Body Care
Feeling for the ground beneath our feet
March 3, 2020

We are rocking in our body boats as we adapt to the realities (and unrealities) of COVID-19.

In counterpoint, the natural world around us breaths more freely when we humans stop skittering about. Canals in Venice flow clear; the sky over Hunan clears; airplane and car noise decreases.

Our hearts rush to those who are ill, who may be dying, who have lost family members and friends, and who are caring for the sick. Our thoughts fly to all who are afraid for our loved ones and for ourselves.

I can become agitated when I look at the spreading circles of contagion on the map.

Then I remember what helps me find the ground.

I offer these words adapted from a summary page near the end of the book in the chance that, today, they may also be of comfort to you.

Imagine this—

When you try to get out of a rocking boat and onto solid ground, your hands reach for nearby sturdy branches, your feet try to step on solid stones.

When the world is flailing, the solid actions, often, are these . . .

First, stop. (Really. Just stop.)

Then, survey the situation around you.

Next, breathe.

When you move, practice following short cycles of care.

Pause often to listen.

Settle into your body and your surrounding watershed.

Feel whatever is to be felt.

Grieve; amend; turn around.

Connect in the ways that are possible and safe.

Value, with humility, both nature and science.

Witness the suffering and efforts of others.

Retell only what the Earth and careful speakers say.

Walk alone in nature if you can.

Nourish those who depend on you.

Care for the water and living beings nearest you.

Put seeds into the soil if possible; explore what is near.


Remember that miracles and mystery may arise.

Live until death.

Leave gently when the time arrives.

May you be well, friends. May we, together, find life-sustaining ways forward.

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