Earth Day during the Covid-19 Pandemic
Updated: May 3, 2020
One thing that has become abundantly obvious during the Covid-19 pandemic: humans are completely uncomfortable with not knowing. The fact that the impact of the virus evolves and changes day to day is creating such emotion for so many. When the modeling of the number of infected or deaths doesn’t pan out to be accurate, people respond with tremendous frustration, confusion, and even anger and protests.
We seem to want everything in a nice neat box with a label on it that states clearly what to expect. Or a book we can read that gives us ALL the answers. Or a website we can go to that tells us everything we need to know.
We have become so accustomed to having all we need to know at our fingertips, that the process of exploration and critical thinking has become foreign to us.
This mindset that everything is fixed and certain, has not helped us cope with the pandemic. It’s completely altered what we thought was our reality; that as humans we should know and understand everything. Our human egotistical ways are preventing us from accepting the fact that in reality, there is a ton of stuff we don't know. Sure, we’ve made amazing and unbelievable discoveries, due to the amazing scientists and scientific methods that help us learn along the way, but this also evolves all the time. It's a process, and frankly there may be some things we never know all the answers to. Learning how to become ok with this will help us cope when we get hit with things like natural disasters and pandemics.
A few months ago, I read a book that has been on my “to read” list for decades. It’s a book I have had since my early teens, and just never took the time to make it the priority. For some reason the time seemed right to dig in, and I read The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff. The book is essentially an explanation of Taosim from the point of view of Winnie the Pooh (and the other Pooh Corner characters from the series written by A.A. Milne). I was so taken by this book. I discovered so many messages in it that were meaningful and incredibly relevant. There are little sticky flag markers throughout my copy now, as I made sure to put one on every page that had something that hit home.
There is one particular concept that not a day goes by that I don’t think about. It’s the idea that humans are best served by following the wisdom of the elements of nature, particularly that of Water. Water follows the path of least resistance. If you observe a stream, you will likely see rocks and branches in the stream. The water just flows around them. No matter how big the rock, the water just finds it’s way around it. This is a beautiful metaphor for dealing with obstacles that find their way in our human paths. Rather than letting these large rocks paralyze us, finding a way to navigate around them is what will keep us moving forward.
The image that I have created in my mind is visualizing being on a hike. I unexpectedly come upon a large boulder on the path. I have 3 choices: 1) walk around it; 2) try to move it out of my way; 3) scream and yell at it to move out of my way. Which one do you think makes most sense? I am going to assume you are wise enough to know the best answer. While this may seem silly or obvious, in reality, many of us seem to take option 2 or 3 when obstacles arise. We resist the path that actually would be the easiest. Our human ego gets particularly triggered when it thinks we are being threatened by something unknown.
How dare this boulder show up in my path! No one told me this boulder was going to show up today! See how ridiculous this is? Yet this seems to be our expectation. That everything should be predictable and packaged up in box with a bow. During this week of Earth Day celebrations, while we are in the middle of a global pandemic, we would be well served to take a few cues from Nature, because after all is said and done, humans are just one cog in this great wheel. We are not all knowing, yet we can continue to explore and observe, adapt and grow, expand and blossom. But patience and humility is a necessary aspect of expansion; if you think you know all there is to know, you stop exploring, and just scream at what gets in your way.
Have a healthy & mindful week! Peace, Amy