I’m told there’s a body of research showing that people rise to the occasion when faced with a collective crisis. Rebecca Solnit, in A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities that Arise in Disaster, writes about the solidarity, altruism, and improvisation that emerge when humans go through hell together.
I don’t know the science myself, but it feels true in my bones. And I am seeing people support each other in so many marvelous ways, and putting their compassion and creativity to use. Musicians serenade us on Facebook live, feeding our hearts vital nourishment. (As I write this, I’m enjoying a live concert of John Prine songs from my friend Wilma, in honor of Prine, who is dealing with a serious case of COVID-19.)
A local arts center is organizing a “Flower Power Knit Graffiti Project”–sending supplies and instructions to community members to create flower petals for a knitted garden installation.
In the practical arena, I heard of a woman collecting plastic laundry detergent containers and water bottles to make handwashing and sanitizing stations for homeless camps. Meanwhile many of my friends and acquaintances are sewing masks to be used by healthcare facilities at-risk folks. “Sewing Grannies” from a retirement community organized an elastic drive, when they heard supplies were low. (One note said, adorably: “Some of this elastic is really old. I hope it still works. Thank you for doing this important work. If my old pants fall down because I don’t have any elastic to fix them it will be all your fault!”)
Businesses are stepping up too–not just in the mindbody field, where the amount of online support is dazzling, much of it donation-based or free. A maker of leather aprons has designed a hospital mask using special high-filtration HEPA material, and is converting production to meet that need. A local distillery switched from producing gin to WHO recipe hand sanitizer, and offered it for free while supplies lasted, no purchase necessary.
I’m sure there are many more examples of entrepreneurs pivoting to meet the needs of the day, and people in general being the innovative, kind, fabulous beings we are at our best. These are just a few things I know about from my little perch.
Tell me something good! If you know of a good thing to amplify, contact me or put it in the comments.
Gratitude: Can I just give a minute to the technology and Internet availability that is keeping me connected? The Zoom staff meeting where I can see the faces of my team, who I miss awfully. Another Zoom meeting for my weekly writing group, so we can keep supporting each other through this madness. Facebook Messenger to share a guided meditation with two friends, and debrief afterwards, face to face (or next best thing). Countless Zoom yoga/dance/movement classes peppering my days and keeping me in contact with my adored community. Most miraculously of all: just today I used Whatsapp to have a long and refreshing talk with my dear friend Lydia who’s visiting her family in South Africa.
Tip of the Day: Pick up the phone (or Facetime or what-have-you) and connect. Here’s Hank Green talking about this act as an antidote to “the anxious scroll.”
Resource of the Day: I can’t get enough of Cornell Ornithology Lab’s FeederWatch Cam. Sights and sounds from Sapsucker Woods. Birds doing their thing, completely unapprised of any pandemic.
I am have paranoia and hear voices. I have participated in research on schizophrenia at NIH since August and I felt so greatful to the staff there that I wrote 33 personalized thank you letters to the staff and patients that were working there at different times. I knitted 5 hats and gave one to a patient, one I will send to my niece when I get out, and three are being donated to the children’s Inn at NIH many of which are young cancer patients or have other illnesses. I have also expressed gratitude in my artwork and behavior. I thank you for reading and hope you reciprocate the gratitude. I also express gratitude for this very supportive blog which really makes me feel better.
I am so touched by your story, and your expression of gratitude, Samuel. Thanks for reaching out. Be well.