The Commune: Connection in the time of Corona

Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind.
“Pooh!” he whispered.
“Yes, Piglet?”
“Nothing,” said Piglet, taking Pooh’s paw. “I just wanted to be sure of you.”

Dear Friends,

Every night before bed this past week, I’ve turned to my favourite companions, Pooh and Piglet—just to be sure of them, and me, and us. Every day, I find myself following a ritual similar to Piglet’s taking Pooh’s paw—sending a message to my sisters, talking to family, sharing a poem with a friend. Just to be sure of them, and me and us.

When life feels upside-down, I gravitate towards anchors from my childhood. This week, it’s A.A. Milne with one of his greatest gifts to children and adults alike. In the Hundred Acre Wood, I find community and connection. 

Community and connection. The words themselves bring comfort as they roll across my tongue. As the world continues to change rapidly, it feels more important than ever to find anchorage in my community. Covid-19 has brought up a slew of emotions, to say the least, and I find myself dealing with bouts of anxiety and fear as I witness its fallout everyday. Visuals of thousands of migrant workers trying to make their way home on national highways because the powers-that-be didn’t think to plan transportation for them; elderly people being lathi-charged in Goa for going out to buy groceries; children in Varanasi eating grass that’s fed to cattle. There’s a heaviness in the air, weighed down as it is by a collective anxiety and uncertainty of what is to come. 

I read an article last week by Scott Berinato which speaks to this called ‘That Discomfort You’re Feeling is Grief’. In it, he gives voice to this collective anxiety, which he describes as anticipatory grief. ‘That feeling we get about what the future holds when we’re uncertain […] the mind going to the future and imagining the worst […] Our primitive mind knows something bad is happening, but you can’t see it. This breaks our sense of safety. We’re feeling that loss of safety. I don’t think we’ve collectively lost our sense of general safety like this. Individually or as smaller groups, people have felt this. But all together, this is new. We are grieving on a micro and a macro level.’

There’s a measure of comfort in being able to recognise and say it out loud. To acknowledge grief. There’s comfort too in connections being formed despite the enforced and necessary physical distance. Now more than ever, we’re connected in our shared experience of this virus which is affecting everyone across the globe. But the virus is also presenting a question: How do we choose to live? How do we choose to respond? And does that response apply to all the people in our life?

It’s to examine these questions and respond to this crisis that all of us at TCC are doing things a little differently this month of April. We’re going to try to look at what living in the time of Covid-19 is bringing up, to share it with this community and hope that you’ll also share with us.

Through our latest episode, ‘Connection in the time of Corona‘ we look at questions of connection and care as we find ourselves in the middle of a global pandemic. Given that the Corona virus has in one way reinforced our shared humanity, the episode explores what the human response to it will be. If you’re looking to ‘Support Communities‘ working with vulnerable groups, there are a few ways to do so. We’ve also put together a list of recommendations of podcasts, books and articles on connection and care so dip into ‘Connecting the dots: A lockdown list’

We hope to keep you company as we all navigate this difficult time we find ourselves in. As always, we’d love to hear from you.

Stay well and stay safe.

(Team TCC)

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