Inspired By You All
--Prabu Ayyagari
4 minute read
Mar 18, 2020

[Inspired by the call, and all of you, we shared informal notes with family and friends, and thought to include here as well in case of value to you!]

Dr. Sri Shamasunder, a physician treating COVID-19 patients in San Francisco

1. He has joined the cross-disciplinary team stood up at a major hospital, to exclusively focus on COVID-19 patients.

2. He shared how there is a sense of purposeful togetherness among the diverse team of physicians, residents and the larger healthcare team.

3. He hopes that this marks a change in how the medical field and society as a whole approaches providing medical care to the vulnerable parts of our population… that will continue beyond the current crisis.

Clair Brown, a professor at UC Berkeley -

1. When classes were canceled and students had to leave campus in a hurry, there was a lot of stress, confusion and angst.

2. The mindfulness part of her classes was the most popular… and she is mastering technology to virtually hold space for mindfulness in her classes that are now held remotely.

3. Mindful Listening is the most important part of service that we can offer our community.
In this context,

Vipul Shaha shared via chat, this link to a post prompted by the invitation to this call (he offers to listen to people - we think that is a great idea): I'm Happy To Listen.
“Change hurts… cutting our social fabric hurts… say this is painful … then how do you respond - skillfully or unskillfully? “

-Rev. Heng Sure

Bijan Khazai, a data wiz from Germany -

1. Heartfelt sharing! He dialed in at 4:30AM his time (and probably has not been sleeping much, as his team has been busy collecting data from across Germany on COVID-19 cases and sharing on Twitter. He shared his screen for two poignant stories.

2.There is not a central agency in Germany comparable to the CDC in the US. Each German state (province) is responsible for its healthcare. Hence, his team has been collecting the data from disparate sources and trying to make sense of it. There has been 30% increase in day to day numbers of cases. [I may be mistaken in the exact numbers, please check]: he showed a graphic on how the number of cases went from about 500 to more than 11,000 in five days! He said that an exponential projection led to upwards of 400,000 cases, of which 5% may have to be hospitalized - even if the specifics are off in these notes, it is still a large number! Are we equipped to handle it?

4. Bijan also shared a personal story of how he is being careful to maintain a distance of six meters from his elderly parents and showed photographs.

4. Bijan shared what was a common theme among the speakers and break-off sessions: how to do no harm while serving, such as not being a carrier of the virus to vulnerable populations (seniors et al)

Paul Andrews has been collecting positive stories re COVID. Reach out to him to get these from him:

From Buddhist monk, Rev Heng Sure (dialing in from Australia!)

We can Give in three ways:

1. Material goods// being on the RECEIVING END is also good.

2. Giving of Insight: it hurts. Change hurts… cutting our social fabric hurts… Look straight into the face of the virus and say this is painful, … then how do you respond - skillfully or unskillfully? Skilful: “Look at that, that is the nature of body, can I find a way to balance in the midst of that and understand that this is universal?” Welcome to the conditioned world… anything that is made can be unmade. This is what it is… that acceptance/realization frees up enormous energy.

3. Giving of courage. Fearlessness. To listen. To bring people together. “This will pass"

From interfaith minister, Rev Bonnie Rose

1. We’re all wrestling with impermanence and uncertainty.

2. At the same time, there is a perfection to it. Precisely because it is so fleeting.

3. If we’re not so caught up in the fear, in this stream of … we can go beyond the mind. Our mind is like a tupperware container and this virus has come in and burst that container.

4. Beyond this impermanence is this permanent thing called Love.
5. Check in and ask “What is mine to do?”

6. Bonnie quoted from an author that was forwarded to her, by a Jamie K:
[In these times of cancellations of so many gatherings and events…]

“Conversations will not be cancelled
relationships will not be cancelled
love self-care will not be cancelled
hope will not be cancelled
reading will not be cancelled
may we lean into the good stuff that remains”

The event was planned for 90 minutes, but there were many participants that stayed past that time. After two hours, Audrey concluded with a minute of silence.

Kala Mehta’s contribution:

Lets do simple things: Instead of “Social Distancing”, let us make this - “Physical isolation with social solidarity”.

Tim shared:

Sometimes, being of service may mean setting your own house in order and letting people know that you are available to help. [Self-care is important too]. The quote Tim shared was originally by Anne Lamott (that he heard from Preeta):
"Lighthouses don't go running all over an island looking for boats to save; they just stand there shining."


Posted by Prabu Ayyagari on Mar 18, 2020

3 Past Reflections