checking in

I’d like to check in, may I have your attention? I’ve been feeling a lot of fear and anxiety in my body these last few days – some of it is mine, and a lot of it seeping in from the collective. My mind has been busy, I haven’t been sleeping well, adrenaline has been in steady flow. I’m feeling frustrated by the panic and hoarding of resources, the spread of misinformation, and the apathy and disregard for science and protective measures that are in place to slow the spread of infection. I worry about what this all means in the long-term, with how broken and ill-prepared our systems are, how it will impact individuals and small businesses, the health of myself and others, and when we will all feel safe again. I’m afraid that as a whole we’ve forgotten how to think critically, have sound discernment, live as a community, and take care of each other. I have waves of worst case scenarios popping up in my mind. I am missing physical touch and human connection.

Phew. Deep breaths.

Fear can bring out the worst in us, but crises can also bring out the best.

I’m seeing the way that humans are stepping up to support each other. Communities organizing to support small restaurants, artists, and other industries most effected by the current need for physical distancing, as well as businesses being hurt by racist fears. Individuals are offering free babysitting, delivery of food, and supplies. People in the health field sharing valuable information. Volunteers getting meals to students who need to stay home but depend on school lunches to eat. Virtual gatherings to stay connected and uplift each other. Medical teams from China are bringing supplies and helping hands to other countries in the height of crisis. Entire streets in Italy full of people leaning from their window and singing together as they physically isolate themselves. My friends and family have been checking in on me, dropped off things I needed, shared virtual giggles and check-ins.

I hear a lot of people say that everything happens for a reason, but I don’t believe that to be true – I think the vast web of our existence feels far too complex for reason. I do believe that we can find meaning in the things that happen to us – both personally and collectively. Viruses are ancient, powerful, fascinating beings. Some have the ability to kill large numbers of people very quickly, and others have made placental birth possible. One particular virus has us all down our knees at the moment – a powerful posture for humility, reflection, and prayer.

How can we connect, organize, and strengthen community during the necessary practice of physical distancing?
What can we learn about ourselves and our global community (including our other-the-human kin)?
What weaknesses are being exposed in the social and public health systems?
What needs to change, deepen, expand?
What are the old ways that have been forgotten by our collective consciousness, yet are so needing to be remembered?
Where can we meet out innate kindness with aligned action?
What parts of ourselves have been abandoned that we can get reacquainted with as we spend some time alone?

I’m noticing how much I waste food, reach for a paper towel, and take my health and resources for granted. I’m noticing how little I understand about the needs of my community on a good day. I’m taking a step back from social and news media to help preserve my sanity. I am taking more time for awe, visiting the ocean, and cooking myself nourishing foods that I enjoy. I’m making space for small pleasures and also crying when I’m overwhelmed.

I’m not sure how to best be of service to others right now. To be honest I’m not sure how to do much at the moment. I appreciate the call to start a project, do something for my community, get to all the things I haven’t made time for, but right now I need to rest, feel what I am feeling, and get myself back to baseline before moving forward. Maybe the best I can do today is show love by washing my hands and keeping physical distance. This is new territory and we will all be impacted by and cope with this in different ways… but we are all in this together, and I know we can unearth the gem at the heart of this terrifying opportunity.

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