It’s been one (very mind bendingly) long week for the citizens of Earth. Changes are happening right now on a global, regional, local and individual level, and every single person on this planet is being affected dramatically by them in some way. Not only are these changes happening quickly, but they have been dramatic enough to tug sharply and unwelcomingly at the roots of what we’ve known as normal. There will be feelings of helplessness, stress and disorientation in the coming days; this is probably the most normal thing you can expect right now.
I don’t have up-to-date Covid statistics, professional insight into the pandemic, or a livestream of me doing yoga (…yet…). What I do have though, for what it’s worth, are thoughts and insights into what I’ve been seeing and experiencing around me.
My own experience this last week has been jarring in its own way. I was in Europe for a work trip all of six days before booking a last minute flight home, concerned my window for having the option to do so without issue might be quickly coming to a close. My plan to wait it out abroad, a plan I was feeling so excited and certain about at the time, came into question for me the moment I was ejected from a cafe midday as they closed their doors with no plan to reopen. I experienced in Barcelona an acceleration of morphing facts and information coming to me mostly by word of mouth and feel on the streets. I felt the extreme uncertainty we’re grappling with now begin to loom and then overtake us. It happened very quickly.
Back home now I’m slowly getting my feet back under me and head on straight, living again through a wave of Covid-induced change as it hits this city only days after where I just was. People in certain industries (Health care specialists, grocery store workers, anyone out there working to maintain basic services) are overworked, while many others are suddenly without jobs or income. And all in a jarringly quick moment. The economy is grinding to a slow crawl. Things you never would have imagined being reality before suddenly seems entirely within the realm of possibility. What if “worse case scenario” is no longer a hypothetical?
Never in our generational memory have we experienced an event so pervasive and dramatic that it may ingrain such a shared trauma upon our psyche. These events are the kind that affect habits, customs and cultural norms for generations. While we’re unsure of how long things may be in turmoil, what we can know for certain at this point is that life will certainly be different from here on out.
Be prepared for things to get a whole lot worse before they get better. When resources are scarce and social services are taxed and general stress is mounting, people can start acting out of desperation. It is imperative that we take care of each other during these coming months and look out for our friends, family and communities.
Be well to yourself. Be well to each other. Support each other. If you have a job still and are able, I recommend adopting a local restaurant to eat out at as often as you can or giving any resources you can towards relief efforts. If you don’t have a job, hang in there. Volunteer to help in any way you can, big or small. Stay inside and isolate yourself. Connect or re-connect with people you love and let them know you care about them. Host an online event. Exercise, read a book, meditate. Stockpile your toilet paper and fill your cupboards, then turn outward and look at ways in which you can help those around you.
Now is not the time to panic. It is not the time to be dismayed. It is not the time to be a jerk. Instead, this is a clear opportunity to show up in a way that epitomizes the staggering beauty of human compassion and resilience amidst a real crisis.
Be well to yourself, and be well to each other.