A selection of exercises, rituals, and ways of preparing you can use to reconnect with your agency and ground yourself as we face the long-term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The following text draws from our lived experiences of struggle, of growth and of loss. It is informed by the things we have learned from the practice of Somatic Experiencing as well as through doing end-of-life care as death doulas, as nurses, and as human beings loving people in a hard world. This writing also springs from seeing the need for us to acknowledge and face our fears on an individual level in order to ensure that we can build the capacity to trust each other in this new uncertain context. No one knows how to contain this pandemic—and it is more evident than ever that we cannot trust the state. Tending to our mental health can increase our capability to act together.
We find ourselves in a new era in which we must figure out together how to navigate life in the midst of a worldwide pandemic. All of us are experiencing collective trauma as the wave of COVID-19 moves across the world, tearing apart the basic fabric of society. Other living things sigh a deep breath as capitalism falters in this country. This historical moment has opened up the opportunity for new pathways towards connection and mutual aid in both social and economic aspects of our daily lives as we continue to experience the weirdness of physical distancing and the ambiguous loss of what we have known as day-to-day life.
It is a worldwide collective human experience to be moving in and out of moments of stress and uncertainty as we try to navigate life with this virus. At the same time, this pandemic is not a unique event; it is part of the new normal in this global economy. Viruses will continue to spread as long as we go on upsetting the ecological balance of the planet. Yet what we have been through so far could help us to figure out how to build more of the society we want together as we move into the future. While this may feel difficult, it’s important to remember that we do have agency—together, we can build a meaningful life in the rubble of the parts that we must leave behind.
This text is a small effort to help hold each other up in the process of this collective readjustment as we continue to fight in pursuit of the dreams we have for the world. We offer a look at the importance of moving through the many aspects of grief with some suggestions as to how we can prepare for the unknown ahead. We provide several somatic exercises aimed at facilitating our ability to ground ourselves in uncertain futures while also finding creative ways to get connection and expand the imagination in spite of the need for increased physical distancing.