LISTEN CAREFULLY-‘SOCIAL DISTANCING’ GOES AGAINST YOUR INSTINCTS
Rise above the fear. Focus on your choices and stay connected with your loved ones
© By Ariana Strozzi Mazzucchi, 3/19/2020
I’m bothered. Very bothered. I’ve been trying to figure it out. I can feel the fear and anxiety that the news media has created regarding the Corona Virus 19. I’m listening to their intonation, the way they state their words. The energy and rhythm of their tone of voice is so well trained to trigger a startled response from the viewer. The response they encourage now is fear. Be very afraid. “Listen,” the planned rise and fall of their announcements reflect off the walls of your house.
“Listen to me.” As they entice you into believing they are the reliable source of information. After all, they are the news. I don't intend to offend the reporters and journalists. I know their intentions are good. The question is who is really feeding them the information? What are their sources’ deeper intentions?
Is the constant ‘fear’ barrage meant to get our attention fixated on one thing, so something else goes on unseen? I’m just asking questions. That is what I do.
As a zoologist, I know fear is a biological instinct triggered to initiate a survival response. It’s an instinct. It is not a thought. It’s not even rational. It’s a visceral bodily response. The heart rate increases, adrenalin surges, a whole series of chemical reactions orchestrate through our bodies preparing for injury, harm and mayhem.
I could write a book about fear, but frankly I don't want to. Other people have. Al Gore’s book, “Assault on Reason,” (published in 2007), first chapter is titled The Politics of Fear. He talks about fear as a political tool and how our current media can so easily and purposely trigger our biological instincts for survival including the ‘orienting response’ and ‘vicarious traumatization’. He grounds it in the modern science of neuroscience. He discusses the phenomenon of fear through our political system going back through the early 1900’s. He says as of 2007, “The single most surprising new element in America’s national conversation is the prominence and intensity of constant fear…we seem to be having unusual difficulty in distinguishing between illusory threats and legitimate ones.” His book may be worth reading now.
Something is not right. Aside from the fact that the Corona Virus 19 is causing global panic, we are becoming victims of a system that is intentionally taking away our free will through constant subliminal tag lines and visual assaults of this nasty little virus. No wonder why so many people are afraid.
Whether the virus is man made or mother nature’s solution to reduce our population and curb our overly indulgent consumption, we are being called to ‘shelter in place’. What on earth does that mean? It sounds like I am supposed to freeze in place. Be afraid, and freeze in place. That sounds like a bad survival strategy to me.
We’re being told to ‘shelter in place’ and ‘socially distance’ ourselves.
Count how many times on the news or even in your own conversations you are repeating, “Remember to practice your ‘social distance?”
“Listen Carefully. What is really being said?” What do you really hear?”
I think of the Spotted Owl, perched high up in the branches of the old fir stands now replacing the old redwood stands. Her black eyes take me to a time long gone. She has seen many moons. She stays hidden from sight, yet she sees everything going on below. She is endangered. Her home has been cut down so many times, she has few options left. Mans’ pollution from not just planes and boats, but also from plastic bottles, test kits, chemical solutions, and disposable supplies of all sorts and kind has endangered her forests.
I shape shift into her presence. I look down below with her eyes. I ask her, “What do you see?”
“There’s more to it than meets the eye.”
This is our opportunity to slow down, be present with our loved ones, reflect on how to become sustainable. This is a time to be quiet like the Spotted Owl, be circumspect and thoughtful. What is the quality of attention and presence we want to bring to ourselves and our immediate communities? As Franklin Delano Roosevelt said in his time of crisis, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
Fear is not the solution. Fear itself is bad medicine, it is unhealthy. It will make the virus worse. It’s like putting gasoline on a fire.
How can you notice when you are in a fear response and still have the presence of mind not to get swept into its negative energy? The first step is to notice when you are in a fear response in the first place.
The taglines for this pandemic are like constant ‘fear bullets’ piercing our already weak immune systems. They’re words make me afraid. And I don't agree with them. Because I am aware that the words trigger me into a fear response, I can stop it. I can shape shift the words into a more positive life affirming perspective. I am offering that we can empower ourselves by making our own re-phrase when you hear these taglines. Lets look at ‘social distancing first.
“Social Distancing,” really bother me. And I am not even a social creature like many of my friends are. I am rather a bit of an introvert, I am far less likely to be bothered by the idea of social distancing.
But the concept of ‘social distancing’ goes against our instincts as social animals. It sets off a fear response in the body whether you are aware of it or not. We are a social animal. Our instinct is to form tight bonds under stress and hard times. We are not meant to be isolated, or distanced from each other. Our worst fear--akin to a death sentence—is to be separated out, ostracized. Our animal instinct knows it is dangerous to be alone. Does the term, ‘social distancing’ bother you too? Does a part of you get anxious or fearful of being separated from others in this time? I’m not even sure the fear is a conscious thought. But are you able to concentrate on anything else? I’m finding it hard to ‘work as usual.’ There are so many things I can occupy my time with, but I feel like I just want to listen, stay calm and keep my senses open.
One survival strategy is to calm your mind. Take a bath with some Epsom salts. Make a nice honey tea to boost your immune system. Open the window and take in some deep breaths or better yet go for a walk outside.
But, listen carefully between the words spoken. Listen to the response it triggers in you. We are being told to get used to ‘social distancing.’ What does that even mean? Why cant the experts say ‘physical distancing’ instead? That sets off a very clear idea of what we being asked to do. Keep a physical distance. So why ‘social distancing’? What does social distancing mean to you? How much more anxiety and fear is this causing? What are we being groomed for?
History shows in dangerous times, our instinct is to come together. There are some looters and cheaters, but most people want to take care of each other. I love the people sharing their songs, their music, their artwork. There is so much gift giving right now it is a beautiful thing.
I had a zoom coach call the other night and we connected with each other. We shared our experiences from around the world. Voiced our fears, and fortified each other’s resistance to getting caught in the anxiety that has gone viral. We were being social. We needed that bonding time. We all need bonding time.
For me, I feel the difference in meaning between social distancing and physical distance. To me, social distancing implies you should stay away from me and me from you. You have cooties. I have cooties. You are to be feared. I am to be feared. I can’t trust you. You cant trust me. Why have the smartest people in the world, who are directing us how to think and what to do in this crisis, why did they choose those two words? Maybe its main purpose is truly about ‘social distancing’. Separate the people. Isolate them. They are much more manipulate-able when they are isolated and afraid. If not, then lets speak up and help them revise it to simply keeping a physical distance.
We cannot know or guess how bad its going to get. They assure us, ‘its going to get worse before it gets better’. Their already preparing for the next pandemic.
My intention is not to instill more fear, it is to awaken your own creativity, to call forward your own life generating resources. We can attend to our fear by not letting it go viral. Find ways to keep your social connections. Tell more stories, listen more. Do those things you haven’t had time to do that calm you like a hobby you've been putting off. Do that. Stay connected. Share, receive. Inspire. Support each other. Please don't distance your social-ability. Your social-ability is needed now even if it is within a physical distance.
In terms of ‘shelter in place’ find words that work for you. This is not a time to become paralized. A shift in perspective can include reaching out to someone you are out of date with, or playing games, playing cards, doing puzzles like our forefathers did before television. Be the presence you want to inspire in others. Keep writing songs, singing, sharing stories, sharing inspirations from your kitchen, keep uplifting each other’s spirits. Take on a new hobby. Dust off an old sketchbook and open it up. Stay socially connected virtually. And thank you to all of you who have been inspiring me with your social-ability and sharing. It gives me so much hope.
We actually have a good excuse now to take a break and focus on our own self care. Listen and observe like the spotted owl high in the branches. Don't panic. We are much more resilient than we remember we are. I just hope when this is over we will keep some of these new opportunities as standard ways of being. I hope we wont just jump back in our cars and fly on planes and buy things we don't need when this is over. I hope we take this time to think about our earth and how we can live more simply and take care of not just our own health but her and all of our animal and plant brothers and sisters.
What is this virus teaching us aside from the taglines and scary images we are being told to listen to? What and how is it asking us to take responsibility for ourselves and our greater communities? What if Mother Earth has actually grounded us, stopped us in our tracks? Why? And what does she want us to see, to feel, to reflect on?
Write a letter to Mother Earth. If this virus is caused by her creation alone or as a result of our over population and lack of sustainable practices, then ask her what she wants you to hear. Listen. Talk to her, thank her, ask her for forgiveness, make new promises for to yourself and to her. What are your new sustainable practices and actions?
Please share your thoughts in the comments section of my blog.