It’s not the first time humans have faced a viral pandemic. And it probably won’t be the last, at least I don’t think so. For those who survive this time, there will be an attempt to learn from the experience. What worked, what didn’t? What helped, and what made it worse?
Many episodes through history have taught us things about how viral pandemics work. We see how they spread, how contagion and transmission happen, and what ultimately mitigates and arrests them. Each pandemic is different and each time there is a learning curve to find the best path forward.
The spread of Small Pox among Native Americans is a particularly rich example from history. From it, we can learn many profound lessons of what it means and how best to deal with a pandemic. If you have an interest, I highly recommend you check out this informative article:
Of course, we have yet to see all that the COVID-19 virus will teach us. The full story has not yet been written. In the meantime, we put into place the best practices we know. Mitigation techniques are implemented: quarantine, hygiene, social distancing to create minimal or reduced exposure to limit the transmission, and ultimately stop the spread. That’s worked before. Short of a “cure” it’s the best tool we’ve got so far.
So, here we are in quarantine. We’re looking ourselves in the mirror and asking what can I do? How can I help? Besides just staying cooped up and avoiding contact with other people, commerce and the world around me. That’s a big question.
This challenge asks us to dig deep and really evaluate our life choices. For each of us, it is shows a different face. For parents, you’re now learning to homeschool your kids. For working folks in “non-essential services” you’re having to learn to work from home. For folks like myself, a self-employed bodywork therapist, it means taking on a whole new approach to providing healing arts services.
Essential sector folks still go to work. Only now they risk exposure and are clamoring for protective gear and protective measures, and ways to take care of themselves during this time. Not everyone can be a Father Damien ( https://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Father_Damien ). We’re all working to apply, as fast as we can, “best practices” for containing and not facilitating the further spread of the contagion.
The face of this pandemic is new. COVID-19 knows no race, nationality, country or group of people that are particularly vulnerable. It is effecting everyone. It’s truly “color blind.” And here we are, the entire human family facing a contagion that is stealthy, wily, everywhere and deadly for many!
The much coveted YouTube status of “going viral” takes on a whole new meaning. Indeed, going viral in our deeply interconnected world, in multiple languages, is now possible! This is true for both the dark and the light! An inspiring music video or global meditation can wrap around the world. So can a life threatening contagion.
So, here we are under quarantine. An antiquated but time-tested reaction to contagion. Quarantine, from the Italian, Quaranta, referring to the 40 days of isolation practiced as a mitigation measure during the bubonic plague! Only now, in epic proportions. Not just one ship in the harbor, but almost all of human commerce nearly ground to a halt. Almost the entire world under “stay-at-home orders,” as we hope to halt the spread of the virus.
So, I return to the central question, what can we do? How can we be more a part of the solution rather than a part of the problem?
Years ago in ceremony an elder teacher gave teachings about the coming Earth Change Prophecies: “One region will be too hot, one will be too cold. One too wet, and one too dry. Contagion will sweep the earth, species will die out, and mother earth will begin to withhold her increase.” ( https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/Black-Dawn-Bright-Day/Sun-Bear/9780671759001 ) The teacher spoke of the Earth as a living being, and compared humans to the fleas on a dog’s back. During the time when the fleas get too populace the dog scratches and scratches and shakes and shakes, and then some medicine comes along to eradicate the fleas!
Without dropping fully down into a pit of despair, the truth is that many will rise with “medicine” to face these challenging times. We will do our best to mitigate this impending viral spread. If past experiences are any guide, there will be a triumph over this adversity in the end. In this epic “battle with ominous forces of change,” the elder went on to say that “some will do great and grandiose things, but most of us will just do the little things, and help each other out, day-by-day.”
When I heard that, the words “just do shiatsu!” rang out loud and clear in my head. I found my path forward as a healing artist using skilled human touch. I’m grateful to say that I have been helping people out, day-by-day, ever since. Though shiatsu is not a cure all, and has not been the remedy for everyone for everything, many have found it to provide profound benefit.
Yet, sadly for this modern Western world, Shiatsu does not rise to the level of “essential work.” Indeed, human touch itself is being vilified as a facilitator for the spread of the contagion. So, in my world, I am put on notice to discover and develop new ways to deliver inspiring, day-by-day support services. I am deeply grateful for the pathways that have been given to me. I look to the wisdom traditions that have been central to my life path for decades.
These profound traditions have taught me much, and endowed me with a set of unique skills and insights. As a bodywork therapist I have been blessed to be a grief consoler, pain reliever, introspective-internal researcher, shame and addiction counselor, mind, body, spirit teacher, singer, coach, guide, foodie nutritionist, student of philosophy, meditator, and Qigong movement meditation guide. I am deeply grateful to have so many tools in my tool kit for facing the unknown, and staying healthy in a natural and holistic way, in the face of whatever challenges life throws at us.
Now the COVID-19 challenge together with strict quarantine measures, faces us all. As we live through this time of quarantine, I’m here to serve with stay-at-home practices drawn from the rich traditions of indigenous wisdom. I am developing learning programs to bring to you and ask you to stay tuned as I bring these into production. Many insights and time honored practices can be transmitted through the internet for you to learn, follow and benefit.
These deep wisdom ways have been my life work and I’m excited to bring them to you through the power of technology. I encourage you to soak up as much as you can. I’m now offering Meridian Gesture Qigong practice online, three times a week. In these classes I bring this rich wisdom of the meridian channels of life energy directly to you. Please join me!
Because, besides avoiding contact, we must build our immune system to be strong in the face of the winds that blow ever more strongly around us each day. Meridian Gesture Qigong provides us with a natural, powerful, self-nurturing practice to do just that!
Indeed during these changing times, there will likely be a pharmaceutical researcher who develops the coveted COVID-19 vaccine. I also just saw in the news that the Dyson Vacuum Cleaner corporation invented a new medical ventilator that can be mass produced in record time and will save lives! Yes, indeed there will be those who do “BIG” things during this time!
For most of us though, we will simply find a way to get by, day-by-day under challenging, changing conditions. I’m grateful to be a part of the solution from my home hide away! I look forward to the day when we all come out to gather together once more in joyous celebration.