As 2020 comes to a close, now seems a good time to stop and reflect. As the COVID crisis has reignited, I have found myself experiencing waves of grief; grief over the state of the world, grief over the fact it seems like society always takes the wrong approach, grief over the many who are deep in suffering due to this crisis AND those who are in deep suffering due to our response to it, grief over the divisiveness I see and hear about what is happening, and grief for all the people, and children in particular, who are being denied a feeling of security, safety, health and human connection.
Perhaps the biggest problem, as I see it, is the polarization happening among the general population. While I have my own opinions about things, I have been shocked and saddened by the anger I've seen spewed on both sides of the argument: maskers and anti-maskers, pro-vax and anti. When are we going to realize that we don't make things better by trashing the "bad guys", by fighting injustice with hatred, fear with anger or ignorance with contempt? In spite of my strongly-held opinions, I respect people's choices in regards to how they are living and what they need to do to feel safe. The only way we will ever make progress on any of these issues is if people's rights to their opinions are respected, if we can listen to each other with open hearts and allow everyone to make their own decisions. Granted, there is a lot of skewed and biased information out there - I don't deny that. But I still want to allow people, even misinformed people, to make their own decisions. Coming from a place of non-judgement rather than opposing, attacking or defending allows people to be more open to other perspectives and may lead them to a place within themselves where they can find their own answers rather than being led by the stories and fears of others.
As a practitioner of natural medicine, it is also very difficult for me to see the intense avoidance of the issue of health in the midst of the dominant narrative. From what I have experienced about the "safety" measures so far, the message is that we are fighting an enemy, namely, this one virus, and behind that, fighting the enemy we all fear most, which is death itself. I will abstain from getting into a discussion about our deeply, deeply rooted cultural fear of death, or our extreme misconceptions about the role of bacteria and viruses in human health, but will point out instead the avoidance of what this virus really indicates: basically, it shows that we are a population of sick individuals living on a sick planet. What if our virus-prevention measures included giving out free organic vegetables, taking action aimed at cleaning up the air and water and starting programs that support connection with nature and teach mindfulness and reduce stress? Hmmmm, all things that would improve health and immunity and make us less susceptible to disease. Of course, we all probably understand why these things aren't discussed (just keep up that war mentality so nobody thinks too hard about the way things are. Use fear to keep control of the people and make more money!). It is sad to see how well this campaign works and how little attention is given to improving health, on a personal or global level, and, it seems obvious that there will only be more rounds of these kinds of crises if the current program continues to be followed. Unless we as a global culture decide to clean up our bodies and the environment, we are unlikely to see much change or improvement.
In addition, I am also deeply concerned about the detrimental effects of the current measures taken in the name of safety. Who is weighing the costs of all this? The increases in anxiety, depression, loneliness, suicide, abuse? The vast increase in screen time for children? The isolation and lack of human connection? The detrimental (yes, you heard me right, VERY DETRIMENTAL) effects this distancing is having on our immune systems? There is plenty of research out there to show that all this is happening, right now, as a direct result of our so-called protective measures. As a mother, I worry about the children especially. I work hard daily to make sure my kids know they are safe, that contact and connection with other humans is safe and healthy and necessary, and expose them regularly to things that will strengthen their systems, specifically and in particular, nature, sunlight, bacteria, viruses, plants, animals and other people. If you look at all of human history, when have we ever isolated ourselves? It is a deeply unnatural thing to do and comes with all sorts of costs mentally, physically, emotionally, and psychologically, which are currently, in my opinion, being swept under the rug nearly completely, and at a very high cost to many portions of our population.
So how do we right this crazy ride we are on? I don't pretend to know all the answers. There is so much that needs to be righted, it is hard to know where to begin, much less how to implement a sweeping global overhaul. But I do know that the more we allow ourselves to be guided by love, acceptance and respect, the greater and faster we can move forward. I do know that health, safety and a better world can never come from disconnection and separation. And I do know that the force of human creativity and inspiration has more potential and dormant power than any other force in the world. Once again, I find myself in the place of calling out to my fellow humans to awaken, AWAKEN! We can create something different, something beautiful, if only we would stop, think, and find the truth deep within. Acting from that place of deep humanity, we can find our way out of this thing and into a better future, together.