Everything will be okay in the end. If it's not okay, it's not the end. –John Lennon
The coronavirus pandemic has shown us how fragile our society is. It has made “collapse” a real and present danger, rather than a far-off threat. It reveals that the power of science is trumped (as it were) by willful blindness and human stupidity.
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.
This interview with Dr. Aimee Maxwell was recorded February 4, 2020, which seems like another era, before the coronavirus had risen to absorb the attention of the entire world.
I went to Aimee for advice about how I could sleep better, because anxiety about climate change (how quaint!) was keeping me awake at night. I asked Aimee: “What are people supposed to do if they stop sleeping, because of impending doom?”
She surprised me by advising that, before dealing with my racing thoughts, I should help my body remember that it is a product of primate evolution. To sleep well, I must restore my body’s harmony with the natural rhythms of the day.