We share this planet with an estimated 8.7 million other species, most of which we haven’t yet identified, the bulk of them microscopic in scale — including bacteria, viruses, and protozoa, among others.
Viruses are different from all other species of life because they are non-cellular organisms, dependent on an external host for the chemical and other elements they need in order to replicate. They are at the frontier of what we consider to be life-forms.
And yet, this planet is their home, as it is ours. We must learn how to co-exist.
My social media feed is filled with stories about Covid-19; about its rapid spread from a few cases last December, to what the World Health Organization has now identified as a global pandemic. From this video of quarantined Italians playing their violins for their neighbours across empty streets (is there anything more human than making music together to keep the dark at bay?), to reports of widespread hoarding, as stores throughout North America sell out of toilet paper and bottled water, as well as urgently needed medical supplies like surgical masks, thermometers, hand sanitizer and surgical gloves — our stories depress or uplift our immune systems, and the immune systems of our planet.
Countries with authoritarian governments, like China and Singapore, and countries with long experience in dealing with infectious diseases — governments whose people trust and listen to them, who have maintained a public health system that can be mobilized quickly and efficiently, like those in Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea — have had the greatest success in reducing the number of fatalities and slowing the vector of the disease. Those countries whose response was delayed, like the many European countries that have now closed their borders and shut down most public gatherings, are doing their best to contain the spread of the virus and to keep people from dying in greater numbers.
Others, like the U.S. — whose leadership is struggling to reconcile a belief in minimal government and absolute individual autonomy with the reality of a pandemic, which urgently requires an effective public health policy response, and asks each of us to do our part to keep the most vulnerable among us safe from the potentially deadly effects of this virus — are in danger of not responding swiftly or effectively enough to stop the virus from spreading, to devastating effect.
We’re in the midst of a long-overdue global reckoning. The truth remains what it always has been, and what we have long ignored -– we are interdependent beings, embedded in multiple, nested ecologies. None of us is safe until all of us are safe. Safety lies in letting go of me-first agendas and doing what’s good for everyone.
Last summer, I received clear guidance that everything that was out of harmony, in my own life and in the collective, had reached a critical tipping point, though I had no idea back then that this particular pandemic was brewing. In response, I made a conscious decision to live my values in an even more meticulous, granular way. For example, I could no longer, in good conscience, continue to fly, which meant no more travel to Europe, which I love, or home to India, or any of the other cultures, countries and landscapes I had intended, someday, to visit.
No more indulging in fantasies of travel either; the cost, to our biosphere and its inhabitants, and also to my body, is simply too high. These days, I’m more mindful than ever of what I consume, mentally, emotionally, and energetically as well as physically. And I’m no longer willing to indulge my desires at the expense of my health, or that of the most vulnerable in our world, who have always paid an astronomical price for our highly privileged, unsustainable mode of consumption. It’s a price that’s exacted on the thousands of species that are made extinct by climate crisis. A price paid by the Earth that is our only home.
With an increasing sense of relief, I’m living as simply as possible. The measure of my success in this endeavour is a sense of inner peace, even when life is hard. My way of living may seem boring or hermit-like to others, but it is rich, full, and immensely satisfying to me. My life is filled with everyday beauty, wonder, pleasure, stillness, delicious solitude, books, writing, loving friends and family, and immense gratitude for the privilege of being human, of participating in this grand adventure that is life on earth. I feel clear-hearted, clear-headed, grounded and whole; in love with my world and its astonishing tenderness.
No, I haven’t moved into a cave -– that would create more complication rather than greater simplicity, and my path has always been the Middle Way. But I try to inform myself about the effects on the collective of each decision I make, no matter how small, and then act in accordance with my conscience.
This way of being requires slowing down, researching and honouring what’s real, and paying attention to the promptings of my soul. It could have paralyzed me into inaction, but in fact, living this way has liberated both creative power and agency.
I’ve still a long way to go, but this pandemic brings home an essential truth — we no longer have the luxury of waffling, of half-closing our eyes and hearts to the destruction we have wrought through the excesses of crony capitalism and runaway consumption. We have got to begin living the truth — that we are part of an intricately interdependent ecology, and every choice we make has consequences, not just for ourselves but for all the life-forms with whom we share our planet. We have to care more about our world than we do about ourselves, because ultimately, the two are intimately intertwined.
Since there aren’t enough kits for everyone to get tested for Covid-19, assume that you have the virus and then do what you need to do to avoid spreading it. It’s that simple. Place the good of the whole ahead of your fears for yourself and your beloveds; ahead of your need for control — it’s the safest, most human thing you can do.
So, what does this mean for those of us who are entrepreneurs, whose livelihood depends on the exchange of goods and services at a time when much of the infrastructure of supply chains and the global movement of goods and money have become increasingly friable?
If your business relies on retreats, speaking gigs, or frequent air travel; if you own a hair salon, a restaurant, or an events-based business; if you’re in the travel, service or hospitality industries; if your supply chain originates in one of the many countries that have closed their borders to all travel and to many exports and imports; if you are a money manager or have your retirement savings in high-risk markets, you may be experiencing a great deal of fear and uncertainty right now.
How will you survive? How will your business survive? What about the folks whose livelihood depends on your business? What about your clients and customers, whom you love and who are facing fears of their own?
:: Stop. Breathe. Place the tips of your middle and index fingers on your pulse, either at your wrist or along the side of your neck, and feel its rhythm steady you; let it entrain your breathing.
:: Devas exist in a field of love. To connect with them, tune into someone or something you love unconditionally. Feel the flow of love extend from your heart through your whole body, and out into your energy field, all around you.
Then, offer your love and appreciation to the Deva of your business. Call on it, and on the Devas of your craft, your industry, your community, your spiritual lineage, for help and guidance.
Devas can’t do your work for you, but they hold the pattern for the perfect unfolding of all lives in their care. If you ask, they will share with you all that is within their considerable power to do. They’ll offer perspective, inspired ideas, clarity, encouragement, support, energetic re-patterning, transformation, power, and practical advice about next steps to take, as well as connections and access to resources that can help bring your ideas to fruition.
:: Ask clarifying, generative questions: What do you want your life, and the life of your world to look and feel like, once this pandemic is over? What really matters to you, and what are you willing to sacrifice, in order to create what matters most? What whispers to you, as you hush the noise to hear the voice of your soul?
What is yours to do, or not do, in this time of global suffering?
What will you dream, do, create, to thrive in the new landscape which your business now inhabits? How can you best support your clients and customers in thriving in this new world order?
Don’t rush to arrive at answers. Let the questions marinate; let life answer them for you, as you go about your day.
:: Manage your own energy; if you are anxious or scattered or confused, restore calm to your central nervous system. Not by ignoring the reality around you, but by partnering with it to navigate it with as much grace, compassion, vision and kindness as you can muster.
If you don’t already have one, cultivate a practice of self-reflection, contemplation, and energy hygiene. Clear your energy body a couple of times each day — more often, if you need to — so you aren’t acting out of collective fear and trauma. Stay attuned to the clearer, stronger vibration that is your soul’s essence and pattern.
:: Knowledge is power. Purposeful, effective action is power. Integrity and living your values both enhance your personal power. Use your capacity in service to your vision for yourself, your business, and the collective, and the powers of wholeness will support you in whatever you choose to do.
Be an agent of wholeness, restoration and renewal in these times.
:: Do your homework. Find reliable sources of scientific information about the pandemic — international, national and local to your area — and follow the experts’ instructions on how best to act, to prevent the spread of the virus to vulnerable populations. Internationally, the WHO’s website includes up-to-date information at https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019. Look for national updates from your own country’s Center for Disease Control or its equivalent. For local news and the most recent advice on what you can do, as a good citizen of your hometown, check the website of your local health authority.
:: Your immune system responds to uncertainty by ratcheting up to high alert, attacking anything it perceives as a threat. When it can’t identify where and when the threat will emerge, it performs a kind of blitzkrieg, wiping out everything in sight, including your own cells, in an attempt to keep you safe.
So, create a zone of inner safety in your body. When you feel afraid, place your hand on your heart, your other hand on your belly, and breathe. Feel the sturdy beat of your heart, the inflow and outflow of your breath, the pulse of your blood flowing through your arteries and veins. Feel the miracle that is your body, built of thousands of interactive processes that require no conscious intervention from you to function beautifully.
Conscious touch reminds you that you are here, you are not alone, you are own best friend and beloved; in this moment, you are alive and safe.
:: Remind yourself that you have faced difficult things in the past. Your family, your ancestors, your community, your country — all have faced danger, uncertainty and fear. These are part of the human condition. You’ve made it through; you’ve helped others make it through difficult times too. Remind yourself that you can trust yourself; you can trust your strength and determination, creativity, heart, vision, courage, and resilience. You can trust your soul, the soul of the world, the Deva of your business, and your soul’s posse in the subtle energy realms, to support, love and strengthen you.
You may be at greater risk of succumbing to this virus due to a compromised immune system or old age, ill health or poverty that makes it difficult for you to care for yourself and your beloveds as you need to. Or you may be perfectly fine, with a robust immune system and excellent health, resources and the capacity to thrive in challenging environments.
Ultimately, this isn’t only about you. Each of us is responsible for doing our part to keep all of us safe. So, practice social responsibility; stay home, avoid physical contact so you don’t infect others who may be more vulnerable than you. Embrace the outdoors and reconnect with the non-human world — with trees and rocks, rivers and mountains, birds and clouds; with your own neighbourhood and the landscape in which you live.
Besides these precautions on behalf of your community, be honest with yourself about your own skills and capacity and commit to doing what is yours to do. Many of my colleagues are generously offering online gatherings, Zoom calls or Facebook Live events, webinars and other virtual community get-togethers for support, and to share resources, ideas and encouragement. If you feel called to, you can do this for your community, or the folks in your neighbourhood. If, on the other hand, your soul is calling you to rest in silence and stillness at this time, do that instead. Always, always trust yourself and your inner guidance.
My own work remains primarily a collaborative, co-creative effort with the Devas and other subtle energy beings who are working to stop this pandemic, and to mitigate its effects on those most vulnerable to its depredations. Also, to craft the field in which new global relationships and new ways of being can emerge and be protected until they are established enough to flourish.
This isn’t so different from what I do every day. If you’re part of my community (and if you’re reading this, you almost certainly are) then you are held in a field of grace, power, creative flow and support, every day of every year.
If you are one of my private clients or students, you are held in a field of heightened power and potential, developed and sustained specifically for you and your business.
For now, my contribution to the collective includes working with the Devas of the countries most severely impacted by the virus; working with the ecology in which the virus functions, including the human and non-human elements within that ecology; and working to energetically support those who serve the whole, including public health officials crafting policies and strategies to address the fallout from the pandemic; front-line health care workers; researchers developing vaccines; and leaders framing public policy.
Consider your own gifts and genius, capacity and circumstances, and choose the ways in which you will contribute to your world through this crisis and beyond. Then do what you’ve chosen to do with devotion, and clear boundaries. Your work may be to create an online community of neighbours, to support, care for, and provide for each other. If you’re a health-care worker on the front lines of this pandemic, you may be surrounded by fear of contagion and illness. Your work may include cleansing your energy body as well as your hands, many times each day. Or, your work may be to rest deeply, to find the underlying rhythm that pulses through your life and to follow it faithfully wherever it leads.
Whatever you do, take excellent care of yourself, physically, emotionally, energetically, spiritually. Then, take good care of your community.
Hold a vision of harmony, justice, peace, provision and right relationship within the ecology of our world. Let that vision guide your own decision-making and choices. At the moment, no-one knows how long this pandemic will last, how it will play out, or what its full measure might look like. The world after this is over will be what we make of it through our choices and actions today, and in the weeks and months ahead.
This is our opportunity to embrace all of life as though it were our own, energetically if not physically; to include all in the heart of our love and care.
Meditate, pray, move, sing, read, write, make art, make love, make music, create, rest, be still. Do the things that restore you to beauty and kindness, compassion and joy. Do the things that anchor you in a clear sense of sensory pleasure, safety and agency, of belonging and connection, especially now, when our need for connection is great, and our ability to physically connect, to hug and hold each other, needs to be put on hold for the greater good.
Here is my wish for you: May you rest in deep peace — of body, mind, heart and spirit. May you discover in yourself the courage to navigate uncertainty and change with uncommon grace. May you be blessed with wonder, curiosity, vibrant good health, provision, support and well-being.
May the power of our humanity enfold our world in kindness and hospitality. May each of us be an effective agent of wholeness, of the Sacred. May our world, and all life, be blessed with love, with joy, with the precious gifts of peace, safety and belonging.