A postcard from Italy in times of COVID-19
This is a very special and unusual moment in history, a moment which I will always look at keeping in mind very well the duality it carries.
Without attempting to define it, nor to box it, I acknowledge how COVID-19 has done something extraordinary: It has forced a collective shift of attention, from our cluttered and incredibly busy almost inertia driven lives, to the most primal instinct of all, survival.
Our brains automatically associate survival with a threat, and predictably fear is the common emotion to show up.
So what is the message this feeling is carrying?
I believe our collective fear represents the intensity with which we want to preserve what is most meaningful to us all: our health and the health of those we love.
And here comes the known paradox, which kept showing up in different forms and ways throughout the history of humankind.
As we face death we come to appreciate life,
As we are forced into isolation we begin to value union,
As the whole world stops, the earth starts breathing again.
Now duality finds a place inside of me as well.
On one hand, feeling grief with the families of all victims, sharing the struggle of our communities, honoring the lives and wisdom of those who left.
On the other, observing how surprising yet poetic it is to feel a sense of community again, to savor solidarity, to be struck by wonder as people embrace empathy.
Confined in our homes, locked inside of our apartments, guided to take a step back and simultaneously a step into ourselves, caused the gradual emerging of a united response.
Today I see a country of humor, creativity, love, and compassion, I see an Italy I’m not sure I have ever seen before.
And from this place, held by a silence which now has become part of everybody’s days, a question comes to me: What can we all learn from our “invisible guest”?