Three seeds that may be of benefit to you – With Love from John Shapiro
After spending the last several days preparing for my future physical needs, shoring up my finances, amplifying the call to social distance and take this pandemic seriously, taking care of my music students by transitioning them to video or saying goodbye for now, starting to grieve and integrate our new reality, and getting ready for an imminent lock-down, all while practicing as much self-care as possible, I’m reaching out to share three things that I feel could be of great benefit to you and your loved ones… Regarding immediate physical needs and current/future emotional and spiritual well-being. But in preface, let me state what I understand the long-term outlook to be.
Hopefully, everyone is catching on that this highly contagious virus, from which we have no immunity, is mostly spread through close contact via respiratory droplets via coughing, sneezing or other ejection from the mouth (ever notice little drops of spit can come out when we sing, talk or huff?) that find their way out of one person’s body and into the mouth, eyes or nose of another. It is thought that only one in five-to-ten infected people will show symptoms, and asymptomatic folks still spread the virus. Hence the social distancing and ever increasing lock-downs. The mortality rate will likely to be found to be around 1% overall but disproportionately affects those with low immune resiliency, like the elderly and those with health issues. Those populations may have mortality rates as high as 20%. The goal is to slow the spread, to help protect vulnerable populations and keep from overwhelming medical facilities and staff, which will cause unnecessary suffering and death, both for those infected and those needing other medical care i.e. FLATTEN THE CURVE. The spread of this virus is likely to go on for many months as it ebbs and flows and flares up again and again in different geographic areas, getting less and less severe as more people gain immunity. Social distancing and periodic lockdowns lasting for weeks or months are likely to be the norm for some time, so we can FLATTEN THE ROLLERCOASTER.
Besides the enormous physical suffering and death that some people will face, the collateral damage of this pandemic will be far and wide. Economic activity will periodically slow to approximate war-time conditions, much worse than any recession including the Great Depression. And the psychological and emotional impact of lock downs, financial stress, and thwarting of plans, dreams and free agency will be deep and long lasting. As dire as that may all sound, I believe there are many things we can do to mitigate suffering, build our connection and compassion, and help and support one another during this extraordinary time. I think we are starting to do our part to triage the most immediate need: FLATTEN THE ROLLERCOASTER. And I want to plant (or amplify) the seed of what I see as one of the next big triage tasks at hand:
CROWD SOURCE FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE
Several people I know have already lost their jobs this week, or will soon, or have seen their incomes significantly reduced. In a matter of weeks or days, they will be out of money to pay for food or rent or other basics necessities. Though it looks like our federal government is set to offer financial assistance in the form of cash in the short term, (in simplistic terms) it can’t print (or borrow from itself) a trillion dollars every couple weeks without devaluing the dollar and causing inflation, negating the impact of the assistance and causing more financial harm. Hopefully, federal, state and local governments and other entities will create patchworks of other measures and assistance to help mitigate the financial impact and the collateral damage therein. Regardless, I believe there is something we can start setting up for ourselves now.
Crowd funding is ubiquitous in this day and age for startups, products and other ventures. We can crowd source financial assistance for those in need and distribute the cost among ourselves. Via money I’ve saved, beyond taking care of my own financial basics, I am in a financial position to make small donations to a number of people for a significant period of time, and I assume there are many like me. For every single one of you on this list, please consider me on your team, in general and for crowd funding. I will be a regular part of your crowd sourced assistance, and I will help any other way I can. I hope in the short term this idea will help reduce some stress for those in precarious financial circumstances in an already incredibly stressful time, and over the course of the pandemic, I hope this is one way we can support one another to get through this with the least amount of suffering possible.
I imagine there are many apps and other ways of crowdsourcing, from Kickstarter-like sites, DIY or directly on Facebook. Hopefully, these companies will do their part and drop all fees. And I’d imagine the best options will emerge. I imagine those in need will do their part to reduce their financial commitments where possible, use whatever financial safety net they have and be transparent about their situation. From talking to one friend today, I imagine asking for assistance will feel extremely vulnerable for some, while also instilling a lot of connection and gratitude for all involved in the process. I also imagine that some folks will use this as a scam. I imagine adding additional specifics is not needed, as best practices are certain to emerge. Hopefully this idea will be beneficial, will catch on widely and be a part of how we navigate this storm together with compassion, care and love. If you feel so compelled, please spread this idea out in the world in whatever way works for you.
GROUP SOURCED MINDFULNESS & CONNECTION
I’ve been a mindfulness practitioner for 26 years and have spent nearly a cumulative year in silent meditation retreat. For me, mindfulness practice has been my cornerstone of working through difficulty, including resolving my chronic depression and helping me grieve the sudden loss of my best friend and likely future spouse 10 years ago. It’s helped me come into more ease and connection with myself and my circumstances, including this current pandemic. Additionally, over the last 10 years, I’ve been studying, facilitating and consulting in group dynamics, conflict resolution and inter-personal communication, with the basic intent of helping groups, teams and businesses work through conflict, get unstuck and stay relationally healthy.
I stopped practicing with my former traditional teacher-student-modeled mindfulness group a few years ago, and I became increasingly interested in combining mindfulness and interpersonal connection-related practices sourced from and led by a group that employees healthy group norms. Though I was planning on seeding this idea later this year, priorities have changed. I believe this group-led mindfulness model could be very beneficial to some folks as we co-create meetings that help us skillfully face and process the situation we are all in. If you are curious about this, I encourage you to read more at the website I just created. Here are the initial Zoom meeting times. You are invited to attend any or all.
- Sunday, March 22 @ 4pm MST
- Tuesday, March 24 @ 12pm MST
- Friday, March 27 @ 6:30pm MST
Meetings are: Free and open to all. No experience necessary. Invite whomever you’d like. Like physical exercise, content is universal, non-religious and compatible with and not in contrast to nearly all belief systems and religious views.
Further details about about attending the meeting, what to expect and everything else you need is at: https://groupmindful.org/ And if you have any questions, you can also contact me directly.
Firstly, and most importantly, if you’d like any one-to-one support, including someone to talk to, someone to listen or someone to connect with, drop me a line, and we’ll make that happen. I’d be honored and humbled by your request.
Secondly, in this time of great upheaval and financial distress for many, I feel highly sensitive about the perception that my underlying motivation is to make a profit for myself. While I will need to make a full income in the future, I want to make you aware of one of my offerings that may be beneficial to you in this difficult time. The cost of this offering has long since been pay-what-you’d-like, or as I call it ‘payment by intuitive offering’, and I want to underline that especially in these times, we have the option of working together at no cost to you.
I work with folks to co-create experiences that help them get unstuck, make difficult transitions and move out of persistent patterns via one-to-one coaching. I call it Catalyst Coaching. Folks often tell me our work together has been significantly more effective than anything they’ve done in the coaching, therapy, workshop and personal growth realms. Historically for most, via working with deep underlying patterns, our work centers around transitioning from a stuck career/job/life situation into what is much more authentic and alive for them, but because we are now all in immense transition, which also tends to bring out our deep patterns, getting this type of one-to-one support may be timely and beneficial for you, especially if you are working with a lot of uncertainty or difficulty in your particular situation.
A couple notes about coaching: Though it often has therapeutic impacts, coaching is not therapy; there are several key differences which I can explain if you’re interested. Usually only a handful of two-hour sessions are needed to complete our work together. We meet via Zoom. If you are curious or interested, let’s set up some pre-coaching time to connect to see if we are a good match to work with one another, as sometimes this work may not work well for you at this time. You can find more info on my website: https://evolvingup.com/ (Please excuse how massively out of date it is; I’ve been prioritizing things one day at a time.)
We are all digesting a lot. I’ve just added more for you to consider, and I will be sending more in the coming days and weeks about things I believe are of service to us all: other offerings in the personal evolution realms, expanding my music/creativity offerings online (including a group online singing, pay-what-you-can program), and probably a bit about my own process. So I will wind up here and say:
May we be free of any distress that arises in these difficult times. May we live with ease and happiness.