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You don’t get to fix this pandemic by yourself — Day 32 of 40 Days of Listening

Yesterday, April Fool’s Day, I (Mike) had big plans — big hopes for what I’d accomplish.

Actually, I wouldn’t say I necessarily had plans, more so I felt big pressure to get some major work done.

Patti, my wife, has been putting in a lot of hours in hospitals and clinics training nurses for COVID response, and I’ve been home with our kids. I have been squeezing work in at nap times and a lot of evening hours. But Wednesday, she had the day off. I could have a whole work day to get shit done.

I was up early. I meditated. I saw the kids and Patti off for a walk, and then I headed down to the basement to get after it.

I posted our next Zoom gathering (hope to see you Sunday, April 5 for “Walking this Wilderness Together”!). Then I got to the big business I had in mind for the day.

I would write a series of reflections on how engaging the 12 Steps can aid us in journeying well through this pandemic wilderness, and I would also start a series on how the transition from monocultural systems to biodiverse and bioregional ecosystems (or permacultures) can inform our moving from societal, economic and spiritual systems stuck in destructive codependent ways of being into interdependent networks of earth communities rooted in compassion and creativity.

I opened the good old word processor and wrote these two lines:

More than medications and immunizations, more than social distancing and PPEs, the mitigation of this pandemic will be found in spiritual awakening.


COVID-19 has disrupted our normal, and in ways undeniable to even the more privileged of us, it is revealing the illness we’ve been suffering from for centuries — the disease called “not enough.”

and then I just stared at the blinking cursor.

| | | | |

That’s when I felt that familiar pull.
Reach for your phone. Check to see if people are interacting with your last post…
Pull up your browser and check your email again…
You could warm up your coffee and grab some halva…

But, miraculously, something else happened. I didn’t pick up my phone. I didn’t go upstairs for delicious halva. Instead, I was aware of these invitations to escape my discomfort. I took a breath.
And then I sensed I should just pick up my pen and write in my notebook a bit. This is what came out.


Do not reach for your phone
Take up your pen + write.

Do not scroll through the queue
Open the books containing the secret

Do not pine nor sweat for normal’s return
Light the match + sit in the ashes


It is not escape. It’s torture.
We’re Pavlov’s dogs but we never taste the
treat again — only drool
when the bell rings
Anxious. Confused.

Be here • Stay there.
For a moment.

Are you even hungry?

Let the wave pass.
Let the drool drop.

With compassion
+ the same courage
that is the question

Let the salty tears
wash away the sweet stench
of drool

These stories we carry
in our bodies
That drive our actions
without mercy
These stories are not the
only ones.

Awaken listening
Attention to what heals.

Follow the stench to its source
Love the source — accept it
until source gives way to
what is. Darkness.

Beyond the creative-destructive chaos
into the red-black warmth of womb


Touch the cord
Wake from the dream

You have enough
We are enough

Be born again.
Create the world anew.


I didn’t write tomes yesterday. I trust those two series will continue to come out of me over time and in some form or another. I did connect with several Intertwiners during the day, and I’m excited about how we get to continue to grow into compassionate and creative community in times like these. And, I’m excited I picked up my pen instead of my phone. Writing these words was healing for me.

What a gift. Community.

It is the listening ears of friends, their caring words, and the experiences they share, that are helping me stay awake — to not habitually check out (or over-check-in) when any discomfort may present itself. Like the discomfort of the cursor,

or of a deadly and invisible disease disrupting our entire species,

or of the presence of the now crumbling normal’s scarcity story which still infects my thinking and being… “If you are of any value, you better produce it now, and it better be the best. Hurry, you don’t have much time.”

Intertwine is a spiritual community of practice that engages the questions “what does it mean to be human and how do we be it well?”

Part of doing this human thing well is practicing compassion for ourselves. Yes, we can make efforts to be checked in, to adapt and to care and to work for healing. But to do that well, we must be gentle with ourselves.

We must recognize and accept our limitations. You’re not supposed to fix the whole thing yourself. You don’t get to have it all figured out. And we will struggle and make mistakes and learn. We can do that gently, too. And don’t forget, healing rest is an essential part of the cure.

Another part of doing the human thing well is recognizing that we are “always in process.”

The compassion revolution, birthed by

a spiritual awakening of humans who begin earnestly trusting in a power greater than themselves and who engage in a thorough and fearless moral inventory of their collective lives and then do the good work of cleaning it all up through service, gratitude and connection

— or —

the transitioning from imperial monocultural codependency to a biodiverse bioregional network of ecosystems or permacultures informed by mutual kenotic love

does not happen in three months. Not even three years. This is steady “one day at a time” revolution work. Let’s not delay it by persisting in the anxious stories of not enough.


Touch the cord. You have enough. We are enough.

Resting. Healing. Now trusting in enough. Be born again and create the world anew.




We gather around questions not answers. We are made of and moved by story, always in process, committed to compassion, and seeking simplicity together. Based in Northeast Minneapolis.

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Mike Rusert

Mike Rusert

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