Friends who are shamans and mystics call information they get “downloads” or “transmissions.” 

I don’t have a fancy name for what I get but I’ve gotten it almost my entire life. Even before I could differentiate between the seen and unseen. Or knew anything about the other world.

I am almost always the first (or among the first) in my circles to recognize what’s going on. I call it intuition, but it’s more than that.  Loud, strong, powerful and insistent. I’m forced to listen and then to share. I have no choice.

Early in this pandemic I was first to call and ask about the wisdom of holding several events I’d signed up for. No one else had called yet. That’s because  I already knew it was going to get worse and that social distancing and social isolation were necessary even -without knowing the public health terms.  I didn’t have a name for flattening the curve or breaking the chain of transmission, either, but that was my download, my message from the unseen. And boy, was it insistent.

But I knew it too early. Others were not there yet and could not hear it. Would not hear it. My queries and suggestions fell on deaf ears. Many stubbornly stuck to “business as usual.”

Those of us who are observers see things during a time of trouble that we might not ordinarily notice. Sometimes these observations can never be unseen and it changes how we view situations (and even people) forevermore.

The Good

This national emergency provides an opportunity for people who feel a strong obligation to their fellow man/woman to step up. To show they believe they are their brother’s keeper.

A local restaurateur’s offer of free pizza delivered to anyone in their delivery area 70 or above and in quarantine brought me to tears. I know him and he is a really good guy – this just cemented it. “Soon as this is over we’re going to have a meal there,” Michael said. “We’ll be supporting him in a big way from now on.” Yes. (It helps that he loves their meatball sandwiches!)

Others offered supplies to those who couldn’t find any and had babies or little children to care for.  Or shared information on which shops were still stocked with necessaries. Or how to…whatever.  I loved seeing this. But among women I know, I expected to see more.  Broadly, I didn’t see anything. These aren’t unfeeling people, either.

Early on I was lucky enough to get in a social media group initiated to share all sorts of information in a calm and reasoned way. Articles. Research. Feelings. Suggestions. These were people who, like me, got it earlier rather than later and wanted a cool, analytical approach to sharing info. Smart women. Knowledgeable. Logical. This group has been my inspiration and my sanity.

The Bad

Maybe I should call this “the clueless” because for the life of me I can not figure out why so many feel they can do business as usual:

The leader of an out-of-the-country retreat who did not cancel, despite travel bans making clear that NOT traveling was necessary to flatten the transmission curve. Once everyone arrived, a travel ban was initiated. Some (but not all) turned around to rush home before flight cancellations. Others chose to stay for the unknown “indefinite” period of the travel ban. It could be a month, who knows. More even.

I consider the retreat leader’s decision to not cancel as the pandemic spread completely irresponsible. I get that they didn’t want to lose money. But I also get that they didn’t care about the greater good. I was planning to go on retreat with them in the next year or two, but not any more– I can never un-see this. I do not trust their judgment.

I know of other people who continued to travel, even those in high risk groups. Many go to the gym, still, too cool to be prudent. Seriously? Could there be a bigger hotbed of bacteria?

Failure to cancel any get-together of seniors is just plain rash and goes against all public health advice.

I know some very much at risk who kept putting themselves in harm’s way until everything got cancelled in some illogical sense of “fierce independence.”  More like “lethal independence.” And failure to understand their role in and the importance of breaking the transmission chain.

And then there are the events and meetings that continued against all good judgment until the Bay area was put on mandatory lock-down. Some are very cavalier about this situation, considering social isolation and distancing an “over-reaction.”  I am absolutely flummoxed, given the clear message by public health officials.

My eyebrows practically fly off my face when I read what people I once respected consider “heartbreaking:”  Closures that inconvenience them. Not closures that put small businesses in dire straits, but closures that mean they don’t get to do what they usually do. That has been well and truly shocking.  I have been so naive.

The stubbornness of people not participating in efforts to slow and finally stop this pandemic? I can never un-see any of this.

The Ugly

I saw a tweet by a Bernie supporter suggesting those with Covid19 breathe on a Boomer so they would get it and die.

Price gouging by those who bought huge quantities and hiked prices. Reprehensible.

And then there’s the guy in the Oval who is not inspiring the nation or even making a lot of sense. His followers can’t get enough of him. Defies logic.

The big rock turned over in 2016  exposed our country for the corrupt and ugly place it can be. Not everyone is like this, but of everything that’s happened since then, this new view (for me) has been shocking. The pandemic shows us more of the same.

The Bottom Line

This morning (as I wrote this) I woke with the message that how people behave is a function of how closely they feel connected to their fellow man/woman.

Those who are going about business as usual may say the right words about being their brother’s keeper, but really, their connection to others is not strong. Their sense of responsibility to others is not a driving force in their lives. Even if they think they are socialists.  (see Bernie supporter tweet, above)

Some of it is emotional intelligence, too, that ability to be judicious and empathetic.  Many people go through their whole lives not looking beyond their own small circle of concern.

Back in the 80s I first heard the now famous Chinese curse, “May you live in interesting times.”

And here we are.

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