As the site manager for the Georgetown Tiny-House Village in Seattle, Andrew Constantino is responsible for the welfare of 65 homeless people – a tough job in normal times. Now, the pandemic has shut down many of the services that homeless people rely on for their survival.
Visitors are not allowed into the village, for fear that they will bring the COVID disease into a population of vulnerable people. Housing placements have stopped. Villagers who had jobs have been laid off. People who were building momentum in their lives have had the rug pulled out from under them.
Andrew is not discouraged. The agency that manages the village – the Low Income Housing Institute, or LIHI – is stepping up to the challenge, he says: “I’m encouraged that people at the villages are not forgotten about. There is actual attention and concern for their wellbeing.” The surrounding neighborhood is overwhelmingly encouraging, as well, bringing food, propane for cooking, and other resources.
Andrew thinks the pandemic has a lesson for everyone in society:
“You’re only going to be as protected as the people who are most vulnerable. If you just allow something like a pandemic to fester and to run through the poorest members of society, eventually the tide will rise and reach you, too. We should look at a lot of social issues the same way: It affects us all!”
You can hear my previous interview with Andrew – “How To Live in the Rubble of Empire” – here.
Alexandra Grace Derwen (aka Alexandra Wilson) was on pilgrimage in Spain when the coronavirus pandemic broke out. She recounts on her Facebook page her harrowing journey out of Spain back to the U.K. – a journey on buses and trains, where she caught the coronavirus disease.
She was then seriously ill for 5 days, during which, she says, “I felt it was a distinct possibility that I was going to die.”
In her professional life, Alexandra is a “death doula” helping people prepare for death, and helping those left behind, to grieve. She is also a prophetess and a seer. You can read her thoughts about death in western culture in this remarkable paper, and you can listen to her two previous interviews with me (Part 1, Part 2).
Her encounter with the coronavirus yielded insights, which she is only beginning to be able to articulate:
“In the unseen realms, the way is becoming clearer. … We have not attended, for several centuries, to the unseen space, the in-between space – the Bardo, as the Buddhists call it – and that has been toxically plugged for a long time. It felt to me that many new doors and windows were opening. There was a lot more space in the unseen realms. A great lightness came upon me; an almost ‘amniotic’ feeling of floating, and a sense of enormous potential.”
Listen to her report of her conversation with the virus.
Peter Wicks knows grief. He lost his beloved wife to cancer, which upended his world. Then, he discovered Deep Adaptation, where people come together to grieve the loss of the future we thought we had.
Now, in the face of global cataclysm, Peter contemplates how grief leads to compassion. In this interview, Peter combines a sharp intellect, deep feelings, and a philosophical outlook to map a course toward love and compassion, even in the face of unimaginable loss.
Peter worked on environmental policy for the European Union for 16 years. He serves as a moderator for the Positive Deep Adaptation Facebook group.