, temporary quick fixes, duct tape and even a huge supply of Bengay and Ace bandages cannot repair what humanity has been through in 2020.

We are meant to heal from the ground up.
We are being called to bring forth real solutions.

And yes, we are being asked to step into our new reality accepting that change is actually designing a new way for us to examine life, how we had been living it, how we wish to be rebooting it to live better. Here we are not only being asked to bring about social, economic, political, environmental, equitable and tangible change at the same time we address what’s really going on from the human space – but from the humanity space return to compassion, love, healing, equality, non-judgmental change in a way that humans were too busy to address before.

No matter how much we humans want to unravel the roll of our own personal tube of Bengay to iron it flat against the counter, by doing so – we’re punching holes in the tube. 

It is here where the sharp corners protrude like a cutting-edge with bits of the oozy ointment seeping out of the punctured metal, like somehow continued insult to trying-to-heal the injury so-to-speak. 

And yes, I will say it - that is also the point! We are meant to cut our fingers on this metal tube trying to manipulate it, when half of it rolled up on its own the way that it did - but what we are meant to truly see is that if we did things consciously and correctly in the first place, we wouldn't be here now.

Trying to roll it back up the same is now challenging will and determination vs. releasing to be what is and what is to come.

Instead of going BACKWARDS to unroll the tube, we must acknowledge the lack of initial mindfulness of not minding the tube to roll it up correctly and now begin moving FORWARD and not rushing aimlessly, rather being very careful in how we roll the tube properly, safely and efficiently to show we are presently connected to our current mind awareness to do things right. 

Recognizing our own humanness in course-correcting, this is where we start.

We indeed will 'as a collective' become frustrated,  as humans "being human" defaulting to ego-only will try and keep squeezing that metal tube to the point of risking cutting one’s finger on the metal before surrendering to the idea that sometimes we have to go through the pain with no more Bengay.

You see, the lesson is to not try to go back to the tube itself, but rather walk through the fire of the experience sans remedy to gain peace of mind for the ultimate closure on things we’re saying goodbye to that we have no control over.  Then we take a step back to see what we can change proactively in the moment, and that can begin with our thoughts, feelings and removing judgment.

Judgment ultimately is seeing what we see as one thing (like the bent-up metal tube with holes and crinkles) – and then realize what we cannot discount ---that the tube actually represents real growing has actually occurred.    

What?  Yes. 

Let’s sit with that for just a minute if you think about earlier this year and what we have learned. 

While our world looks like one hot mess after another because everyone is flying by the seat of their pants trying to figure out the future, we need to remember this:

IF YOU ARE THINKING ABOUT THE PAST, you’ll be depressed and if you LOOK TOO FAR AHEAD you’ll feel way too much anxiety with a crystal ball that won’t tell you much at all other than your own personal perception of what you ‘think’ may happen to our world’s future on the planet. 

Staying right in the present, as clichĂ© and tired as we all feel, is the only way to try to deal with the world spinning and trying not to get dizzy with ‘what will happen’ next.

Yes, this sucks for the control freak in everyone, the planner, the strategizing analyst, and yeah, the majority of people who just want their old life back.

We must focus on that and not forget that we have grown through this process even if we cannot measure it with that #2 pencil.   No matter how small or how slow the tangible progress appears – and we have had many messy adjustments along the way, let’s still remember that growth has happened. 

Where does growth lead?  That still remains to be seen in how each of us individually perceive said growth and change and what we DO WITH IT.

  • How can we do our best with it?
  • How will we apply what we learned?
  • Are we able to step outside of ourselves to see another through their eyes and not the eyes that we have in how we see them?
  • Can we remove all pre-conditioning, reactions and labels on something we do not truly understand?

While life may not presently look like how we imagined it, we also have to remember that we “as a collective consciousness” all at some point prayed for the world to change.

Don’t deny it… you know you did this at one point or several and may have even cursed John Mayer’s song “Waiting on the World to Change” – because everyone was far too impatient to wait and everyone wanted to take action…. But today we find ourselves taking action and yes, still waiting for actual change to occur in the way we envisioned it and on our timeline.

However, that is THE POINT.  Remember, we’ve risen to the ‘next’ level’ and we are indeed on an alternate timeline as we’re being asked to ascend and rise to meet the present-day challenges we’re actually being presented with in real time.

Think about this for a minute– perhaps we were not specific enough in how we wanted to see that happen, but the Universe delivered and answered just that – change.... a la whooshes and kabams comic book enthusiasts will relate to – but did not see that the superheroes would be all essential workers and first-responders all wearing masks but not capes.

While this may have burst the Comic Con initial fantasy, reality is we really needed the heroes that showed up, eh?    

This is no different than how the Universe delivered ‘growth’ to my kid legs.  

No, I did not grow to be a giant and did not see the growth all at once to ever at any time be the tallest kid and I am still vertically challenged, but I did grow and as an adult on the other side of this, I see that in context, the parallel relevancy of ‘growth’ initially requested actually has been delivered in an entirely different context. 

To my six year-old self, growth happened to my childhood limbs. 

To my adult self today and probably to your adult self, the original request to ‘grow’ continues to keep on growing no different than a gift that keeps on giving in lessons that everyday life delivers.  

Every stage of life, we can see the layers of the initial request unfolding, delivered beyond the context of the original asking.

With an altered paradigm, what seems like an alternate timeline in some movie – we humans are living in this new existence dancing somewhere in time between nostalgia and a past that seems like an old social dream and trying to figure out a future of uncertainty, that while interesting to navigate does have some limitations for things we’re still needing to address.

The world right now is going to need much more than a whole heck of a lot of Bengay and enough Ace bandages to wrap around planet earth several times. 

At a time when solution-seeking innovation and progression is happening, we cannot ignore that millions of people’s lives have changed.

The obvious changes are tough enough.  But it is the invisible changes that no one is talking about.

The world is going through some huge growing pains in a metamorphosis we have not encountered before in this magnitude given the current climate of what we are facing.

We cannot rush the world’s growth no matter how swiftly people desire to find a vaccine, a cure, try to get things to some assembly of normalcy or a return to ‘perceived security.’

Humanity is desperately searching for their virtual Bengay and Ace bandage to get us out of this year, but the difference between the collective childhoods around the world that may mirror mine – there is something we must remember… change for the world is not an overnight thing, it is much like our human inner work, a continuous on-going work in progress, even if our physical bodies eventually stop growing and no more lines appear on the wall marked by a #2 pencil.

This year we changed the way we work, shop, eat, clean, vote and interact simultaneously pivoting to find justice, right wrongs, stand up, speak out and create.

But just like the baby step of companies taking responsibility to change food packaging which has been racially insensitive won’t actually erase racism from existence, it is on its own a work in progress.

While we cannot expect any election, a vaccine, two or three versions of it to take away the pain we have endured this year with death, violence, illness, ugly truths surfacing, and Mother Nature’s storms of fire, rain, wind and earth quaking… we know that what will come from all of this is a closer look at what that number two pencil is marking on the wall monitoring our growth and progress.

This is the external stuff the world is going through right now.

Internally, humans are going through their own thing in facing mortality, examining life and what matters, changing/shifting/morphing into new ways of being, addressing feelings swept under rugs and yes, taking a closer look at what that value system is all about.

As I watch my neighbors nonchalantly sachet around without a face mask and many people ignoring social distancing or the markings on the floor as to which direction to navigate a store’s aisle traffic flow (making me wonder if they are the ones who also ignore stop signs), I am examining the growing pains that are or are not occurring amid this huge worldly wake-up call. 

If humans continue to remain selfish, stomp their feet in tantrum-like way of wanting things how they want it the old way and act out rebelliously, we will have learned NOTHING from this year. 

This is disheartening to see, but we must not lower our expectations… in fact we must do the opposite. 

If you are hearing nightly sirens, remember that no one is invincible.  It is here we must find daily gratitude for being here even among the irresponsible ones, and with said gratitude, realize what we can do. 

Humanity was shaken up to bring about present-moment consciousness, reinvigorate gratitude for every minute, moment and day of life and to have respect for others.  

It’s not easy, but if we are still grateful for every day that we are here, doing what we can to navigate this reality is what we’re being forced to look at and step up into the challenge and not give up hope that change may be fast some days, slow on others and may appear to not occur at all with others, situations and things… but it is occurring whether or not we can see it.

Just remember, even if we cannot measure progress on the wall, it is those growing pains we collectively feel that remind us we are human, we are growing and we’re going to have to adapt to being comfortable with being uncomfortable until we go through what we need to grow through.


Stacey Kumagai