Day five of near-isolation. What I’ve noticed to my great joy, and what is not ususally apparent on social media, is that it seems to be human nature to take care of one another. In these times where we’re getting down to what’s real and what matters, our self-important posturing has (for most of us) been exposed for the nonsense that it is. Now people are, by their own devices, figuring out how to safely feed the hungry, care for the sick, and visit the imprisoned (here including those who cannot get out and about for any reason). People are coming up with creative solutions out of necessity. Dine-in only restaurants suddenly have online take-out ordering for family-style meals, extra precautions are being implemented in medical facilities, and one of the most inventive ideas I’ve seen for visiting someone confined to their home is making a painter’s tape tic tac toe board on a window so both homeowner and visitor enjoy a game (using dry erase markers) while they visit safely.
Once our physical needs are met, now more than ever, it is apparent by spontaneous gestures that our souls need creativity and art, and that we connect to one other on a profound level when we perform or view art together. The flash mob trend of the last decade or so hinted at this phenomenon. We saw in videos (or if we have been lucky enough, felt in person) the delight folks felt to suddenly be in the center of a performance — the connectedness of artist to their own soul escapes and infects all who bear witness. And their joy continues to be contagious even to those of us who see it thousands of miles and many years later on video.
Now, speaking even more clearly for our need to connect at the level of who we really are, we see spontaneous balcony concerts in Italy and Spain, the offering of free virtual theatre tickets at major performing arts venues, e-books and audiobooks being made more accessible through libraries and publishers, free online concerts by music groups of all genres and all levels of fame (or none), and more. These events show us that our world, which usually seems motivated only by money and what can be proven by research, that at our core, we need more than things and certain knowledge; those things keep us alive, yes, but if that’s all we have, we’re not really living. As we see now.
Our lifestyles have been cut to the necessities, going out only for food and medicine; and we can survive that way, but we still crave to create and to connect with others through what we or they have created. The other beautiful thing is that we are equipped (yes, each of us) to create out of nothing — a silly song, a letter to a loved one, a game of eye spy or charades, a joke, a prayer. And with only a few resources we can create scarves or baskets or paintings or wood carvings or a sock puppet show or a lego masterpiece or a found-things mural or digital music or a great cup of coffee or a video of our own talent to share, or, or, or…
My point, and what gives me great hope for humanity, is that when we are reduced to having only the most important things in life — creativity rises right to the top. May his time of slowing down the busy-ness of our lives give us all a chance to recognize what it is that we, particularly, have to offer to humankind — because there is something. If you don’t believe me, watch young Skye offering her jingle prayer dance to the world.