Covid-19/Many Perspectives

Seventh in a series.

I’m letting Picture a Conversation cards inspire this ongoing series of essays. This is the only photo in the set that I took.  I was at a yoga retreat some years ago and this scene captivated me.  

If anything is challenging our perceptions it’s Covid-19. I am feeling as tumultuous as all of you. The broadcasts, updates, and stats so easily overwhelm.  I learned a new word today — infodemic.  Pretty much sums up the tidal wave of information coming at us. I distance myself from the news, binge for a bit and then distance myself again. What is going on and why? What can be learned? Gun sales rise. And there is an outpouring of offers of help to those in need. Our worst inclinations are being excavated along with our best. Doubtless within each of us. Every morning my inbox is rich with Zoom invitations to meditate, to study, to visit the animals at the various zoos around the country and tour museums worldwide. On one hand it’s great. On the other I risk diving right backintothefrenzy of doing instead of being — a gift of this pandemic that some of us are fortunate enough to enjoy.

Lynn Unger’s poem Pandemic has likely circled the world even faster than Covid-19. Hopefully it will affect more people than the virus. She likened society’s withdrawal from itself to the gifts enjoyed by  those who observe the Jewish Sabbath — setting aside travel, buying and selling and the like. This is a terrifying time and as Unger noted this time of pandemic can also be a sacred time.  

The little acts of normalcy become sacred — making my bed; getting dressed instead of giving in to the inclination to stay in PJ’s because where am I going, anyway; giving each day form and structure; walking with my husband. We are together a lot these days and have returned to playing Scrabble. Lots of Scrabble. If ever there is a time of living in the moment, this is it. I feel deeply that this is a time of a huge resetting. To what, remains to be seen.

I realize how fortunate I am to be able to look at this crisis from a place of security. I am not alone, as is a friend of ours who is living in a suite kind of hotel. It may close and she and the other long-term guests may have to relocate. The dining room is closed. She is scared. Martin checks in often. She has little community where she lives other than those in the hotel, now that the places where she volunteers have ceased operating. Refugees who had little refuge have even less now. My kids can work from home and have both told me their companies are going above and beyond to help their employees and others. Polluted skies and rivers are clearing. What about polluted thoughts?  Mariana Gualtieri offers her perspective in her poem March the Ninth Twenty Twenty.

If this plague has taught me anything it is that living in the moment is the only place where life can be lived.  I have spent too much mind-time projecting fears upon the future and arguing with my past. Today teaches me I do not know what is to come. Believing I do  is chimeric. I can engage with that truth in fear. Or I can allow that truth to open me to the possibility of miraculous developments both small and universal.  It all depends upon my perspective. What will be yours?

 

This was the original photo.  When I slipped my phone into my pocket, the perspective changed, turning the image into the “tree” you see above.

Keep the conversation going. Recall a time when you were challenged to see a situation from a different perspective? How do you help others see issues from your perspective? Learn more about Picture a Conversation here. In the coming week I’m going to experiment with holding an online Zoom conversation using one of the Picture a Conversation cards.  If you’d like to participate, let me know in the Comments.  Thank you!

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5 Enlightened Replies

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  1. Cindy L says:

    I love this Debra. It deeply reflects, to borrow from your photo here, what I’ve been wrestling with in my life lately. A bungled schedule in our kitchen remodeling has forced me each day to accept the mess we’re in — a metaphor for our national turmoil too — and to relinquish control. As you say, it’s a one day at a time, in the moment kind of acceptance. So hard to learn. So many are saying life as we knew it will never be the same again. I believe that. Thank you for this lovely piece.

    • You are welcome, Cindy. All we can control is our response.
      Life will never be the same. Hopefully in some good ways, too.

    • HI Cindy,
      I have been thinking a lot of you and Doug today.
      Accept the mess. Yes. In some ways it may be good that
      our lives will never be the same. For each of us that
      “never” part will be personal. But I hope that insights
      will come to us that help us make good on that part of
      our lives that we will choose not to be the same. Perhaps?

  2. Manny kalef says:

    As usual Debra you hit the nail on the head. These are feelings I also had but not being as poetic as you I have a hard time expressing them.

    thank you.

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