As the worldwide coronavirus pandemic rips through the world shattering national health systems and economies, unsettling lives, routines, comforts & joys, we now find ourselves in a new world of isolation, paranoia, social distancing & uncertainty. In this new world, many things are becoming better understood — & felt — like our interconnectedness to each other & to Nature. We are also fast learning — for good &/or bad — more details about the people we share our homes with. Let me just say, there are stories to be told y’all!!
I have pondered about this new world we’re in from the moment of mass lockdowns & closures. How will the young ones cope? How will we — the non-rich — cope financially? How will couples with domestic strife handle this with few options of escape? How will otherwise healthy relationships weather the storm — a critical question may arise: Is love enough? And for those of us who regularly worked out in a gym, will our hard-won muscularity & nimbleness turn to flab & creaky, stiff joints? Oh! These times are quite challenging on so many levels!
This contagion uncorks many interesting social and psychological phenomena . I am most curious about how it affects different personality types ranging from the extremely introverted to the extremely extroverted and those in between. Lonely I have never been, but being alone has always been my secret pleasure ever since I was a college student. I am what some would term an introverted extrovert — love being by myself but can chop it up & be highly sociable when the need or situation arises. Feeling comfortable in one’s own skin & enjoying one’s own space provide such a lift bordering on the spiritual. These precarious times can be somewhat less petrifying to the introverted extrovert like myself than for those who are labeled extroverted or extremely introverted by nature. In my neighborhood, I sometimes stop to talk with neighbors (at a safe distance, of course!). Oftentimes I sense the restless energy & ennui of those I know to be extroverted by nature. They tell me of kids driving them up the wall, spouses nitpicking & more time on their hands than they know what to do with (many have been laid off). They’re truly like fish trying to walk on dry land! I have one very extroverted friend, married with children who is now working from home with his wife, but his restless energy has him indulging in porn & sharing it with a selected group of close friends. He is not himself as he has never shared anything like this in all the years I’ve known him. His life has always been on the go with travel, fraternity functions, sports & entertainment outings, date nights with his lovely wife, track meets with his kids, etc., but now he is stuck in the house losing his bearings in this new world.
Every dark cloud has a silver lining, & if ever there was a time to believe that saying, it’s now! In fact, I believe the silver lining in our virus-addled landscape is a spiritual one. Many are becoming aware of our collective mortality & fragility & are questioning the meaning of this existence & our unique place in it. I have no doubt that a vast number of people are diving more deeply into their faith tradition for a clearer understanding, moral refinement & peace of mind. A few non-religious people that I know scour Youtube daily looking for uplifting videos from all sorts of “family & relationship experts”, “mediation experts” &” spiritual masters”. I can’t blame them. These unprecedented times have left them unmoored & nervous about the future. I’m somewhat ambivalent about spending hours online looking for inspiration when other more powerful sources are all around us. As mentioned, religion provides an excellent source. For the non-religious but spiritual like myself, a variety of sources can provide one with spiritual fortitude.
There are a number of places I go to for peace of mind & ecstatic flights. Music has always been a major oasis to set me straight. My musical taste is quite varied & specific to the mood I’m in at any given moment. For this moment in time, songs like “Yesterday Was Hard For All of Us” by Fink, “Alladdin’s Lamp” by Al Jarreau, “Fear & Love” by Morcheeba, “Miracle Love” by Matt Corby & “Valeh” by Axiom of Choice are like medicine to my soul. I supplement this by delving into the works of Rumi, Hafiz, Buddha, Khalil Gibran, the Stoics & numerous authors of Christian Liberation Theology like Dr James Cone who wrote the masterpiece, “The Cross & The Lynching Tree”.
We all need spiritual nourishment to elevate our vibration to help ease the burdens of this mortal coil. In this time also, one must also be highly selective of news sources as the flow of information is overwhelming & distressingly distorted. I stick to news sources beyond the mainstream like DemocracyNow, Alternet, TruthOut, CounterPunch & Black Agenda Report (to name a few). I highly recommend to anyone not familiar with the aforementioned sources to check them out & determine for yourself what is “truth”. As George Orwell once said, “the very concept of objective truth is fading out of the world. Lies will pass into history…”.
As previously stated, the silver linings to this isolation &social distancing are right in front of us if we only had eyes to see, ears to hear and wits to understand. It is now an imperative that we all wise up & not be the passive or apathetic creatures the powers that be would like for us to be. for the forces that seek to make this Earth more chaotic, polluted & unjust will keep pressing and pressing and pressing until there is absolutely nothing left to save.