So many of us were unprepared for how the world had become. People had built castles on the sand, and their lives crumbled to ash during the pandemic. We were all challenged: no one more so than the Black, Indigenous, and People of Color who made up most of the “essential” workforce. So many people learned new technologies and constructed new identities for themselves. Yet, from a Tribal perspective, our ceremonies and gatherings—the fabric of the People and the Land—were put to a halt.
Many of us grew used to tragedy in a relatively short time frame. As individuals on a spiritual level, we were utterly unprepared to be viscerally alone. The pandemic changed how we interact with ourselves in our most vulnerable moments. Yet, even as the pandemic drags into another year, we still aren’t well-adjusted. Maybe well-adjusted isn’t where we were supposed to be? In some way or another, we’re still dealing with the unnatural reality of profound isolation from other people forced upon us by the disease of COVID-19 and indifference.
The pandemic destabilized many of our relations, especially those nearly expired anyway. Our relationships with one another were cut short, rehashed, and renegotiated. Many people lost touch. At the same time, we all abandoned one another, cousins, friends, lovers, etc., who refused to wear masks or not get vaccinated. The destabilization of a social support network is no joke; it can be traumatic. For many of us, it was.
The pandemic’s darkness has shown that we know we need new medicine. We can develop new ways of being, new approaches to wellness, and new strategies to practice care for each other. We can forge new friendships and create social support systems taken from us. We can weave and reknit the bonds that tie us together, but it will take some imagination and kindness and, in some cases, unabashed transparency.
We can dream, pray, dance, and create anew despite the destruction.