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.
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,
as long as we all shall live.
by Lynn Ungar
To touch your heart
I find this TED talk by the inspirational composer and conductor Eric Whitacre talking about the power of singing together, and how his virtual choirs came into being enormously uplifting. I love Eric's work and chose this talk for these times because it shows people from all over the world creating something so beautiful and being part of something incredibly powerful together whilst in their own homes, never meeting each other in person. Our human spirit, our creativity and our capacity to reach across space and time to each other does not have to be hampered by self isolation or social distancing.
Click on the picture above to watch the video.
If you liked the music you heard some of on the video here are links to the full versions.
If the earth
Just for now the earth is getting a little respite from the damage we keep inflicting. Perhaps as we process the shock of what has happened which is touching the whole world, we have the opportunity to grow a different perspective, a different view of how interrelated we all are and crucially, how cherishing of our planet we need to be. I love this anonymous poem for the sheer imagination of a different perspective.
the earth were only a
few feet in diameter, floating a
few feet above a field somewhere,
people would come from everywhere to
marvel at it. People would walk around it
marveling at its big pools of water, its little
pools and the water flowing between the pools.
People would marvel at the bumps on it, and the
holes in it, and they would marvel at the very thin
layer of gas surrounding it and the water suspended in
the gas. The people would marvel at all the creatures
walking around the surface of the ball, and in the water.
The people would declare it precious because it was the
only one and they would protect it so that it would not
be hurt. The ball would be the greatest wonder
known, and people would come to behold it, to be
healed, to gain knowledge, to know beauty and
wonder how it could be. People would love it,
and defend it with their lives, because they
would some how know that their lives,
their own roundness, could be nothing
without it. If the earth were
only a few feet in
d i a m e t e r.
Hope is a powerful weapon.
There is no one more qualified to teach us how to survive isolation than Nelson Mandela who spent 27 years incarcerated mostly in solitary confinement, in a prison cell on Robben Island.
Click on Mr Mandela's picture above to go to the New York times website where there is an article and video of political prisoners reading extracts from his inspirational letters.
This one from 1979 particularly resonates with me since so much of our contact with each other is now in texts and emails and through various online group communications. I have a sense of old and new friends from my local community , and all over the world sharing ideas, experiences, and information , their care, humour, generosity and compassion transformiming in a most welcome way my sense of isolation.
"Throughout the many years of incarceration numerous messages of good wishes and hope sent by people from different walks of life, have cut through massive iron doors and grim stone walls, bringing into the cell the splendor and warmth of springtime. No two messages are ever the same and each one has struck a special note… Frankly, there are moments, like now, when I feel as if the whole world, or at least the greater part of it, has been squeezed into my tiny cell. I have comparatively more time to think and dream; obsessed with a sense of involvement and with far more friends than ever."