Natural heart shape of bee hives. Bodiam Castle in Robertsbridge, United Kingdom
I’m experiencing the coronavirus as the hard slap that brings an hysteric to their senses.
For a long time, the pell mell hurtling of our culture, the bizarre unsustainable system of our economy, the rising hatred and fascism throughout the world, has felt like a runaway bus, a weapon racing through scattering pedestrians with passengers trapped inside. People have regarded, ‘Move fast and break things,’ not as the saying of a madman, but as wisdom.
Now, in one crumbling moment, many things become clear. We are utterly intertwined and interdependent. We need each other. Hatred doesn’t work. Life is balance and exchange. To pile too much in one corner of the boat, capsizes the whole thing. What you do unto the least of these, you do unto me.
Every single person who self-isolates and rigorously works to slow the coronavirus is literally saving lives. If you jumped off of a bridge to save a drowning child and did save that child, there would be days in your life, bad, heavy days, where you would comfort yourself with ‘ But I did save that child.’ If you stay home, if you wash your hands, if you find ways to get food and soap and cheer to your neighbors, you will have that comfort, too. It isn’t as dramatic, but it is as real. It is in fact, likely that you will save more than one life, and among those can be your own.
We are a nation and even a world of innumerates and we just do not possess the feeling for what exponential growth really is, whether we call popular videos ‘viral’ or not, we don’t hold the pattern clearly inside us. So when everything seems fine and no one you know has the virus, it’s hard to credit it. It’s about time – how quickly something can happen. Time is our perceptual problem with climate change as well. The slowness of how it is coming upon us has lulled us. Just as we must wait anxiously for the coronavirus wave to sweep over us, half-unbelieving, the climate change wave rises, rises in front of us and we stare mesmerized and unbelieving.
This virus is very painful, what we will endure is full of grief. If we allow this hard smack to awaken us – and at the same time slow down our maniacal culture, we can at least put this scourge to use. For many, perhaps most of us, the virus is stopping our lives in its tracks. Financially and for our health, this is disastrous. The gift inside the disaster is that it is making us stop.
I find myself confused all day long. Should I take my gloves off before or after I touch the front door? How much alcohol might we need? Did I just rub my nose? Should I wash it? How many paper towels should I order? What is fair, how do I share? Decisions must be made every moment, where to put my hands, where to put my energy, where to put my money, where is my money?
It’s exhausting. And we will figure it out. Everything takes longer, everything requires more attention, everything is demanding consciousness. Right now we need to apply that to soap, but it needs to be applied to figuring out the new way of life, a way of life that is sustainable, a way of life that requires us to Move slowly, consciously and mend things, create things. There is pain all around. Creating the new ways will also be full of joy. There is nothing more joyful than creative flow. And it is something we will do together, so it is not only the ecstasy of new ideas and the satisfaction of making them real, solving the obstacles, but the joy of working together on something that matters and the inevitable love that grows between us as we do it.
This is it. Now.