What does it mean that our greatest strength is now a deadly liability?

I have been thinking, and I find myself concerned. Not anxious, maybe troubled is a better word. Disconcerted, well aren’t we all in these exceptional and unprecedented times? But during covid-19 lockdown one recurrent element of my thinking has caused me to be particularly troubled. I am uneasy. I cannot guess the outcome. You see, I wonder how this disease is challenging what it is that makes us uniquely human. What might this illness-experience change about us, about homo sapiens, for this species the so-called wise human; what cost this absolutely appropriate and vital need to isolate?  Lakefornt_Trail_ClosedOne selfish choice to break quarantine, to refuse to mask, to fornicate: and people die. I am in full agreement; selfless compassion, the force of social morality is behind this stance. Individual freedom must be subjugated to the needs of the collective, the community. It is imperative that we stop this disease spreading, we must not transmit the virus, and to do this we must not gather or meet. We must socially distance. But as I said, I am troubled.

And I am troubled because as Aristotle noted, man (sic) is by his (sic) very nature a social and political animal. Our rise to global dominance is predicated on community. We come together and represent a force that can resist saber-tooth tigers and ice ages, make ocean voyages, fly to the moon and sample rocks on Mars. We developed language and religion through mimesis, sharing time and food, wisdom, celebration and the art of living. The ability to sing and thus to quiet a fearful tired child allowed the group to hide from predators and survive. Sharing our capacities, sharing our strengths, sharing our humanity we developed our priceless co-affinity, love and compassion. I am moved to help you when you are weak and poor and fatherless (sic). And yet our millennially proven strategy and strength through sociality must itself now be eschewed if we are to combat the greatest threat of the twenty-first century (?, well a very significant one at least). Our evolutionary advantage has been turned upon us and threatens to infect us all.

Social-Distance-Poster-2Beyond the virus with its deadly pathology, its symptoms and emerging enduring side-effects, we are all plagued by isolation’s traumas. Certainly nobody is surprised at the increased in suicides, apparently accidental shootings and overdoses, at the trauma and tragedy of mounting incidents of domestic violence. But beyond our psychological anguish, what are the effects on our very beings, on our souls if you believe in such ephemera? What is the impact on our essence, on what it means to be human? We are by nature social animals and yet we have been torn apart. And speaking for myself at least, Zoom and FaceTime and WhatsApp just don’t cut it. I’m lost. I’m afraid. I’m anxious. I am bereft without community, in person, along side me, enduring together. It is here that this virus attacks my very humanity.

I have no answers, and so in truth I am more than troubled. We are by nature social and political animals, we did not evolve because we could thrive alone. What next? What angst? What devolution? What isolation and decline? What cost wise human, what cost?

social distanced bean

Not so much a New York state of mind, but maybe I had more fun than I thought

Well days two and three in New York – Saturday and Sunday – mmm yeah. Sometimes you know yourself well and to be honest I had misgivings about how I’d like New York. So in fact, putting a positive spin enabled by being back home in Australia now, it was actually better than I expected! I even really seriously enjoyed two bits! OMG, three! But I’m getting ahead.

Saturday morning I decided to walk along the Hudson River from the hotel toward the Staten Island Ferry with the aim of getting to see the Statue of Liberty. She had been strongly in my mind and I wanted to get closer, to understand my response. So off I set, along a really nice riverside park way full of joggers and families, walkers, waffles. Mmm the waffles were hot and the eye candy sweet. It was a cool cloudy start but I could see the clouds were blowing away and the forecast was for a fine day. I was feeling positive.

I think that tall box at the end of the two piers is the top of the ventilator shaft for the Holland Tunnel. I liked its style. Continue reading “Not so much a New York state of mind, but maybe I had more fun than I thought”

Prince Edward Island ~ Paradise really is beautiful

I really struggled with which picture to put at the top of this post, there are so many that I totally love… this was the runner up. It’s actually from the end of Tuesday, hence the atmospheric mist.

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Did I make the right choice?

Late that afternoon, right before my lobster supper, the weather was so intense it was just perfect. Continue reading “Prince Edward Island ~ Paradise really is beautiful”

Celebrating Women

This International Women’s Day I think of women I have loved and we have lost. Women who continue to inspire and whose memory we continue to honour by living in their style and with their bravado.

They are a vital part of our history but they wouldn’t have us look back, rather they impel us into our future. And so today I also think of the women I love who still walk, dance and play with us. Women who inspire me, hold my hand, laugh and cry with me. Drink with me, philosophise with me, are real with me.

Today I’m thankful for the women in my life, for the men who encourage us to be the best we can be, and for all those people the future holds in store as surprises along our way.

PS This logo is from what looks to be a fabulous session at a Hindu Temple next Saturday, if only I was in London… who knows maybe one of you can go and let me know what it was like 🙂

International Women’s Day 2015// //

Leaching

As you will have guessed from Walking in between, I decided to take a few days to let the wind, sand and waves leach the last few months into a new order, and to let the sun melt my bones.  Lots to eat, read and better yet kilometres of beach for walking meditation.

One should be precise in the use of language and I did deliberately use the word “leach” hoping the stress and sadness would drain away.
One thanks the weather goddess for making real with adroit precision one’s desire to be leached, cleansed and washed.
One however wishes with due deference to point out that it was meant as a metaphor.
Within half an hour of standing in bright sunlight and expressing a desire to be leached, I was buffeted by a squall.  Three guys raced past on kite boards, riding on the tops of great smashing waves, flying with the wind.  I gazed seaward facing into the wind and stinging rain.  Within moments I was utterly drenched, but smiling under a full rainbow.  One cannot complain if the goddess is feeling literal, and your rainbow, well then I knew.
Continue reading “Leaching”