Good day friends, this morning I had a breakfast call with my friends at Mudcreek Rotary Club and it brought up some thoughts about how everything has changed and how we can work together to “create our new normal.” 

Hi folks,

 

I didn’t get a chance to chime in with so many of us on the call, just want to say I’m grateful to be here with you.
I’ve had various ups and downs over the past few weeks and I’ve found CBC this article very helpful to understand why I’m feeling what I’m feeling and how our community is responding.
I feel lucky to live with my wife and friends in our  co-housing space as my need for connecting, play time, and physical time are well met. We had a check-in about hugging each other as usually this is an act of “greeting” but our needs for touch, especially for the folks in our house that are single or their partners don’t live with us, are much higher.
 
After hearing the group, what I’m concerned about most right now and bubbles up for me is:

 

  1. “Our nation and our world have come face to face with the reality that we are all interconnected and interdependent.” I read this facscinating article this morning called “COVID has Changed Everything, and it reminded me that many of the divisive narratives I’m seeing today are a distraction.  The divisive narratives (blame, shaming, racial blame, environmental blame, debates over what we should do and how we should behave etc.) I’m thinking twice about things I share online and asking myself, will this create more division? (media favours divisive strong worded articles that take a side). What story or narrative am I perpetuating by sharing this? What are things I can share that focus on an “inclusive narrative.” We’ve been creating an online space for this in Atlantic Canada with the narrative project, I invite you to join, it’s free and our next call is at 12pm today entitled “Together We Stand,” inspired by some recent music and art by Eastern Owl Drumming Group and Kellie Walsh of the Lady Cove Women’s Choir and  https://www.howwethrive.org/narrative  
  1. Continued. As Rotarians and involved community members, we are already doing this work by regularly gathering and checking in, I’m enjoying the narrative projects because it’s helping me to reflect on the stories I want to live by with  a whole online community and gives me questions to reflect on outside of the calls. I think Rotarians have a lot to offer in the narrative space and the stories we want to live by as we fund projects that stories come out of and serve community in the stories we live by. 
  2. How as a community we will ensure that people feel belonging and support right now (deeper conversations, not surface level)? How are people meeting their needs for touch and limiting all levels of trauma? How after this is over will we ensure people have spaces where they reconnect physically with their community? It can be traumatizing to not be touched (handshakes, hugs, whatever), there’s good research on this. We already have a mental health and social isolation crisis, how do we support mental wellness work for all now and how do we support it in the future when we have even more folks who don’t have belonging. Lack of belonging and feeling of connection, is one major factor for over consumption and our mental health crisis. Even advertisers know this, as many ads have this formula “if you buy this, you will feel better or you are part of something bigger by buying this.” Two books that have helped me understand solutions around this are the  Structure of Belonging and Abundant Communities by Peter Block. They are older books, but much more thorough then some of the newer ones in terms of community solutions. The Healthy Mind Platter has also been very helpful to think about what our mind needs.

 

3. How our mental health effects our physical health and immunity. I’m new to this space, but the correlation between mental health, inflammation, and immune system disorders is very interesting. If anyone knows more about this, I’d love to hear from you. Gardening and physical house work are keeping my anxiety manageable.

There are a small number of things we can do physically at this time to help like make masks, grow food, create spaces for people to gather online, animate our streets (has anyone seen the daily poem on Main St?), create new routines, by from local businesses and farms so they survive this, support climate change work that is still happening etc. I propose that one of our most important jobs is to support our mental and physical health. Who could we be calling or checking on? How can he help each other stay active remotely? What projects can be supported that create a stronger sense of belonging even when we can’t be together? What projects can be supported when we can again see each other physically that create a stronger sense of belonging? What could the new normal be if more people have a deep sense of belonging in our community? What if people felt they were held by community, even without being physically held? 

What bubbles up for you when you read this? Please comment below, I want to hear from you.