Two-thirds of 2020 have already gone, just like that in the midst of a global pandemic and Americans screaming out social injustices. The world is still in chaos, the fundamentals of humanity are still threatened, and my heart along with my body are trying to find a way to settle in continuous waves of apprehension and unease from time to time. More and more, riding this emotional roller coster has become a challenge for lots of people on a daily basis, yet I have found a lifeline in new ways of thinking and living to help me carry on. It was not easy: it challenged me both mentally and physically, pushing me out of my comfort zone, but I have found a new world outside in which I am comfortable being uncomfortable.
Here are three things I have learned and helped refresh my mind, body, and spirit.
Our Mother Earth has been abused by a hundred years of modern agriculture and technology, and now it is dying….
Back in early April, I listened to Dr. Zach Bush talk about the concept that we, as a human species, are in the hospice stage of humanity due to careless industrial development damaging every aspect of our lives for the past hundred years. In the name of convenience and economic growth, this planet, which we share with tens of thousands of other species, has been so abused that we are in the middle of the Sixth Mass Extinction. While I am deeply saddened by this fact, I understand, as a therapist working with hospice patients for over ten years, how important it is to cherish what we have left and take care of our Mother Earth as much as we can. One of the major concerns in this reality is the destruction of soil. Humans have destroyed over 90% of soils around the earth with heavily-loaded toxic chemicals in the form of pesticides and fertilizers. That was a shocking revelation! I felt urged to do something: Dr. Bush suggested we start from our own backyards, so I have stopped using herbicide and pesticides in my lawn care, started planting a small urban garden, continued (yes, I have done this for quite a few years!) to make compost from my plant-based kitchen wastes….. among other things. The goal is to try my best to revive the soil one square at a time.
2. The food industry and the diets that we are used to are making us sick…..
Related to the abuse of soil, the coronavirus pandemic in the US has revealed this harsh reality: the food industry and readily-accessible diets of processed food are actually making us sick. After six months of an out-of-control pandemic, it is clear that people with pre-existing medical conditions are hit the hardest. This makes me wonder, why are there so many people with “pre-existing conditions,” such as cardiovascular problems and diabetes, and are these related to what we have been consuming?! The answer is absolutely “YES.” You are what you eat! It is that simple. Besides the processed food with high fat, high sugar, and all the additives, we humans have been ailing over generations because of how we are growing our produce and farming our animals now. It’s time we seriously consider what and how we are going to feed our bodies so that we don’t damage our bodies any further.
3. We are all connected and interdependent on each other. Be kind and be respectful.
I attended an online anatomy course called “Integral Anatomy", in which the instructor utilized a cadaver to show us how human body is working harmoniously within and outside itself. Moreover, the philosopher-like instructor, who has been teaching this course for over 25 years and has dissected more than 450 cadavers, described this course as “a way of seeing our bodies, and our world, as a continuous fabric, as a beautiful whole, expressed through the nuances of differences that have no real power to separate us.” It was such an eye-opening opportunity to learn about the human body in this fashion. I saw different layers of muscles, organs, bones, nerve and lymph systems…. Through the connective tissues, all become one. This is also true outside the human body. We are all connected together, interwoven through a variety of networks and interactions with each other. Our world needs love rather than hate; our world needs respect rather than disdain.
COVID19 is certainly no friend. It has revealed our worsening living conditions and deteriorating humanity in the human history; it has exposed how our Mother Earth, who we have been taking for granted all this time, has become truly vulnerable unless we change our behaviors. There is no joking; there is no “going back to normal.” Instead, we need to cultivate a new normal, a magnificent normal, which will lead us, our children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren, and every generation after to sustainable and better lives. We have to change our mentality and our behaviors toward not only our human brothers and sisters, but toward all the sentient beings we share our planet with. COVID19 is no friend, yet it certainly has been a good teacher.