Resources

At this time I am prioritizing articles and websites that have been helpful for me in maintaining wellbeing during the time of COVID 19.

I’ve grouped the resources into three categories. I’ll provide a brief introduction to each resource and why it has been important to me. Feel free to forward to my email any pieces you think might be helpful to others.

 

A. Information that helps me understand and respond responsibly to the physical realities of the virus.

  • Easily understandable and fast moving 8 minute video The Coronavirus Explained and What You Should  Do from Our World in Data. Explains the  virus and its spread. https://youtu.be/BtN-goy9VOY.
  • Clear steps we need to take as a body politic to stop the COVID virus – article from New England Journal of Medicine. https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMe2007263?query=NC
  • Short video on how virus/bacteria spreads from body via droplets, hands, surfaces. From Isreal via Kathy M. https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMe2007263?query=NC
  • That Discomfort You’re Feeling is Grief, Harvard Business Review shedding light on common emotional responses to the pandemic and physical distancing and isolation. https://hbr.org/2020/03/that-discomfort-youre-feeling-is-grief?fbclid=IwAR2avTS7KeJLlI-9Gu-_IMwsdZEFbdmKCg7xHdCegFYC7KdAO6FrPRBiPG0
  • World Health Organization (WHO) article on  Mental Health and Psychological Resilience during the COVID19 Pandemic. Helpful hints on understanding and responding compassionately to heightened emotional needs, of children and others during the pandemic. http://www.euro.who.int/en/health-topics/health-emergencies/coronavirus-covid-19/news/news/2020/3/mental-health-and-psychological-resilience-during-the-covid-19-pandemic.
  • George Goehl on the solace of a contemplative practice in these uncertain times. https://ourfuture.org/20200402/right-now-we-all-need-a-practice
  • Taking a look at teachers’ stress and wellbeing while teaching on- line and often simultaneously schooling their own children at home. https://www.edsurge.com/news/2020-04-07-teachers-are-anxious-and-overwhelmed-they-need-sel-now-more-than-ever
  • This  link will take you to a  great article for parents and students who are schooling from home and might feel stressed about covering all of the CONTENT they feel their schools are requiring.I appreciate the focus on three basic skill sets for staying abreast of learning so that you are prepared to re-enter an educational system at any time : literacy, numeracy and skills that help you get along with yourself and others. https://flip.it/xTGVl_
  • This is a helpful tool for visualizing pandemics over the ages. https://www.visualcapitalist.com/history-of-pandemics-deadliest/

B)  Resources relevant to the Big Picture opportunities – political, social, emotional –  offered by the ‘trigger event’ of the global pandemic.

Many resources below on how to nurturing everyone’s social and emotional wellbeing during these unsettling times.

  • The “Emotion Scientist” Blog – posts  Marc Brackett, author of Permission to Feel and Director of the Yale University Center for Emotional Intelligence.  marc@marcbrackett.com
  • Free webinars for parents and teachers with tips for nurturing social and emotional development during pandemic  from the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning. See CASEL Cares webinars at https://casel.org/covid-resources/
  • Free webinars for teachers and parents on fostering emotional and social development during this period of schooling at home. Social, Emotional, Ethical Learning from the Center for Contemplative Sciences and Compassion-Based Ethics at Emory University. https://seelearning.emory.edu/.
  • EQ tips collected by 6 Seconds for sustaining emotional  and social wellbeing during the pandemic. https://www.6seconds.org/2020/03/10/eq-resources-covid-19/
  • Helpful hints and practices for caring for yourself and your children  in these unsettled times focusing on social and emotional wellbeing. Many of Lorea’s articles and videos are also available in Spanish. Lorea Martinez https://loreamartinez.com/work-with-me/
  • Paul Engler article on how COVID-19 pandemic could be a trigger event toward social justice if it can spawn a movement.  https://www.commondreams.org/views/2020/03/19/coronavirus-historic-trigger-event-and-it-needs-movement-respond.

C) Approaches to understanding the metaphysical implications and impacts of the global pandemic.

  • This is a moving  video to accompany the poem And The People Stayed Home, written by Kitty O’Meara in response to the pandemic.  https://act.350.org/go/193196?t=6&akid=117103%2E418199%2EFbBCMo

 

  • Applying Taoist and Zen Wisdom to COVID 19 by Eric Assadourian
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Many of you have probably heard the Taoist story of “May Be,” about a farmer whose luck swings back and forth between extremes—loses his horse, gets more horses, his son is injured and then avoids conscription—and whose only response is “May be.” It may be my son hurting himself was bad luck, then again, may be not.

The main idea, as Alan Watts notes, is: “The whole process of nature is an integrated process of immense complexity. And it is really impossible to tell whether anything that happens in it is good or bad. Because you never know what will be the consequences of a misfortune. Or you never know what will be the consequences of good fortune….” In other words you shouldn’t overreact to any life event, good or bad.

Now let’s apply all this to our current coronavirus pandemic. I know that I, personally, have been on a rollercoaster of emotion, following the day-by-day developments of this pandemic, and I imagine many of you have been as well. Are there ways to recognize that “May be” should be the response to every new development in this disease’s story? That our affect should stay flat like the farmer’s? It doesn’t feel as easy, but let’s go through a new version of this tale and give it a try (full reflection here):

A monk, after a long day teaching a meditation retreat, stands to stretch before retiring for the night. Before he can leave, one of the students—a news pundit from DC—comes up to him. “Teacher, what do you think about the novel virus that has erupted in China and is spreading quickly around the world? Isn’t it terrible?” “May be,” says the monk.

“But then again, it’s not so deadly and most people barely get sick. That’s lucky,” says the pundit. “May be,” smiles the monk.

“Though that means it spread far and wide before it was detected. That’s bad.” “May be,” replies the monk.

“On the other hand, our reaction has shown that when push comes to shove, we are able to put the public good over growth, individualism, consumer cultural demands—sports, jobs, tourism, even going out to eat. That’s amazing.” The monk sighs, “May be.”

“However, that reaction has crushed global trade, manufacturing, the service sector, and flying—disrupting hundreds of millions of lives—for weeks, months, even longer. That’s frightening.” Shuffling toward the door, the monk mutters, “May be.”

“But this has also reduced traffic fatalities by the thousands, and has reduced co2 emissions and other pollutants, which might mean millions of lives less affected by climate change in the future. That’s fantastic.” Edging closer to the door, the monk yawns, and once again says, “May be.”

“Yet the reduction in aerosol pollution might worsen climate change in the short term. That could be real bad.” Finally to the door, the monk shrugs his shoulders and says, “May be.”

“Then again the slowdown has shown that economic degrowth and a saner, less consumptive culture could actually be possible. Maybe this will prompt communities to rebuild their local economies.” Talking quicker and louder, the pundit continues, “This could even be the moment where we make true progress on climate change and sustainability. That’s good, right? Right, teacher?” “May be,” says the monk, before gently closing the door, leaving the student behind.

Just like with the farmer, the pendulum will keep swinging—though the monk may better screen students before his next meditation retreat.

No one can know what will come next in the development of this pandemic. Maybe the next verse will dwell on the economic and environmental rebound effects that come when advertisers and regulators spark a consumer orgy to catch up for lost growth. Then the verse after that hopefully will be that people, so sick of being prodded to consume, embrace simpler pastimes and realize they miss their public libraries, but not so much the crowded sports stadiums, and a new era of celebrating public goods and sharing starts.

Or perhaps the next verse will be a sustained depression, with millions out of work, which in turn sows political unrest round the world. But that might lead to many community and state level experiments with a post-growth culture and better provisioning of public goods. Only time will tell. The only thing we can control as individuals is our reaction to the developments. By detaching to a degree, and accepting whatever life brings, we can modulate our panic and joy and stay calm even as we navigate these frightening times.

And most importantly, we can apply this lesson to all of life’s developments, not just COVID-19. Climate change will bring tragedy after tragedy—but maybe these will bring good in their wake. Could Australians, after their devastating trial by fire make climate change a national priority? After droughts and floods decimate crops, could farmers lead the way to a sustainable agricultural transition? After cities are swept away by disasters, could people comprehend the threat and push for true changes that will reduce climate emissions and make our localities and countries more resilient? May be.

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