COVID is Tragic, Crazy, Disruptive… and Good?

In my 45 years on this planet, I can’t think of anything that has impacted the entire world simultaneously like the COVID-19 Pandemic. As a student of history, I’m also having a hard time finding another comparable example. Not necessarily in the amount of victims…fortunately that is still a relatively low number. But just to the collective disruption it has cost to everyone’s life. Unlike hundreds of years ago, travel and now technology makes our planet a small place. So we have the ability to make each other more prosperous and help, but we’re also so intertwined that we can make ourselves more easily sick and something in one place disrupts life in another. I don’t have a fundamental problem with that though. I like that technology has made us a smaller place. That means we have the ability to be more empathetic and understand each other. That gives us better opportunities to live in peace. That’s definitely a good thing.

Like many professions, my global music community has been thrown into disarray because of COVID. I feel fortunate that the digital tools available to me allow me to go on with my regular musical routine. The only things (thus far) impacted was a live concert I was to present in the dark in conjunction with the release of my new album that’s coming out next Friday. Of course I would have wanted the live event to happen, but my disruption is nothing compared to what many of my performer friends are presently facing with cancelled gigs. Some don’t know how they are going to pay the bills. I hope we all come together to help these people, and everyone else impacted by these drastic changes, through this tumultuous time.

Then there’s the death. My heart breaks for China and Italy…so much death. Even here in Canada with a strong spirit of self-isolation and empty streets, there’s still so many cases being reported. Schools are cancelled til the beginning of April. A State of Emergency is in place in Ontario, the Canadian province in which I reside. I can’t help but feel pessimistic that our collective current hermit-state is going to be in place for the foreseeable future.

Despite all this tragedy and commotion, I’m committed to being positive, if anything, just for the sake of my mental health. Is there anything good that is happening at present and that could come out of this for our planet’s future? Maybe. Take climate change for example. COVID has given this generation its closest apocalyptic moment. We will survive this and we will learn from it how to sacrifice for the benefit of the whole. We will learn that we can still be happy without certain luxuries that impact our planet adversely.

I think we’re also going to learn to appreciate and thus practice socialization more often. That might be weird to you since we’re all not supposed be in each other’s presence at the moment. But think about it…in “everyday” life we just take it for granted that we can hang out with whoever and whenever we want. Now that we don’t have that, we miss the opportunity. I’ve already consciously been planning out which friends and family I will reach out to via video chat during this time period…some of whom I have not been in touch with over the years.

That being said, our present state of solitary confinement is pretty well the norm. But this doesn’t have to be a bad thing. When has it ever been bad to have more time for inner-reflection, exploring creativity, meditation or prayer. We can come out of this whole thing more mentally strong, rejuvenated and grounded.

This morning, I was walking back home from my piano studio along Toronto’s Lakeshore and I couldn’t help but notice how many people were out and about along the lake. Many can’t go to the gym or work so there is a necessity to get out. Isn’t it wonderful that we’re all enjoying nature more? (with social distancing of course:))

“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”

I’ve been saying this a lot lately. It’s a cheesy cliché. But it does apply to now. We must all think this way. What other choice do we have?

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