An Imagined Letter from Covid-19 to Humans by Kristin Flyntz

Brain Tree

Stop.

Just stop.

It is no longer a request.

It is a mandate.

We will help you.

We will bring the supersonic, high speed merry-go-round to a halt.

We will stop the planes, the trains, the schools, the malls, the meetings, the frenetic, furied rush of illusions and “obligations” that keep you from hearing our single and shared beating heart, the way we breathe together, in unison.

Our obligation is to each other, as it has always been, even if, even though, you have forgotten.

We will interrupt this broadcast, the endless cacophonous broadcast of divisions and distractions, to bring you this long-breaking news: We are not well. None of us; all of us are suffering.

Last year, the firestorms that scorched the lungs of the earth did not give you pause. Nor the typhoons in Africa, China, Japan. Nor the fevered climates in Japan and India.

You have not been listening.

It is hard to listen when you are so busy all the time, hustling to uphold the comforts and conveniences that scaffold your lives. But the foundation is giving way, buckling under the weight of your needs and desires.

We will help you. We will bring the firestorms to your body. We will bring the fever to your body. We will bring the burning, searing, and flooding to your lungs that you might hear: We are not well. Despite what you might think or feel, we are not the enemy.

We are Messenger. We are Ally. We are a balancing force.

We are asking you: To stop, to be still, to listen; To move beyond your individual concerns and consider the concerns of all; To be with your ignorance, to find your humility, to relinquish your thinking minds and travel deep into the mind of the heart; To look up into the sky, streaked with fewer planes, and see it, to notice its condition: clear, smoky, smoggy, rainy?

How much do you need it to be healthy so that you may also be healthy? To look at a tree, and see it, to notice its condition: how does its health contribute to the health of the sky, to the air you need to be healthy? To visit a river, and see it, to notice its condition: clear, clean, murky, polluted? How much do you need it to be healthy so that you may also be healthy? How does its health contribute to the health of the tree, who contributes to the health of the sky, so that you may also be healthy?

Many are afraid now. Do not demonize your fear, and also, do not let it rule you. Instead, let it speak to you—in your stillness, listen for its wisdom. What might it be telling you about what is at work, at issue, at risk, beyond the threats of personal inconvenience and illness?

As the health of a tree, a river, the sky tells you about quality of your own health, what might the quality of your health tell you about the health of the rivers, the trees, the sky, and all of us who share this planet with you?

Stop.

Notice if you are resisting.

Notice what you are resisting. Ask why.

Stop.

Just stop.

Be still. Listen.

Ask us what we might teach you about illness and healing, about what might be required so that all may be well. We will help you, if you listen.

Written by Kristin Flyntz. Thanks to Jeanne Peters for bringing this to my attention.

Perspective

We are smarter, faster, and better than any virus, but only if we work together. My favorite medieval historian, Yuval Noah Harari, gives us historical context in this Time magazine article. As usual, leadership matters.

“In this moment of crisis, the crucial struggle takes place within humanity itself. If this epidemic results in greater disunity and mistrust among humans, it will be the virus’s greatest victory. When humans squabble – viruses double. In contrast, if the epidemic results in closer global cooperation, it will be a victory not only against the coronavirus, but against all future pathogens.”

A Revelation at Hand

The world shifted on its axis this weekend as the impact of coronavirus on the human race came into focus. I felt the zeitgeist slip a notch, in contrast to its usual slow turning – borders of all sorts closing, new leaders emerging as previous leaders are shown – in a flash -to be ineffective, new concerns moving front and center and old priorities – once held dear – suddenly not even relevant.  March 2020. Something new has been born into this world.

The Second Coming by W. B. Yeats

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

Staying Informed

One source of information I am finding very helpful during this time of poor leadership is Dr John Campbell out of the U.K. He is publishing at least one video a day (on YouTube) full of very helpful background, tips and tools, what is going on in other counties. Highly recommended.

The Unforeseeable

Cullen Murphy has written a fascinating article in the February 2020 issue of The Atlantic titled Before Zuckerberg, Gutenberg. It is about how successive waves of innovation were spurred by the introduction of the printing press. Some of the innovation and disruption we experience today are related to these earlier waves, even though digital technology is a new phenomenon.   “… we no longer register the impact of the printing press because we have no easy way to retrieve the ambient sensation of “before,” just as we can’t retrieve, and can barely imagine, what life was like when only scattered licks of flame could pierce the darkness of night.”

It is a short read but packed with interesting details about connections between disruptions. A favorite: “More books and rising literacy created an eyeglass industry, which in turn brought advances in lens-making, which ultimately made possible the telescope and spelled the end of biblical cosmology.”

As human species continues its march to a future we really cannot know, I appreciate the cultural mapmakers like Cullen who think about these matters. 

Our Parents, Ourselves

Last week I took my elderly father to the hospital for a medical test (a test that turned out to be completely unnecessary, but that’s another story).  I waited for 90 minutes in the waiting room, during which time I counted eight other women who looked to be my age, and to whom I either spoke directly or overheard discussing, the eldercare they are presently involved with. Seven of the women were dealing with their mothers, one said she had just buried her mom. Three told me they have no children of their own.

Nothing will help you understand the terrifying immensity of our country’s health care crisis like 90 minutes with a few of the unpaid and under-appreciated army of people caring for their parents. A crisis that is just beginning.

Bob Lefsetz

Do you get this guy’s emails? He writes (a lot) about the music industry, politics, his observations of life in general. I often agree with his point of view, and I admire his prolific output. This from today’s letter, about the Democratic debates in South Carolina last night:

This election is about hope.

I am utterly astounded that the media and most of those running, never mind the consultants, just don’t get this. They believe this is a game, a known quantity, and he or she with the most experience and expertise wins.

But they are wrong. A tsunami has already wiped out that game, but the people with the most money and the most power are somehow unaware of this.

His site is here; you can sign up for his letter here.

Film Review: Honeyland

Nominated for an Academy Award in two categories (Documentary and International Film) in early 2020, this film about Macedonia’s “last beekeeper” is heartbreaking and memorable. You will not soon forget Hatidze Muratova, the star of this story on so many levels. Trailer here.