Pandemic

Lynn Ungar

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Awakin Feature

What if you thought of it
as the Jews consider the Sabbath --
the most sacred of times?
Cease from travel.
Cease from buying and selling.
Give up, just for now,
on trying to make the world
different than it is.
Sing. Pray. Touch only those
to whom you commit your life.
Center down.

And when your body has become still,
reach out with your heart.
Know that we are connected
in ways that are terrifying and beautiful.
(You could hardly deny it now.)
Know that our lives
are in one another’s hands.
(Surely, that has come clear.)
Do not reach out your hands.
Reach out your heart.
Reach out your words.
Reach out all the tendrils
of compassion that move, invisibly,
where we cannot touch.

Promise this world your love--
for better or for worse,
in sickness and in health,
so long as we all shall live.

Lynn Ungar is a poet, and wrote this poem on March 11, 2020, in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Seed questions for reflection: How do you relate to the invitation of this poem to view this as a sacred time? As structures around you are changing quite drastically, what openings of gratitude do you feel? What helps you move beyond fear and root in the warmth of your heart?

Add Your Reflection:

24 Previous Reflections:

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    On Apr 22, 2020 jerard wrote:

    lets take this time to realize what is really important in life...
    see the good side beyond fear and anxiety...
    where it is said then that do not worry much about tomorrow..because tomorrow will worry itself

    That handed these all to our God, for He knows how to heal us.

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    On Mar 31, 2020 Rachel Goddard wrote:
    What a beautiful poem
    that's how I felt before the lockdown
    as time passes I seem to go deeper in to a depression.
    v odd as I've been a spiritual woman all my life.

    thank you
    this is what my friends do for me now
    x

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    On Mar 27, 2020 Peter N Stone wrote:
    Beautiful.

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    On Mar 26, 2020 Mary wrote:
    This hasreally touched my heart. I feel a different energy. Although there is fear and anxiety I have felt a calm from disconnecting from a lot that takes energy. I wish to take the sacredness of the new energy I feel and connect to the healing I happening in me and takethis forward in the pandemic and in my ongoing human adventure. I was unwell but I am slowly recovering.

    1 reply: Rachel | Post Your Reply
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    On Mar 24, 2020 Charles wrote:
    Beace Be Still!

    Inspired my your "Pandemic" poem. Asking for permission to circulate it in my network.

    See you tomorrow at 6:30 West Coast time.

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    On Mar 23, 2020 Jenny wrote:
    A forced opportunity to be still. To focus on what is real. To let nature breathe and breathe with it.

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    On Mar 22, 2020 Shelley Friedman wrote:
    This speaks directly to my soul. I am most uplifted by this poem.

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    On Mar 22, 2020 E Bird wrote:
    This is a truly beautiful poem, it’s given me personally a moment to be still just to stop and listen to the words. Thank you for that.

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    On Mar 18, 2020 Peter Wasowski wrote:
    Yesterday I read a beautiful quote by Joe Dispenzathat I am sharing below:
    " We have to begin to do what's unnatural - that is, to give in the midst of crisis, when everyone is feeling lack and poverty; to love when everyone is angry and judging others; to demonstrate courage and peace when everyone else is in fear; to show kindness when others are displaying hostility and aggression; to surrender to possibility when the rest of the world is aggressively pushing to be first, trying to control outcomes, and fiercely competing in an endless drive to get to the top; to knowingly smile in the face of adversity; and to cultivate the feeling of wholeness when we're diagnosed as sick."

    1 reply: D | Post Your Reply
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    On Mar 18, 2020 Tracy wrote:
    Reflect on what we have and just keep on praying that everyone keeps calm and just do what they are meant to do......

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    On Mar 18, 2020 Kiran Pandya wrote:
    It's a call from within to sit back , listen to ones' inner voice, and reflect. We feel thankful for soulful moments.. fear goes away when you touch inner immortality.. and you wake up as more better and stronger human being, ready to help out, full of courage and compassion!!

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    On Mar 17, 2020 allan G brookstone wrote:
    Overly romantic, and not particularly inspiring poetry. The "pandemic" is propaganda to get us "with the program" , which is "sustainability" ( whatever that is) and to become more little automatons, easily controlled and living in growingly restrictive spaces , like, for example, the virtual martial law where we find ourselves . See arthur furstenburg, Invisible Rainbow to find out what Rudolph Steiner would have said about this latest "pandemic." Or listen to ANYTHING James Corbett says at corbettreports.com.

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    On Mar 17, 2020 RAJESH C OZA wrote:
    Thank you for sharing these words of poetry. Words are keepsakes, keeping us close in good times and distressing ones. Here are words of encouragement I recently shared with clinicians who care for my family: "Thank you for the outstanding care you always provide to our family. During this time of the coronavirus pandemic, I'd like to also thank you for heroically being of service to all of your patients. Please take care of yourself and your loved ones." And here are words from a different era that my wife, Mangla, shared with me earlier this week: “And the people stayed home. And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and grew gardens full of fresh food, and learned new ways of being, and were still. And listened more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. Some met their shadows. And the people began to think differently. And the people healed. And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous,... [View Full Comment] Thank you for sharing these words of poetry. Words are keepsakes, keeping us close in good times and distressing ones.

    Here are words of encouragement I recently shared with clinicians who care for my family: "Thank you for the outstanding care you always provide to our family. During this time of the coronavirus pandemic, I'd like to also thank you for heroically being of service to all of your patients. Please take care of yourself and your loved ones."

    And here are words from a different era that my wife, Mangla, shared with me earlier this week:

    “And the people stayed home. And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and grew gardens full of fresh food, and learned new ways of being, and were still. And listened more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. Some met their shadows. And the people began to think differently.

    And the people healed. And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal.

    And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed.”

    ~Kitty O'Meara 1839 – 1888
    Irish-French Catholic Author[Hide Full Comment]

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    On Mar 17, 2020 heide wrote:
    if this event is not the most perfect example of how we must share and care for each other then I don't know what it is. Clearly, stuff and money and status are all irrelevant at this point....I'm sure it is a frightening wake up call for at least one or two generations of people who have been living in an illusion of control, power and immortality..This is a real test of gratitude and faith

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    On Mar 15, 2020 Mark wrote:
    Another related poem I enjoyed ...  Lockdown --Fr. Richard Hendrick, OFM March 13th 2020 Yes there is fear. Yes there is isolation. Yes there is panic buying. Yes there is sickness. Yes there is even death. But, They say that in Wuhan after so many years of noise You can hear the birds again. They say that after just a few weeks of quiet The sky is no longer thick with fumes But blue and grey and clear. They say that in the streets of Assisi People are singing to each other across the empty squares, keeping their windows open so that those who are alone may hear the sounds of family around them. They say that a hotel in the West of Ireland Is offering free meals and delivery to the housebound. Today a young woman I know is busy spreading fliers with her number through the neighborhood So that the elders may have someone to call on. Today Churches, Synagogues, Mosques and Temples are preparing to welcome and shelter the homeless, the sick, the weary ... [View Full Comment] Another related poem I enjoyed ... 

    Lockdown
    --Fr. Richard Hendrick, OFM March 13th 2020

    Yes there is fear.
    Yes there is isolation.
    Yes there is panic buying.
    Yes there is sickness.
    Yes there is even death.
    But,
    They say that in Wuhan after so many years of noise
    You can hear the birds again.
    They say that after just a few weeks of quiet
    The sky is no longer thick with fumes
    But blue and grey and clear.
    They say that in the streets of Assisi
    People are singing to each other
    across the empty squares,
    keeping their windows open
    so that those who are alone
    may hear the sounds of family around them.
    They say that a hotel in the West of Ireland
    Is offering free meals and delivery to the housebound.
    Today a young woman I know
    is busy spreading fliers with her number
    through the neighborhood
    So that the elders may have someone to call on.
    Today Churches, Synagogues, Mosques and Temples
    are preparing to welcome
    and shelter the homeless, the sick, the weary
    All over the world people are slowing down and reflecting
    All over the world people are looking at their neighbors in a new way
    All over the world people are waking up to a new reality
    To how big we really are.
    To how little control we really have.
    To what really matters.
    To Love.
    So we pray and we remember that
    Yes there is fear.
    But there does not have to be hate.
    Yes there is isolation.
    But there does not have to be loneliness.
    Yes there is panic buying.
    But there does not have to be meanness.
    Yes there is sickness.
    But there does not have to be disease of the soul
    Yes there is even death.
    But there can always be a rebirth of love.
    Wake to the choices you make as to how to live now.
    Today, breathe.
    Listen, behind the factory noises of your panic
    The birds are singing again
    The sky is clearing,
    Spring is coming,
    And we are always encompassed by Love.
    Open the windows of your soul
    And though you may not be able
    to touch across the empty square,
    Sing.[Hide Full Comment]

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    On Mar 15, 2020 Jasky wrote:
    A text I received last month that I thought you may enjoy reading.  「靜靜的中國」 作者:石梁 “China in Silence” by Shi Liang, early February 2020 喧囂的中國終於靜下來了,躁動的社會終於靜下來了,焦躁的國人也漸漸地靜下來了。 The hustle and bustle in China finally quietened down. The restless society finally also calmed down. The restless people in the country too gradually fell silent. 曾被人類關在籠子裡的野生動物,終於成功地將人類也關在了「籠子」裡,這就叫「多行不義,必自斃。」這就是「天道輪廻」。 The wildlife which were caged have finally succeeded in caging humans. This is known as “Rampant vicious acts will come around”. Such a phenomenon is the Law of natural justice or karma. 人類終於低下了那顆驕傲的頭,開始靜靜地思考:我們還是地球之王嗎?人類終於又一次深切地感受到了大自然的威力。 ... [View Full Comment] A text I received last month that I thought you may enjoy reading. 

    「靜靜的中國」 作者:石梁
    China in Silence” by Shi Liang, early February 2020

    喧囂的中國終於靜下來了,躁動的社會終於靜下來了,焦躁的國人也漸漸地靜下來了。
    The hustle and bustle in China finally quietened down. The restless society finally also calmed down. The restless people in the country too gradually fell silent.

    曾被人類關在籠子裡的野生動物,終於成功地將人類也關在了「籠子」裡,這就叫「多行不義,必自斃。」這就是「天道輪廻」。
    The wildlife which were caged have finally succeeded in caging humans. This is known as “Rampant vicious acts will come around”. Such a phenomenon is the Law of natural justice or karma.

    人類終於低下了那顆驕傲的頭,開始靜靜地思考:我們還是地球之王嗎?人類終於又一次深切地感受到了大自然的威力。
    Humans finally have to bow their proud heads and ponder in silence: Are humans the king of the planet? Humans finally have to submit to the awe of the nature.

    人類在面對死亡的威脅時,才開始認真地反思,才知道缺乏敬畏的社會氛圍是會導致更多的傷害,是會面臨更多風險的。
    Facing the threat of death, humans began to reflect and realized that the lack of due respect and fear will end up with more harm and danger.

    貪婪的心正在被病毒淨化,愛吃的嘴也正在被病毒懲罰,一天到晚泡在燈紅酒綠場所的人已被病毒趕回家,流連忘返在牌桌上、酒桌上和賭場裡的人也主動回了家。
    The greedy hearts are cleansed by the pandemic, the gluttonous mouths are punished, and the fun seekers who used to hang out at pubs and clubs are repelled by the disease to return home. Those who frequently spent time in card games, alcohol and casinos are submissively home-bound.

    街上的人越來越少,路上的車看不到幾輛,空氣開始變得清新,霧霾也不見了蹤影,天空越來越藍,太陽越來越亮,家庭變得越來越溫馨和睦,人們的心也變得越來越安靜、淡定。
    There are fewer and fewer people and cars on the streets. The air becomes fresher, haze disappeared, the sky becomes bluer, and the sun becomes brighter. Families become more harmonious and warmer. The hearts of people are more peaceful and calm.

    多年不看書的人在家裡捧起了書,從不管孩子的家長和孩子有了親子溝通,一年說不了幾句話的夫妻打開了話匣,不知道孝敬老人的子女也開始盡孝道。
    Those who for years had not read a book now stay home to read. Parents who had neglected their children started to establish closer rapport, so are couples who had lived like strangers. And children become filial to their parents.

    病毒給人類上了生動且深刻的一課,它讓我們懂得了敬畏,它也讓我們知道了什麼叫「歲月靜好」,它更讓我們感受到了人間真愛,它讓我們漸漸走上愛的「回歸之路」,我們真的應該感恩這個「敵人」,我們需要這樣的「敵人」經常給我們「提醒」,給我們「賦能」。
    The Coronavirus pandemic gives humans a vivid and profound lesson. It teaches humans to submit and respect, to know the beauty of a peaceful life. It enables us to feel true love, it gradually leads us to the “return journey” of love. We ought to be grateful to this “enemy”, and we need it to regularly “awaken” and “empower” us.

    病毒不會那麼快地離去,它需要看到人類好習慣的「養成」,病毒也不會一直肆虐下去,因為人類的「愛」會凝聚更大的力量讓病毒遠離,時間會告訴我們一切,時間也將證明什麼才是對的。
    Coronavirus disease won’t go away soon; it is waiting for humans to develop good habits. The virus won’t continue to torture people forever either because humans will accumulate more loving-kindness to dispel the virus. Time will reveal all to us, and time will also show us what is right.
     

    我真的很喜歡「靜靜的中國」,我希望國人自己要主動打造一個「靜靜的中國」,而不是再依靠病毒。
    靜靜的中國,真好。
    ——20200202清晨寫於靜靜的家中

    I really like the silent China. I hope that people in China can develop a “Silent China” by themselves without relying on any virus.
    The silent China is truly wonderful!
    ——-wrote at home engulfed in silence on Feb. 2, 2020 morning 
        [Hide Full Comment]

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    On Mar 14, 2020 Mariette wrote:
    This is happening FOR us, not to us. In every challenge and supposed destruction, there is an opportunity for construction. The fallen leaves turn into compost. The undoing of past beliefs of separation creates the space for wholesome beliefs of oneness. And in this experience as well, there is space for contemplation, creation, transformation and renewal. We each have the opportunity - and arguably the responsibility - of making the choice of our own personal perspective. And each individual choice creates a collective transformation. All thanks to this sacred time.

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    On Mar 13, 2020 Amy wrote:
    Oh my! How Very Beautiful!❤️

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    On Mar 13, 2020 Jagdish P Dave wrote:
    Sound of Silence! In the noisy and busy world of doing and having, we tend forget to listen to the inner quiet and wise voice of the heart, the soul. Our minds get filled with fear, anger, annoyance, grievance, blame and despair. In the times of crisis we need to center down and let our bodies and minds be quiet, calm and clear. We need to turn off our agitated bodies and minds and create to listen to the voice of silence filled with empathy, compassion, kindness and love. We are encountering such challenging and testing times right in front of our eyes.. Can we go beyond our self-serving mind set and heart set and become brothers keepers? These are the times when we go beyond our self-created boundaries and relate to each other as children of God? This way we can shift of our mind set from me to we. As the poet Lynn Ungarwrites " Promise this world your love- for better or worse, in sickness and in health, so long as we all shall live." Structuresof body and mind change slo... [View Full Comment] Sound of Silence! In the noisy and busy world of doing and having, we tend forget to listen to the inner quiet and wise voice of the heart, the soul. Our minds get filled with fear, anger, annoyance, grievance, blame and despair. In the times of crisis we need to center down and let our bodies and minds be quiet, calm and clear. We need to turn off our agitated bodies and minds and create to listen to the voice of silence filled with empathy, compassion, kindness and love. We are encountering such challenging and testing times right in front of our eyes.. Can we go beyond our self-serving mind set and heart set and become brothers keepers? These are the times when we go beyond our self-created boundaries and relate to each other as children of God? This way we can shift of our mind set from me to we. As the poet Lynn Ungarwrites " Promise this world your love- for better or worse, in sickness and in health, so long as we all shall live."

    Structuresof body and mind change slowly and at times drastically like the times we are facing now. I see and experience the openings of hearts welcoming, helping and caring for people impacted by this calamity.
    Such experiencesfill my heart with gratitude. Such acts of love and compassion make the world sacred and beautiful.

    Giving myself quiet time to fade away noises of mind helps me to be connected with my heart which is the abode of love, generosity, compassion and warmth.
    Jagdish P Dave'
    Namaste!




    [Hide Full Comment]

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    On Mar 13, 2020 David Doane wrote:
    All the world and all time and each of us are expressions of God, so the world and time and we are sacred. A time of pandemic makes it more obvious that we are all in this world together, and since we and this world are sacred, a time of pandemic is particularly sacred. I also believe we don't have control, our existence is very precarious, and we are very vulnerable, all of which underlines my gratitude that I am alive and part of all that is happening. Change, including drastic change, is an adventure -- there are definitely times I don't like change and there are times I remind myself that I can grow the most when the change is most drastic. What helps me move beyond fear and root in the warmth of my heart (meaning soul), is knowing that the soul which is essential me is an extension of God, and when I remind myself of that I know there is nothing to be afraid of. Being part of God what could there be to be afraid of?

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    On Mar 12, 2020 PK wrote:
    Feeling of love and compassion filled my heard as I read this poem three times in a row. As it started reverberating in my heart, I noticed a smile on face. Usually, I am a serious person and almost intense in my silent reflection. Now though, there is a lightness in my heart and instead of feeling helpless that I cannot do anything, there is acceptance and a sense of gratitude. A sense of inevitability -- not emerging out of fear and desperation but emerging out of surrender and letting go of the control I never had. No more words. Silence and deep appreciation. Thank you Lynn.

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    On Mar 12, 2020 SC wrote:
    My heart feels deep relief at what is remembered within me as I read these words. Such gratitude to Lynn for writing and Awakin for sharing out. "The Great Turning" as Joanna Macy describes it, is underway, even as we see its parallel sibling story "The Great Unraveling" making itself more known before our eyes. Where will our tender attention feed that more beautiful world we all know is possible? Love you, community.

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