My dear humans,
It’s a difficult and confusing time, isn’t it? The world is shutting down in reaction to the coronavirus, keeping us from school, work and our lives. The crisis is sending us all home behind closed doors to numb out to Netflix and Facebook. We all are advised to stock up and protect ourselves by isolating ourselves in our comfortable homes. The new mantra, “Social Distancing,” is seeping into the collective psyche, stoking primal fears.
In isolating ourselves, we may find ourselves facing new possibilities of loneliness. The truth is, the lonely have been lonely a long time. The aging and ill have been hidden behind closed doors for years: cut off, shut off from life itself. The workers are already isolated behind computers and a busy-as-success- and-definition lifestyle. Humans are already deeply disconnected from each other, attached to their devices that ring and chime through every personal interaction. Devices are placed prominently between humans as they bank, shop, dine, visit, and engage in social activities. You see the disconnect on the lifts, in the line, and at the store as priority is given to the device. People stand together, yet are disconnected as they react to the vibrations they feel against their bodies, covertly stealing glances at their devices.
And, here we are, today advised to create and take “social distancing” as an effort to flatten the curve of coronavirus slowing it down from the pandemic proportions.
My dear humans, let me ask you.
Have we not had enough separation in our lifetimes? Have we not learned that separation is a disease? Distancing emotionally, and spiritually, has lead us down a dark and soulless road already.
Perhaps social distancing is what has gotten us here in these ugly times of hoarding, harming, and blaming. Of being short-sighted and crazed. We’ve fostered a culture of judgment. Speaking ill of others. Perhaps each time we sink into our phones, and lose ourselves in our earbuds, we get further from our hearts, further from social connection that lifts us up and binds us to each other. Each time, the gadget taking over our brain function reprograms us to value things, rather than each other.
The majority of humans today are swinging somewhere in a range between “nothing is happening, I don’t care, this situation is overblown, it’s going to pass and I’m going to go about my life” to the complete opposite: “I need everything now, we are all going to die, everyone around me is deadly, and life is over as we know it.”
The outer ranges are where the shadow lives, where we exist in black and white. If you are at either end of this spectrum, it doesn’t matter which end you’re operating from—you are contributing to the problems. There’s not much going on in the middle range, folks.
The middle range is where physical distancing can be held spaciously and graciously. These are extreme times, but we don’t need to act in extreme ways. We can gather up from our center, recognize we are all in this together, and offer ourselves as compassionately as we can.
How about we flatten the curve of the social distancing problem, and find ways to reconnect authentically with each other? How about we find ways to show up, be present, and available while we are taking space? I propose that we look at this moment in time as a choice point— that while we take physical distancing to take care of ourselves and each other, we simultaneously offer ourselves self-care rather than self-isolation. Self-care means that we nurture personal connections, that we engage in community in heart-full and healthy ways, and that we create meaning and belonging in this moment. Self-care as an act of discovering our own spiritual needs as we sink into nature and creativity.
I propose that we use this time to re-engage purposefully and heart-fully with each other. Don’t isolate—use Facebook for a purpose. It’s been growing for a reason—let’s use the power of it. Share mindfully. Offer something of yourself. Challenge others to read the same book as you, and share your reviews together. Create an online book club. Or music club. Gather together with friends on Zoom for a dinner party. Take the time and write letters to your loved ones that are in lockdown somewhere else. Take that online gardening class with your lover that you’ve been wanting to take. Take hikes in the great outdoors, making eye contact with those that you pass acknowledging we are in this together. If you are in the parts of the world where you cannot leave your home for this, offer eye contact as you put your garbage out, or as you go to the market. Drop the suspicion and the belief that the person next to you has the virus and therefore is your enemy.
Be okay with being still. Of listening to yourself. Take the time to rest, read and relax. Encourage yourself to funnel your confusion and pain through creation. Write a story or some poetry. Make a painting, or create some art. You don’t even need supplies for this. You can paint with water on your walls, and learn to be comfortable with the very impermanent nature of life. Deepen into the connection between yourself and those with whom you are sharing isolation.
These are unusual times, for sure. We are at a place we’ve never been. It’s time for extra understanding and compassion. Reach into your own humanity and see humanity. See the suffering and find a way to ease it. This is the moment that we’ve all been training for—if you have been doing your work, then lead the way. If you haven’t been doing your work, it’s time to surrender. It’s time to let go of the fight, it’s time to let go of the posturing. It’s time to cut some slack and help creatively with solutions.
Here are some of the middle ground, what I’m calling the
#spaciousandgracious movement that I’ve seen.
~ The Burgerhouse in Taos, NM has offered lunch to all the kids during the 3-week school shutdown.
~ Mark Walsh, of the UK, spearheaded a free online embodied circle that offers hour-long sessions several times daily for two months.
~While in lockdown, neighbors in Spain and Italy have joined each other from their own apartment balconies to sing together, and applaud the health workers working so hard in these times.
~While touring, Portland, Oregon musician Chris Arellano’s shows were cancelled in New Mexico and he was offered a new venue with Facebook streaming. It was fun to connect with other fans and feel like we belonged together.
~Many, like Jo Anna Dane (Clearing circle) of Asheville, NC have made their online offerings free.
~In Taos, NM, people started a Taos and vicinity Coronovirus Action group to educate and support community members.
~A woman in Santa Fe, NM has adopted 2 families for whom she is providing two meals each week.
~A woman in Atlanta, GA has started a fund to help single moms who can’t even feed their children this week.
This is a time to reclaim meaningful connections, shedding the “social distancing” we’ve already created. It’s a time to re-center ourselves, and find balance in our lives. Let’s open our hearts to what is important.
My dear humans, it’s time. It’s time to drop apathy and value each other again. It’s time to be more humane, and extend from our hearts. This global crisis is inviting us all to be here together. It’s time to value sinking into presence and possibility. Will you please be spacious and gracious with me?
Please share with us how you are witnessing or being spacious and gracious.
Here are some links to support your body, heart, mind, and soul.