Clearly, we are living in some of the most challenging times our generation has ever faced. Working behind the scenes or on the front lines in healthcare, we understand this challenge more than most. These are the times we attempted to prepare for but prayed would never come!
Not only is COVID-19 wreaking havoc on our ability to perform our jobs in a less than perfect health care system, she is wreaking havoc on pretty much every system we had come to rely on in an economy we had come to take for granted.
Unlike any other crisis we humans have faced on our shared planet, this one is impacting us all at the same time. There is no escaping from it. Even if we live in an area that is ‘beyond the peak’ we cannot rest on the laurels of our past efforts. ‘Reopening’ the parts of our economy we once believed were ‘essential’, but COVID deemed were not, means reopening to risk of exposure to the same virus that caused this cataclysmic shift to our ‘life as usual’ in the first place. Until a proven vaccination makes its way around our globe, the Coronavirus is here to stay and will continue to stretch us in unprecedented ways.
Climate Change scientists have warned that social disruption from rising temperatures, unprecedented weather patterns, and pandemics like this will be part of our new norm if we do not change. A career in healthcare and physical rehabilitation has taught me all too well that change doesn’t come easy for us humans. We take comfort in the familiar, even if medical advice tells us we should be doing otherwise. As gloom and doom as “if we do not change” sounds, I find great hope in the words IF and CHANGE because I have also witnessed that when the stakes are high enough, humans, irrespective of most anything, totally show up for the challenge. IF the life or death of ourselves, or a way of living we love, is threatened, our superpowers awaken and catapult us into levels of grit, stamina and ability we never dreamed were possible allowing us to CHANGE in unprecedented ways!
In addition to being passionate about healthy bodies, I am also passionate about the health of our shared home. You might call me a tree-hugger. But to me, it really just makes good common sense. We rely on the earth’s vitality for every single thing we use, own and consume. Clean air is essential to our next breath. Vibrant trees serve as earth’s planetary lungs ensuring an ongoing supply of oxygenated air, and an infinite supply of ‘never again to be taken for granted’ precious toilet paper! Public access to green spaces is essential to our physical and emotional well-being. As we have learned from this pandemic, breathing, toilet paper, and access to our beloved outdoors are not to be taken for granted!
According to climate change scientists, these luxuries that were recently just a given in an ordinary day, are all at risk if we continue with life-as-usual. COVID-19 is giving us a collective opportunity to open our eyes, appreciate, and act, to ensure ongoing access to the simplest of ‘luxuries’ for generations to come.
Until COVID-19, I wondered what it would take to energize a more urgent response to the needs of our shared home. Earth can hardly speak up on her own behalf so it usually requires some type of humanitarian crisis to get our attention. The amount of change needed seemed insurmountable in the midst of life-as-usual and our eternal striving to ‘keep up with the Jones’. COVID has blessed us with a tremendous opportunity to stop comparing and competing and start cooperating on an unprecedented scale. She has stopped the proverbial clock from ticking so that we can take stock of what is going on around and in front of us. COVID has required each and every one of us to change in unprecedented ways and has shown us that we are capable of massive communal change in ways none of us ever imagined was possible!
Since COVID-19 arrived in our lives and our communities, we have begun living and achieving the impossible! If we change is a language of our past. Because we are changing there is hope for our future. Because we are changing there is the possibility we can avert future pandemics such as this one. Because we are changing future generations have a better chance of living on a planet that ensures their next breath, an abundance of toilet paper, and access to thriving green spaces!
Challenging times are ripe with opportunity for change! During these unprecedented times, I commit to doing all that I can to uncover and make full use of my superpowers to meet the challenges of now and to ride the waves of change before us. I envision a world filled with fresh air, bountiful toilet paper and easy access to abundant green spaces teaming with life and merriment for our children and for many generations to come.
Thank you for rising to meet this challenge! Will you hold this vision for our future too?
We are in this together and together we are better!
You came into our life out of nowhere and flipped everything upside down and inside out. Life as usual has become a way of the past in the mere blink of an eye. You, smaller than the human eye can see, reproduce yourself exponentially, seemingly without effort. You have defied the odds and hitchhiked your way around the globe faster than any of our modern technology could detect. Man-made boundaries and borders mean nothing to you.
You have blown our schedules and plans apart and called our entire way of living into question. You have stopped us in our tracks in ways nothing else has been able to do...not threat of war nor warning of mass extinction, even to our own kind.
You, dear Corona, have stopped the clock. You have shut down our factories, closed our schools, halted mass production and performances of all kinds. You have managed the unthinkable. World class athletes around the globe, and the fans that worship them, are on their knees in reverence of your unmatched strength and power.
You have forced the hand of biological clocks, irrespective of creed or citizenship. You have tanked the almighty stock market. You have awakened world leaders everwhere to the vital fact that our only way forward is together. The very survival of our elders and most vulnerable across this globe depend on a kind of collaboration this world has never managed before.
You, dear Corona, are little but mighty...fiercely mighty at that!
Our clocks were ticking faster and faster in all realms of life. We raced hither and yon to keep up with the Jones’. Corporate marketeers and mongers convinced us that was the right thing to do...that racing fast enough, far enough, for long enough would eventually lead us to the happiness that always seemed just out of reach. We cried out to be let off that dizzying merry go round while continuing to zoom ahead at our usual clip. We collectively created a world that made it nearly impossible to do otherwise. You rushed in with a speed that has left our heads spinning and our feet glued in our tracks by lock down and quarantine.
While you are wreaking havoc upon and testing every man-made system in existence, you are giving us something we have long been crying out for. You are gifting us with the biggest timeout humanity has ever experienced before. You are giving us an exclusive opportunity to break from everything we have become dependent upon to examine if there is a different way, a more humane or ecologically friendly way, to go about the great task of living. You are gifting us with insight about human connection and how much it matters to us in spite of all of our technological advances. You are teaching us what a precious gift it is to walk, stand or sit elbow to elbow with another beloved human being, even if we don’t know them by name. You are teaching us that in spite of all marketing efforts to sell us the elixir of youth, nothing can replace the lost life of any of our elders.
You are forcing us to slow down, to look at ourselves, our patterns, our habits, our values, everything about who we are individually, as a family, as a community, a nation, a species at large. You are giving us an opportunity to think, pray, talk, contemplate, consider. Must we go on living at the speed we have grown to call normal, even though most of us would wholeheartedly agree that it is not? Must we go on using up all that Mother Nature has left to give, because we failed to listen to her repeated “enough's” that have come in the form of a plethora of unforeseen natural disasters and now in the form of a tiny microbe that has managed to strong arm us all?
Dear Corona, the wildfire of all virus’ that have left carnage in your wake, you have gotten our attention. We beseech you to stop your lethal spread across our shared home. But are you saving us from an even bigger calamity if we do not heed your call to action now?
May we act swiftly, powerfully and unilaterally across this globe to curb your impact. May we seize this unprecedented opportunity to change our ways once and for all for the least of our brethren that stand to gain the most from our willingness to change.