PeerSpirit Newsletter – The Owl and the Tree
March 2020


Move but Not as Fear Moves You

by Christina Baldwin and Ann Linnea

Keep walking, though there’s no place to get to.
Don’t try to see through the distances.
That’s not for human beings.
Move within, but don’t move the way fear makes you move.
Today, like every other day, we wake up empty and frightened.
Don’t open the door to the study and begin reading.
Take down a musical instrument.
Let the beauty we love be what we do.
There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.

Dear Friends,

The world as it was in January, the stock market as it was in February, is gone. The sun rises and traverses over our changed days and sets again. Stars, moon, seasons: things we continue to count on. And meanwhile, so many other things we were counting on are in huge flux. The world spins us forwards, not backwards, no matter how much politicians and financial experts try to restore what was. And in this collapse is our heartfelt opportunity as one people to live out every preparation, both conscious and unconscious, that has brought us here. Keep walking, though there’s no place to get to.

It is time to move, but not the way fear makes us move.
 It is time to live all those phrases we have been speaking to one another in a thousand conversations: “We were born for these times.” “We are preparing for an evolutionary shift we can’t yet see.” “There are so many children coming in these days that seem like old souls.” “I know I have a purpose residing under my busyness.”  “There is something waiting in me to offer itself, looking for the moment of readiness.” Well, here that moment is. And we are in an individual, collective, global learning curve of magnificent and unimaginable scope.

Don’t try to see through the distances. That’s not for human beings. Every day the situation morphs and changes. The tiniest living organism on earth – a virus – is bringing us back to the ultimate truth that we are all in this together. The “catastrophe,” is not space alien invasion, an asteroid crash, exploding volcanoes, or expanded warzones, but the nearly invisible, infinitesimally small COVID-19.

How can this be? How did such a microscopic thing escape the control of our sophisticated electronics, medical equipment, and vaccinations – and bring societies, medical systems, and markets to their knees? Unlike bacteria which are single cells, viruses are much smaller and replicate by entering healthy cells and multiplying at astronomical rates. We ordinary folks don’t need to understand much more than that – it is enough for us to try and understand what to do to protect ourselves and loved ones during this international pandemic.

Don’t open the door to the study and begin reading. Spend your time sending love and reassurance in every safe way you can, to friends and family, and out into the social media networks, and beyond that standing on the porch blessing unknown people around the world. In the absence of so much face-to-face connection, this is the moment to let the personal aspects of our technologies shine: get off the newsfeed and text out emojis of love and support. In the absence of touch: let’s talk, text, video conference, set up chat rooms, share photos and stories. Let’s flood these channels with good news, stories and images of people behaving honorably, singing off balconies, leaving a $20 bill under a neighbor’s doormat, delivering groceries to the vulnerable. Our creativity in sustaining community flourishes in these times: we can excite one another’s imagination toward good. So that when we wake up empty and frightened the first thing we see is how we are held and what we are learning.

And finally, let the beauty we love be what we do.  Now is when we most need to model our best behavior. Now is when we get to prove ourselves as a species in learning mode, in remembering mode, in waking mode. Every single person on all seven continents of the world is being asked to dramatically change our normal patterns of activity to quell the spread of this contagion and to discover our ways forward. The world we re-enter as the quarantines are lifted is not the world we left. This pandemic gives us the opportunity to  work together in ways completely unparalleled in modern history.

Twenty years ago, Margaret Wheatley, in her work with The Circle Way, defined leadership as “Anyone willing to help at this time.” So, each of us has an opportunity to step into leadership that fits our lives and addresses the needs surrounding us.

Our 15-year-old grandson, with weeks of no school scheduled, is volunteering extra shifts at the local animal shelter.

Ann’s mother is in lockdown in a nursing home in Minnesota, as is true for all elders in care in the U.S. at this time. Ann and her three sisters are calling her twice a day to help her understand what is happening in the broader world. Who do you know who could use a daily check-in?

Our community choir leaders are holding rehearsals online – there are some kinks, but it is providing much needed connection and the uplifting beauty of music.

Local bank, grocery store clerks, and pharmacists are being repeatedly thanked for coming to work at this time.

Volunteerism for the local Meals on Wheels is way up. Food bank shelves and children’s lunch programs are functioning. Local churches are developing phone trees to make sure everyone is receiving some kind of outside connection. The neighborhood and water associations are acting as immediate support networks. What can you organize where you are? What efforts can you join? We are all needed at this time!

There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground. Let’s do that – love the ground we stand on. May we each live safely through this time of upheaval. May we learn. May we discover what we really need, and what we really don’t need, and may we step forth in the fresh air of aftermath and make the world we dream into possibility.