Emerging from Hawai'i farm life into the sadness of COVID reality
I lived a privileged, sheltered life during 2020 - and now in COVID reality, I feel like an alien to be feared.
Living in community on a farm in Hawai'i completely sheltered me from COVID fear. Now I feel slightly like an alien from another planet, an alien to be feared.
In 2020, I was busier than ever. I lived in a yurt for most of the year so the nourishment of the outdoors and physical activity was always accessible to me. Every morning was an opportunity to get my hands in the dirt and harvest nutrition from both the soil and the plants. I was also more social than I had ever been in my life. We who lived and worked there gathered for dinners, fires, parties, circles, and conversations. Food direct from the ground was abundant and I actually made more money this year than average. As long as we were on our vast, beautiful properties tucked away from it all, we could live our life as we all normally would.
Each of us was required to strictly isolate if we didn’t feel well. We had to follow protocol when leaving the farm, and most especially when we were handling food that would go directly to people via CSAs, farmers markets, food distributions, etc. For me, working a lot on the back end of things at my own office space, that meant very little mask time.
I found love during COVID and some of the deepest friendships of my life. I grew by leaps and bounds and I truly recognize... that all of this was a privilege. I never even had to form a stance on this pandemic because I was unaffected. On the farm, COVID actually meant more work for everyone and more income towards a previously ignored industry in Hawai'i.
By some fluke of grace, I had one of the most wonderful years of my life. I was so abundant in hope and optimism that I even felt brave enough to take a chance and leave the staunch stability of my life for a new chapter! In the year of COVID, I lived a charmed, empowered life that fruited into courage.
Now, I’m on the mainland in Maryland where things actually feel quite relaxed and open... and my eyes are slowly opening to the amount of fear, disempowerment, and limitation most people have been experiencing this whole time. I feel so sorry about it
I am humbled by my luck and feel very guilty about my privilege, yes. But honestly... I also feel the unique responsibility of having a fresh viewpoint that isn’t bogged down by months and months COVID fatigue. I say I feel like an alien because I saw and experienced a completely different way of life than most ~ and it worked!!! None of us on the farm fell ill to COVID, not even our elders who we interacted with quite regularly. It wasn’t a perfect life but we proved that there are ways to be fully well.
Now... if I spread that good news of possibility and empowerment, what will people and their minds weighed down by COVID fatigue interpret it as? Me being an anti-vaxxer? Me being anti-masks? Me being naive? Me being full of privilege? Me telling the truth?
I’ve always, always held a neutral view about things until I receive enough information and synthesize it for myself after a long period of reflection. And to be honest I feel quite in the middle right now. And I wish not to be ostracized for being in the process of making up my own mind.
I have friends and family from everywhere who are firmly on one end of the spectrum and then the other, and some who are in the middle and deciding to be safe rather than sorry health-wise. I respect all viewpoints and I feel extremely lucky and enriched to be around such varied perspectives and insights. I am also so saddened as I learn of people who are in complete fear that they ban family who have different viewpoints than them to enter their homes.
I finally get to live this life in the time of COVID reality and I’m taking my time to figure out what I believe in. But already, I feel the grief of division, separation, and fear.
But all this to say, keep heart, my friends. Protect your body, but️ protect your mind too. Listen to your sovereign Spirit. What is it telling you about what's true? We're in uncharted times which call for even greater remembering - remembering that behind our viewpoints we are all human and we are actually, all in this together.
Aho and Aloha.