This video essay explores making art and the resurfacing of old loves as we connect with each other and ourselves through pandemic isolation. It references the *National Geographic* article "The pandemic is giving people vivid, unusual dreams. Here’s why." by Rebecca Renner published on 4/15/2020 on NationalGeographic dot com.
Exploring the importance of reflecting on who we are before we decide what normal we want, and also some of my own reflections on questions vs. answers in my creative process.
I'm seeing, and reposting, a lot of people's conviction that this pandemic presents us with an opportunity to reconsider normal. Many people are rightly calling for us to assess our moral, economic, and political systems as this COVID-19 plague exposes where we have failed each other and ourselves.
But I'm not seeing a whole lot of suggestions for what the new normal might look like.
Knowing that the normal we have does not work - this is like knowing we need to build a bridge to get across tough landscape. We can know all day long, but without planning, preparing, and building, knowledge won't be enough to get us to the other side.
So. I invite us all to consider: What could we change? We may think of this at any scale and be doing good. It can be: What can I change in myself so that I live more consistently with what I feel is my purpose? Or: What can we change as a household to live in a way that more deeply appreciates what we have and builds on what's important to our family? Or: What collective change would fill the gaps we've seen in our neighborhood, town, state, nation?
We don't have to think of everything at once. We don't have to all work at all scales. And we'll have some ideas that, in the long term, we may let go or replace with others. But if we just know that we need a new normal, and do nothing to prepare one, we will emerge into a more broken version of our old normal, and walk around dissatisfied and disillusioned.
One change that makes sense to me in this moment is an annual Week of Remembrance to keep us connected to all we're learning now about valuing each other, about healing the damage we've done to the planet. It doesn't solve everything. In order for it to work, we'd need to build stronger protections against domestic violence, against the real effects of poverty, against racism. I don't have fixes for all of those things, but if each of us takes the time to start envisioning the specifics of our new normal, perhaps by the time we emerge from this sickness, those solutions, or their beginnings, will emerge, too.
Think on them. Write them out. Be specific.
An Annual Week of Remembrance
In the quiet, we resign ourselves to our houses. We park the cars, shut down the factories, and walk inside for our Week of Remembrance.
In this week, we do not drive to restaurants. We do not manufacture toys or go to salons or fight legal battles.
We remember what we lost, and what we gained. We play board games and binge Netflix with our children, fully aware of how fragile they are, how lucky we are to have them, and they to have us. We mourn our dead - those who passed alone, those we could not gather to remember for fear we'd be struck down next. We take walks and cry and have happy hours with friends on our computer monitors.
We let the earth rest.
We give her a week of clear skies, and she gives us views of the Himalayas, hordes of sea turtle eggs on the beach.
We breathe and let breathe, knowing what a gift it is to have lungs that open and to fill them with air that's safe. We thank our Gods and hold them to account, and humble ourselves, and hold ourselves to account. We rest. We remember. We look the heaviness, the weariness in the face, and let it melt under a wizened sun.
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