Why I am not grieving the Covid-19

I want to tell you a secret. A deep, dark one.

I am not grieving the Coronavirus. In fact, I am relieved.

And it’s not because I’m a sociopath.

It’s because I have already been grieving for a long time. I have been grieving the slow death of the earth, grieving those who fall through the cracks in our unjust system, grieving the animals being continually, mechanistically, endlessly slaughtered, grieving the soul-death of our increasingly two-dimensional, monetarily driven, relationally-deprived world, grieving disappearing wild lands and wild peoples and wild beings, grieving the children starving and dying so that we might indulge, and the list could go on.

I am relieved because humanity has finally found something collective to mourn. We have finally found something concrete enough, personal enough, and threatening enough that we can take it in together. I am relieved because the Coronavirus has provided an empathic bridge where nothing else could. I am relieved, because now each of us can put ourselves in each others’ shoes, can imagine catching and dying from this ailment, when others’ suffering is often so abstract.

At the same time, I am disheartened that it has taken fear of this common enemy to bind us all together.

With bated breath, I wonder, can we use this moment of stillness to lean into the other translucent threads that connect us all? Can we see ourselves in others even when we are not bound to them in fear? Can we take in that this dying is but one face of the great dying, a dying that has been happening and will continue to happen if we do not take and extend this moment’s pause? Can we crack open our hearts enough to grieve even more deeply? To breath in that the suffering of the coronavirus is the suffering of the starving seal pup, of the climate refugee, of the wounded child?

Once we see and feel all this, we must open our peripheries even further. We must note how each choice we make that is unconsciously, hypnotically complicit with the capitalist-industrial machine mind contributes to each link on the chain of suffering. We must acknowledge that we created the coronavirus, a symbolic death we could all contemplate together. If we awaken this deeply, what will we do next? What must each of us do?

I’m not just talking about recycling more, or bringing our bags to the grocery store. No. I’m talking about radically re-visioning and taking stock of our lives. To note the imbalances, to the note the sleep-walking, to note the ambient addictions that allow us to continue with our personal business-as-usual and taking-for-granted. These are not just ours. While we may feel that we are each wrapped, comfortable and lonely, in our personal voids, the truth is more beautiful and horrific: Each and every thing we do and feel touches each and every being. What hurts you, and erases you, erases all beings. Even if you don’t believe it, what if you pretended it were true? What then?

Don’t jump to answer with your mind-as-usual. Instead, let these questions soak you through and through. Let them seep into your bones and breath. Then the answer will come, in its own time. Not as words, but as a becoming, as a wild call that calls through you, one that you cannot help but heed.

Somatic depth psychotherapist, ecopsychology doctoral student, zen practitioner, and smitten new mom. Dedicated to rekindling the wildness within.