It’s tough out there right now. So many, many people functioning on fear.
I am a fully vaccinated anti vaxxer. In a perfect world, I would not go near a vaccination.
I have a healthy distrust of big government, big business, and big pharma. To be honest I would not trust any of them as far as I could throw them.
I chose to be double vaccinated, not for myself, but for my family and community. The decision was simple. Not that I liked making it one little bit.
But this is not a perfect world. We are all immuno-compromised because of the tainted air we breathe, the water we drink, and the food we eat, the work we do, our unhealthy homes and workplaces, and the inequitable society and economy we live in.
If we put a lens to the disgusting chemicals that abound in our environment, a COVID vaccination and its potential side effects probably pale in comparison.
Exhaust fumes, pesticides and nitrates in water and food, chemicals in building materials, cleaning materials… the list goes on and on and on, and it has all been in the name of gross profit, well actually greed.
I write not to excuse or justify for a moment the use of vaccination. It is simply to set a broader context.
This is not to debate or to use the tired adversarial debate process, of who is right and wrong.
No one is right and wrong in this.
I got vaccinated because I spend a fair bit of my time with marginalized members of our community, those on the edges, that we now deem ‘immuno-compromised.’ They include my 92-year-old Dad, who I visit regularly as his care-giving service has been halved. I spend time with people from the disability community, who have no choice over their compromised health. I spend time with people of various ethnicities who through inter-generational trauma, poverty and suppression through colonisation have compromised health; physical, mental, and spiritual.
None of these friends and whānau have the same access I do, as a middle-class white pākehā with a small disposable income, to organic food, home grown food, herbal remedies, yoga and meditation programmes that all support my immune system.
There is plenty of science that clearly demonstrates those in lower socio-economic groups do not easily have the bandwidth or the environment to ‘pivot’ to healthier lifestyles.
If we could get what I have in these so called ‘alternative’ sources of good nutrition, spiritual and mental health to the wider population, we might shut down the Ministry of Health, Pfizer et al tomorrow.
After all, they do have a vested interest in people remaining sick, otherwise they would all be out of a job.
But we are where we are.
And we have a new minority that run the risk of being turned into lepers; the unvaccinated.
I get it.
When I go out and I see people not bothering with masks, sanitizer, tracing, or social distancing, I judge. I think, come on, get with the programme.
But I then move on to work to source some compassion in myself. The fear in their eyes equals the fear in the eyes of those fully vaccinated following the rules. And let’s face it the rules are messy, inequitable, and frequently don’t make much sense.
Tragically, there are so many hidden sources, political and ideological behind the information we are consuming. We have outsourced what we think and feel, not solely to government and business, but to the algorithm that is choosing the information we consume. We would do well to hack and disrupt the invasive memes that enter our homes and heads that follow an orchestrated coded agenda, and browse sources far, wide, and unpredictable.
The government’s PR campaign is growing tired.
In Aotearoa Labour and National governments alike have been manipulating the population with PR and media since the early 20th century.
A recent article in Memories magazine by the wonderful radio documentarian, Hop Owen, now in his nineties, tells the story of the introduction of radio to Aotearoa. At the time, a radio set in the home was the very latest technology. But its introduction was mired in political agendas.
Hop writes that in 1934 Auckland’s favourite radio station 1ZB was owned and operated by “Uncle Scrim” a former Methodist City Missioner, who knew well the misery of Auckland’s poor and unemployed. He gave a weekly talk called The Man in the Street that was obligatory listening for anyone in Auckland with a radio set. But an election loomed, and the reigning Coates/Forbes coalition (yes they had them even then) of the Reform and United parties (predecessors of the National Party) were worried Uncle Scrim would use his platform to support Labour, and the government Post and Telegraph department that controlled radio frequencies jammed his broadcast. He did get to broadcast his script the next day after a furore and it contained no endorsement of the Labour Party.
Labour won the election in a landslide victory, but it too would go on to try and control the airwaves. They made the way for parliament to be broadcast for the first time in the western world under a pretext that it would bring democracy to the people. They then went on to stage manage, and carefully select speeches, speakers and edited debates to better represent partisan government views.
It does not feel a long stretch 85 years later to the controlled daily PR briefings we endure from government ministers and health bureaucrats every day. And isn’t it strange that the signage and branding in vaccination centre booths is remarkably like those in polling booths? Just saying.
So where do we go.
We must dig deep in ourselves to source love, compassion, and acceptance. It takes work. It takes stepping through our fears and reactions. For me I now have a two hourly daily practice of yoga, breath, and meditation. That calms me. I have used lockdowns to expand my practice. I am growing vegetables and tending my garden more than I have ever done before in the 30 years I have lived in this spot. I teach meditation and breath workshops online, for people in workplaces and homes to bring a bit of peace and harmony to the fear of the chaos of the world beyond our bubbles.
In my own small way, I wish to bring these immune system building practices to others, and one day in an evolved world, they will become the norm, rather than toxic food, air, water, chemicals drugs and adversarial politics.
We are so blessed to have a short time living on this planet. The natural world we live in is magical and amazing at every turn. If we can pause, wonder and be curious about its magnificence perhaps we can better source wellbeing. In front of me are a vase of flowers and some fresh fruit, they are exquisite. They are beautiful beyond compare. What human mind could ever design something so remarkable. We work to get close, with our imaginations and creativity. But we thrive when we surrender and let go to the fact, we are only a small speck in the cosmos. Our ills derive from getting way too big for ourselves, thinking we can control natural systems for our own benefit.
As western systems of governance, business and science are failing us, it is timely to turn to the ancient wisdom of indigenous knowledge sourced ( honoured and not appropriated) from India to North America to Aotearoa. Western science and thought are slowly catching up to the thousands and thousands of years of wisdom in indigenous science, that melds physics and metaphysics, and teaches harmonious living with tangible and intangible systems of our natural world.
My teacher Sri Sri Ravi Shankar puts politics and religion like this:
“The role of religion is to make one righteous and loving, and politics means caring for people and their welfare. When religion and politics don’t co-exist, then you have corrupt politicians and pseudo-religious leaders.
A religious person who is righteous and loving will care for the welfare of the whole population and hence become a true politician. And a true politician can only be righteous and loving.
Today both religion and politics needs reform. Religion must become broader and more spiritual to allow freedom of worship and to encompass all the wisdom of the world. And politicians must become more righteous and spiritual. “
So whānau, breathe. In your mind and your soul, hug one another, whether it is mentally or physically. Have compassion for all in this time of fear.
Source yourself in activity and thought that brings you peace.
Step away from the drama that pipes into our homes and affects our systems, manipulating adrenal systems, evoking cortisol, dopamine, and oxytocin without our control.
Take time to reflect, to meditate, to do nothing and whatever works for you to still your mind and relax.
In te reo Māori the achingly beautiful, timeless, prescient and connected language of this land,
Kia manawanui, kia māia, kia arohanui.