My friend wrote me this morning:

‘A total devastating shit show for our world. I’m scared and my anxiety has spiked. I try to be outside each day. Walking. Breathing in fresh air. I hope you’re doing the same. Sending love and safe healing wishes to you and our world, Mother Earth 🌍🌍’

I want to hug her and tell her everything is going to be fine. But she’s half a world away, and we aren’t supposed to hug anymore. I want to assure her this too shall pass, as I believe with my whole heart. But sadly I think it’s going to get much worse before it gets better.

I’m no scientist, but I’ve been reading posts and articles by people much smarter than me who say that if the US and Europe is going to avoid Italy, China or Iran’s fate (bless them) we need to do things NOW! Not tomorrow, not in three days, but today.

Austria has put strong measures in place, but I fear people aren’t following them. When I went to do my last shopping yesterday, people were out at bars, restaurants, cafes—not that far from each other. And I keep reading how young people in the US are lining up to go to clubs. Do they not read the news? Do they not know that we need to #flattenthecurve? Do they not have older people in their lives, or even friends with pre-existing conditions? Why don’t they care? (I was young once, I get it.)

I don’t mean to be all doom and gloom. I’m also seeing small miracles. Strangers in my usually reserved city were talking to each other! People were polite, kind and helpful to one another even as they were panic shopping. Silver linings abound. We need to be realistic, take the threat seriously and #stayathome, because just washing our hands more ain’t gonna cut it. But there’s so many instances already of kindness and love (dare I say oneness?) coming out of the darkness. Look at the Italians—who’ve been through pure hell—turning music into communion and laughter from their balconies. They’re showing us that no matter how dark it gets, we will get through this.

People are beginning to realize that we’re all connected. We’re all in this together. Viruses don’t care about borders, economic status, or political affiliations.

The world is changing, and with change often comes great heartache and sacrifice. But there’s also beauty and reason for hope: people are riding their bikes instead of driving; they’re helping small businesses, and families are bonding at home. In certain Chinese cities, people can look up to a blue sky for the first time in who knows how long. Mother Earth is getting a much-needed break.

We can all do our part to move faster through these scary times, like helping an elderly neighbor (from a distance). But the best and easiest thing to do right now is to just stay at home. Social distancing works. Self-quarantining is vital if you have symptoms.

Remember there’s people in much worse circumstances than ourselves, and they’re also facing this virus, and from much less-privileged conditions. the faster we move through this, the more it will help them and the less the burden on the whole system will be.

I’m going to tell my dear friend what I’m telling myself: bad times end, new beginnings grow out of fear and darkness, and growth can be born from madness. Breathe, go for walks (separately!) Skype with friends and family, LAUGH, and know, this too shall pass. But we have to work together.

#stayathome #distanceyourselves #drinkaquarantini!

#stayhealthy