I posted up my first Message from the Founder on Instagram almost 2 weeks ago now. Two weeks that feel like a lifetime ago now. At that time our reaction, as a nation, to the Corona Virus was one filled with panic, fear and some rash decision making. Armed with little information and primal instinct we mobbed the grocery stores stocking up on everything preppers already had in their pantries, wiped out every square of toilet paper in the nation, and watched TV news obsessively like our life depended on it. Some of you out there revealed some uneducated, darker, racist, conspiracy and political sides, lashing out at Chinese Americans, calling the virus the "Chinese Virus", calling it a hoax and licking microphones, which has been disappointing, but not altogether unexpected. Since then the "social distancing" has evolved into "Shelter In Place" and possibly might continue to evolve into full "Quarantines" like China, Italy and Spain. Restaurants that can, are operating on a walk up/carry out schedule, schools and Universities have closed for the year, we have learned more about the workings of the virus and see some light at the end of the tunnel on vaccines and medicines but friends in the medical field, on the front lines, are still begging for masks and tests and protection. People I know have been laid off, or have had to lay off, and just two days ago I learned of my first known friend who is positive and in the hospital on a ventilator. 40 years old. (he should be ok, fingers crossed). And everyone collectively says to each other.. "It's real weird times." Reminder, it was only a month ago this was barely hitting our shores, and only 3 months ago we heard about it being a problem in China. Now the entire world is lit up with red dots of maps of the spread. The entire world.
My 2nd greatest fear, when I heard of this virus, has come true already, with our entire global economy screeching to a halt, people losing their jobs and companies shuttering their doors for good. The ready to eat food industry suffering the greatest blows, but retail, sports, entertainment, gas and oil, and nearly every industry out there feeling immediate pinch. I have discussed the fragility of not just our agricultural society but also our capitalistic society before, but even I have been shocked to see the rapidity of seemingly strong giant companies/corporations laying employees off and asking for Federal handouts immediately. What I have been heart swellingly proud of though, is the way small businesses, fellow makers and hustlers have absorbed the shock, stuck their heels in the ground, and collectively banned together to support one another by sharing resources, promoting one another and outright finding resourceful ways to make it work. Further to that, the community that resides around and amongst these small businesses has rallied to help by making purchases and sharing posts of their favorite small biz owners. Even my MAILMAN bought 2 jars of jam from me yesterday because he "has a job and still has money to spend, and wants to support small business". This to me is what it means to be in a community. This is what it means to be compassionate, and connected, and concerned, about not just ourselves, but others too.
It's going to be a long haul though. And I don't know what that means for any of us. How long can we sustain this? With a projected peak of Mid May or June we still have 5-8 months ahead of massive infection rate, overworked hospitals and underworked non emergency personnel, and this is just the United States I'm referring to. What about the rest of the world? The areas that are even less prepared for a pandemic? India, Nepal, Africa...I'm worried about you.
Lets recenter and focus for a minute though. Truly. Lets. It's been scary, sure. I'm maybe less scared about the virus itself, and more about the revelation of people and companies knee jerk reactions, showing their true colors. My greatest fear, is that we will get through this, and we won't change. We won't learn as a populace. We won't adjust the way we conduct ourselves, our businesses will still be based on financial profit exclusively without regard to people or resources or environmental care, our racial profiling will continue, and we will still distract ourselves. I fear we won't remember the lessons we are learning right now about appreciating the more important things in life like our personal relationships with people we love, friends and family. The importance of self reflection, of continued work on ourselves, our fears and our biases. We won't remember the unnecessary frivolity of constant consumer purchasing that just depletes the earth of its resources and we will forget to use our time to meditate and exercise and sit in the sun and think. I fear we will resume to an existence based on perpetuating the hamster wheel for corporations basing our world health on the health of a stock market exclusively. Let's not do this.
I believe this is an extremely important moment in history. One that my hippy parents might have imagined in their youth and tried to prepare me for by living off the grid and teaching kindness, respect for the land, self reliance but also communal support; or one that the indigenous peoples I'm so distantly related to, but oft look to for foundation and guiding principles, spoke solemnly of. It's certainly not the end of the world, as the world will be just fine without us if it came to that, which I don't think this is at that level, but I believe this is a chance for a global awakening. A consciousness shift. A rebalancing, a wake up call. We need to take this entire situation very seriously. The immediate need for taking extensive precautions for one another, and the long term need for evolution of ourselves.
Yes, it's a "time of uncertainty" no doubt. But it's also a time of opportunity, of growth, of reconnecting and paring down to basics. We are still a modern civilized society with oh so much technology to act as bridges in this time of semi-isolation. Don't worry. You aren't going to have to figure out how to make yarn to make new clothes or carry a message via horseback for days. We will move forward, we will as a human race survive this, but lets move forward in a more conscious way can we? Lets put our importance on things that are actually important. And we can start right now? Use this stillness wisely. In between Netflix binges and Facebook moans reflect on who we are, and what we need to do to better ourselves and our relationship with our community, our earth and the other inhabitants on it. Really dig in.
I'm going to wrap with that. I personally am grateful for so many things, one of which is having the opportunity to slow down and look at what's happening to our race and our planet right now. I hope you will join me. While also washing your hands and following CDC / WHO guidelines. Ok?