Rekindle Your Wild Joy and Deep Belonging to the Earth

COVID19 as Shabbat March 13, 2020

Filed under: Arts,Resilience Solutions — BrujaHa @ 10:07 am
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isolation wizard
A wise friend of mine, Lynn Ungar, wrote this magnificent poem about the current COVID-19 situation.
I love her perspective and thought you might enjoy it too. To me, these words are like medicine, and with no need to do insurance paperwork to get it. There is often a gift carried with the wound, which can be had if we only change perspective to find it.
This poem also reminds me of the something writer Anne Lamott once said:
“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.”

What if you thought of it
as the Jews consider the Sabbath—
the most sacred of times?
Cease from travel.
Cease from buying and selling.
Give up, just for now,
on trying to make the world
different than it is.
Sing. Pray. Touch only those
to whom you commit your life.
Center down.


And when your body has become still,
reach out with your heart.
Know that we are connected
in ways that are terrifying and beautiful.
(You could hardly deny it now.)
Know that our lives
are in one another’s hands.
(Surely, that has come clear.)
Do not reach out your hands.
Reach out your heart.
Reach out your words.
Reach out all the tendrils
of compassion that move, invisibly,
where we cannot touch.


Promise this world your love–
for better or for worse,
in sickness and in health,
so long as we all shall live.


Lynn Ungar,  3/11/20


And then one of my grad students wrote the following.  I love this too, as it ties together traditional Chinese medicine  with current events, thereby reminding us humans of our vital inter-being with the living Earth, our larger body.

A Thought on Coronavirus

by Andrew Somps

There exists a curious and poignant connection between the way in which this new virus targets the lungs and an ancient theory of traditional Chinese medicine which sees the lungs as the organs that house feelings of grief.

Given such a connection, one might begin to imagine how Coronavirus could be the earth’s way of nudging the world’s citizens to turn inward and grieve for the quite unprecedented disconnection that exists between modern, industrial society and the natural world…and the resulting loss of the body’s felt sense of home in a world desperate for healing.

That something so small and invisible can do what it’s doing serves as a terribly beautiful reminder of the fact that the individual body and the life of the earth are inseparably bound to each other, that we are all bound to each other.

I offer this connection between grief and Coronavirus to stir the imagination and bring reflection to something that seems hellbent on only inducing panic.

As the world puts on the brakes, we too are called into stillness and silence. Perhaps, hopefully, into grief as well…where grief is anything but a strictly personal emotion, but rather is world-oriented, living in the potential of every cell of the body to feel pain on behalf of the world and thereby gradually redeveloping a sense for what is essential.”



Finally, even if we should limit contact with each other as physical human beings for awhile, this does not apply to contact with other-than-human beings or nature at large.

As Tom Fleischner of Arizona’s Natural History Institute recently remarked, “Immersion in nature can boost human immune systems and provide many other health benefits.  We encourage you to get outside and connect with the more-than-human world: practicing natural history, now more than ever, is good for you.” 



Lynn Ungar‘s poetry and more can be found at
The wizard meme above was made by Rob Brezny. If you aren’t yet familiar with his humorous and deeply philosophical astrology column, hie thy eyes to any syndicated publication or
Anne Lamott‘s wonderful quote I got on social media a long while back; it was part of a longer list she created, so I unfortunately can’t provide a proper citation. If you know what publication it’s in, please tell us in the Comments below. Thanks!
Tech note: For some bizarre reason, WordPress won’t make proper spacing for this post unless I stick something like these stars in-between the lines. It just all melds together in a sort of word blob. Sheesh. Simple-fix advice is always welcome.

Techno-fast March 22, 2012

No time? If you are feeling the pressure of what feels like increasing amounts of work and less time to do it in, you are not alone. Technology, like the computers we’re both using right now to communicate, has brought many blessings, but a sort of tyranny has come with it. Just keeping up with email can mean countless hours alone, staring at the flickering screen.

How long has it been since you just went outside, lay down in the grass, and watched the clouds?

No, really?

Does that idea feel somehow shocking, distasteful, dangerous, wrong, lazy, subversive; the slippery slope to slackerdom? Do your nerves twitch at the thought of the many things that you should be getting done? How wasteful – doing nothing!

But it’s not nothing; such down-time is how the imagination recharges. And the more creativity and life energy we have, the more brilliantly productive we can be – not to mention more happy.

I’ve finally come to the conclusion that there will always be too much work to get done in the time allotted for it, so constantly rushing to keep up is an exercise in futility;  a stress-inducing mistake. I think of my dad: when he worked, he worked hard. And then – here’s the kicker – he’d stop working. He did not get caught in that trap that many of us do, of sort of working all the time. All of the time. ALL the time. Lemme just take a moment to check my email. Again.

In the interest of sanity, we might ask ourselves, when do I allow myself to simply not participate? To rest, play, connect via real bodies, eat a long meal and talk together, do hands-on projects, or just walk around? And then to re-engage with work in a way that seems inviting since our energy is renewed?

I like to take one day per week to simply not engage electronically; to “just say no” to that particularly addictive mind drug. No internet, no email, no DVDs, no TV, no voicemail. I’m not Orthodox Jewish; I still do things like use my car to get in the groceries. I’ll do house chores, make something, play music, take a little hike, or read a book. It feels so freeing. When is the last time you spent an entire day wallowing in a novel?

There’s a little movement afoot to support this sort of thing, the National Day of Unplugging. I see this as part of a living ecopsychological meme, the return of a regular day of rest. The Sabbath was a very good idea whose time has come again, as our need is great. Such activities (or non-activities!) can contribute a great deal to our collective mental health, soul spaciousness, and subversive delight.  Just say no to constantly being wired.

This year, the Day of Unplugging runs from sundown Friday, March 23 to sundown, Saturday March 24. You might want to join in too.

And now, a fun techno-intervention for every day: the Cell Phone Stack.

If you want to keep your pals to yourself at a meal instead of watching them play with the latest iPhone app or take calls from other people who couldn’t be bothered to haul their actual breathing carcasses down there to join you, the Cell Phone Stack may be of interest. Here’s how Kempt, a men’s style / fashion / grooming site, describes this “solution for peace”:

It works like this: as you arrive, each person places their phone facedown in the center of the table. (If you’re feeling theatrical, you can go for a stack like this one, but it’s not required.) As the meal goes on, you’ll hear various texts and emails arriving… and you’ll do absolutely nothing. You’ll face temptation—maybe even a few involuntary reaches toward the middle of the table—but you’ll be bound by the single, all-important rule of the phone stack.

Whoever picks up their phone is footing the bill.

It’s a brilliant piece of social engineering, masquerading as a bar game. It takes the phone out of the pocket—where you can sneak a glance and hope nobody notices—and places it in the center of attention at all times. Suddenly, picking up your phone is the big deal you always secretly knew it was. And more importantly, it comes with consequences.

After posting this brilliant social intervention, the writer got a bunch of objections, which he answered in a subsequent post. This one’s my favorite:

Texting Is Totally Different from Answering a Phone Call.

This was the most common and most mystifying response. On some level, it’s true—texting is not nearly as rude as talking on the phone—but that doesn’t mean it isn’t rude. Anytime you’re giving a pocket-sized gadget precedence over a human being, something has gone wrong.

I also liked this one:

My Job Requires Me to Be On Call 24 Hours a Day.

No, it doesn’t; you just like to say that.

Ha! Busted.

Please begin to take some of each day’s 24 hours back for yourself. Do it often, if only for 10 minutes at a time. It’s a start. I hope I’ll get to join you watching pictures form in the clouds. Or hanging out at night and looking at the stars. Or wandering around the neighborhood like in a Ray Bradbury story, petting all of the cats and dogs. Or searching for edible weeds. Or loafing high in some tree’s branches all day, listening to birdsong. I’ll bring my book, and we can talk.