Social Distancing??? An Essay (or a journal entry…don’t know which)

This will be a mixed media post with stuff to look at, to listen to, watch, and to read (later, if you wish). I hope it inspires, informs and tickles you.

 

I wrote this in a note to a friend today…

We are living the pages and chapters of future history and philosophy books.
I hope we learn the abundant lessons in our faces right now…for the sake of our grandchildren, and theirs, and theirs….
(Lyrics at bottom of page)
I do understand all the steps and precautions we are needing to take in our communities, our countries, our planet during this Pandemic. I live in the USA’s Ground Zero, and I myself, am in three of the highest risk categories, so I appreciate people being thoughtful in their proximity to me.
But…
Social distancing?? What the hell! Hasn’t technology already been giving us too many tempting examples of that? It’s easier (faster) to text or email someone than to call them. Parents are freaking out about the damage caused by too much screen time for their kids. AND, Distracted driving statistics are horrifying!
Distracted driving deaths

Roughly, nine people are killed and more than 1,000 injured daily in accidents in which at least one driver was distracted

Heck, there are even patronizing (but wonderful) commercial campaigns on TV against too much social distance created by technology. My favorite is the one where the mom secretly trips the household electrical circuit, shutting off the video games, and forcing the kids to go outside to play basketball. Or the one with two couples, out to a fancy dinner, never looking up from their phones…while texting each other!

 

Many, many years ago now, I was asked to write a review in the Pre and Peri-Natal Psychology Medical Journal, of a book called Untouched by Mariana Caplan. It was a powerful description of what we, as a species, needed to consider in light of the rapid changes happening in human contact, brought about by the age of technology.

Here’s the review, in case you want to read it later…

https://www.questia.com/library/journal/1P3-1380835931/untouched-the-need-for-genuine-affection-in-an-impersonal

(The book has since been re-published under the title To Touch is to Live: The Need for Genuine Affection in an Impersonal World by Mariana Caplan)

 

My feeling today is even though we may be more distant physically, touching each other and looking into each others eyes less, we are potentially, miraculously and profoundly more “in touch” with each other than ever before. 
Or at least we can be.
I have not hugged my best friends in years, but I can tap my phone a few times and be right in the same room with them, face to face, while still 5285 miles across the planet. How amazing is that???
Believe me, I am NOT saying this phone contact is anywhere nearly as satisfying as a bear hug, a snuggle on the couch, or a meaningful look into their eyes, but I have to admit, the alternatives are fairly tolerable….as long as they are balanced by the occasional in-person visit.
And now…”Social Distancing”??? I get it. I hope it saves us, but I feel compelled to issue this precaution. If we have to do this for very long, it can (and will) become the norm for a whole species, making all of our former natural, tactile, kinesthetic expressions of human affection, respect, comradery, kindness, and love seem foreign, suspect, improper, and even dangerous. (Whew! What a sentence! What a THOUGHT!)
20200318_103830
the main photo I use in my therapy practice…
In an exhausting attempt to keep myself grounded in my deepest spiritual beliefs during this global (and personal) crisis, I search each and every day for new perspectives on all of this.
I am including below, some things I have found online (thank you technology) that have been comforting as well as enlightening to me during my already extended period of being “grounded”.
I love reading what Joan Borysenko has to say about things. She is a Harvard Medical School trained cell biologist and licensed psychologist…and one of the more spiritual people I know. She wrote this a few days ago:

Since last week, a lot has happened regarding the novel coronavirus. With the sharp uptick of cases, and the projection that a majority of Americans could be infected, we are now being directed to prepare for the likelihood of staying home much more.

As a psychologist, I am always looking for hidden opportunities within life’s inevitable difficulties. One possible opportunity I see, is to become more mindful of how we react to fear and uncertainty… and to cultivate greater resilience and gratitude for the good things in life.

This immediately made me think of the song Resilient by Rising Appalachia. I post this song often. It is one of my main themes these days. Worth a listen (and a viewing) again.
Pump up your volume and watch it standing up. See if you can do that without bursting into movement yourself!
Then, this also crossed my path. It is actually the thing that shook me out of my own personal “wide spread panic” and got me to remember that the way I was seeing what’s going on in the world was not the only way to look at it.
Blush.
And me, all the time preaching about Chosen Perspectives!!
It came from Facebook (which I am not on) and it had a name on it so I’m going to credit that person.

Amongst all the fear and confusion, there’s this…❤️ a different perspective …

There is so much fear, and perhaps rightfully so, about COVID-19.

And, what if…

If we subscribe to the philosophy that life is always working out for us, that there is an intelligence far greater than humans at work…

That all is interconnected.

What if…

the virus is here to help us?

To reset.
To remember.

What is truly important.

Reconnecting with family and community.

Reducing travel so that the environment, the skies, the air, our lungs all get a break.

Parts of China are seeing blue sky and clouds for the first time in forever with the factories being shut down.

Working from home rather than commuting to work (less pollution, more personal time).

Reconnecting with family as there is more time at home.

An invitation to turn inwards — a deep meditation — rather than the usual extroverted going out to self-soothe.

To reconnect with self — what is really important to me?

A reset economically.

The working poor.

The lack of healthcare access for over 30 million in the US. The need for paid sick leave.

How hard does one need to work to be able to live, to have a life outside of work?

And, washing our hands — how did that become a “new” thing that we needed to remember. But, yes, we did.

The presence of Grace for all.

There is a shift underway in our society — what if it is one that is favorable for us?

What if this virus is an ally in our evolution?

In our remembrance of what it means to be connected, humane, living a simpler life, to be less impactful/ more kind to our environment.

An offering from my heart this morning. Offered as another perspective. Another way of relating to this virus, this unfolding, this evolution.

It was time for a change, we all knew that.

And, change has arrived.

What if…

Gutpreet Gill

 

Thanks for reading this today. More than ever, I’d love to have you comment…share your own experience…connect with others about this.

Last thing about practicing Social Distance

 

 

 

Lyrics to above songs:

Climbing to Safety by Widespread Panic

You tell me love, has always scared you
Like the things under your bed
Baby, we can walk on water
Like some junkies swore they did

You call me on the phone, you say that it is crucial
Stick your fingers in your ears ’til they explode
It’s just business, and it rolls along as usual
Must grab each others collar, we must rise out of the water
‘Cause you know as well as I do that it’s no fun to die alone

After all that I’ve been through, you’re the only one that matters
Climb to safety
You never left me in the dark here on my own
Climb to safety
I can feel the water rising, let me be your ladder
Climb to safety
I promise you’ll be dry and never be alone

After all that I’ve been through, you’re the only one that matters
Climb to safety
You never left me in the dark here on my own
Climb to safety
I can feel the water rising, let me be your ladder
Climb to safety
I promise you’ll be dry and never be alone

Yeah, climb to safety
Ooh, climb to safety, safety
Yeah
Climb to safety

 

Resilient by Rising Appalachia
I am resilient
I trust the movement
I negate the chaos
Uplift the negative
I’ll show up at the table
Again and again and again
I’ll close my mouth and learn to listen
These times are poignant
The winds have shifted
It’s all we can do
To stay uplifted
Pipelines through backyards
Wolves howling out front
Yeah I got my crew but truth is what I want
Realigned and on point
Power to the peaceful, prayers to the waters
Women at the center
All vessels open to give and receive
Let’s see this system brought down to its knees
I’m made of thunder, I’m made of lightning
I’m made of dirt, yeah
Made of the fine things
My father taught me
That I’m a speck of dust and this world
Was made for me so let’s go and try our luck
I’ve got my roots down down down down down down deep
I’ve got my roots down down down down down down deep
I’ve got my roots down down down deep
I’ve got my roots down down down deep
So what are we doing here
What has been done
What are you gonna do about it
When the world comes undone
My voice feels tiny
And I’m sure so does yours
Put us all together we’ll make a mighty roar
I am resilient
I trust the movement
I negate the chaos
Uplift the negative
I’ll show up at the table again and again and again
I’ll close my mouth and learn to listen…

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choosingmyperspective

Thought a blog might help me develop better writing habits so I could finally finish my book, 16 years in the writing, but so far it's mostly photos and FUN!

4 thoughts on “Social Distancing??? An Essay (or a journal entry…don’t know which)”

  1. I actually had the same thought … that social distancing could become “normalized.” But I don’t think so. I think it is likely to have exactly the opposite effect and is very likely to get people to want to put down the phones and go out to play. In any case, I think the peak of “living on cell phones” is fading. Slowly but surely, it is becoming a (1) telephone, (2) contact list, (3) task list. Basically, a PDF with a telephone. Some people also use it to take pictures and write, but mostly, it’s becoming a business-type tool. I think that the trend will get even stronger. Everyone is going to get very tired of isolation. Many already are.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this.
    I consider myself extremely lucky. Being on retreat is easy for me. I am concerned about the term ‘social distancing’ and ‘isolating’. I think there are many elderly folks whole already live isolated lives and I am concerned about the impact on them.
    I see this event as a means for the planet/nature to heal from all the damage it has incurred for so long. I am in awe and how quickly nature can heal… the air and waters in many areas are cleaner and clearer than they were less than a month ago.
    I think we have been given a huge opportunity to see, in a very short time, the results of the damage we have done to the planet and to make changes.

    Liked by 1 person

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