The Medicine of Coronavirus Rupa Marya, MD

The Medicine of Coronavirus
Rupa Marya, MD

Apr 23 · 5 min read

Coronavirus is here. An invisible entity that is changing the rhythm of life as we know it. Many have died. Many more than we know at this point. And many more will get sick and pass. The virus has spread along travel routes that trace the flow of global capital, routes that were established in a time of colonialism when greedy men carved up the world to exert their own will. The traces of this greed have left scars on our relationships to each other and to the ecosystems around us. For a moment, we are seeing what we have been missing.
Stay at Home. Take Care.
The best protection we have at this moment is to avoid its spread, which means to starve the virus. By staying home in the company of those we share life with, we stop it from hopping from person to person and replicating. In the Bay Area, we are flattening that curve. Our collective action in keeping distance and staying home has demonstrated that we can take care of one another in a powerful way. We can radically change the rhythm of our lives in order to look out for one another. This is good medicine to witness.
Stay at Home. Take Care.
For those who cannot stay home because they do not have a home, we are seeing community members speak up and agitate for the first time to get those unhoused sheltered. For those who are incarcerated, we are seeing full-throated calls for freeing them. Even if the awareness was out of self-interest, for the first time, we hear voices unanimously demanding humane solutions. Not a tool shed. Not a warehouse. But private spaces which should be held as permanent housing is found. We are watching the compassion of our people awaken. This is also good medicine to witness.
Stay at Home. Take Care.
What has been fascinating to notice is starving the virus also starves the engine that is destroying the earth. People staying at home has driven the airline industry to the brink of collapse. People staying at home means the fossil fuel industry doesn’t have as many people to buy their poisons. The cost of oil has dropped below $0. This means they have to pay us to take it. But we don’t want it. The air pollution from the cars and airplanes and trucks driving through Oakland drives chronic inflammation in our chests, in our lungs and around our hearts. We want another way. We want more bicycle friendly and human scale transportation. We want accessible electrification of our transportation, so that electric vehicles are available to folks at every level of income. We want poisoning industries to be shut down permanently. And we can shut them down, collectively. But refusing to buy what they are selling. And refusing to continue our lives as we have. We can do things differently. This is powerful medicine to witness.
Stay at Home. Take Care.
And it is isn’t simply the fossil fuel industry, it is those pushing for the economy to reopen when we have not been cleared safely. A death cult that has mistaken money for life energy pushes to move people into harms way, those who are the most vulnerable. It is the healthcare systems that neglect the health and safety of their labor force, the doctors, nurses, cafeteria workers, unit clerks, security workers, janitors and more. We are being told those of us who are sick are getting the virus outside the hospital. Make no mistake — if you work in a hospital, coronavirus is an occupational hazard. We have been told we would be fired for wearing masks. Then told we cannot wear the masks we know we need to. We have been threatened with loss of our jobs for speaking out against these measures. And we have been denied workman’s compensation when we get sick on the job. We are all facing pay cuts now, instead of hazard pay or forgiveness of our crippling student debt. I heard one white physician in her 50s say “I understand how the people of Flint feel now. I feel life my life doesn’t matter.” This is the sickness of our system exposed.
Stay at Home. Take Care.
But we have seen what happens when we collectively stop working for this economy. The stock market collapses. Our federal government pumps trillions of dollars into saving it. I have never seen such expenditure to save the lives of people dying needlessly from lack of healthcare insurance. I have never seen such expenditure to house people sleeping on the streets. Or the cleaning of our ocean waters. But this system cannot hold if we collectively refuse to work for it. We must consider the power of a general strike now, to force the changes we need. Healthcare for everyone. Housing for everyone. Healthy safe food for everyone. A Red New Deal, with indigenous wisdom leading how we care for each other and our relationships to the natural world that supports our very life.
Stay at Home. Take Care.
It is time to put into larger scale practice those economies we have been experimenting with in our life projects over the past several decades. The radical acts of growing our own foods, working with our medicines, reimagining the primacy of food and medicine together. Staying at home doesn’t mean doing nothing. It means doing the all the things that will shore up your community in times of suffering. Because more suffering will come. Coronavirus is the first of a series of global climate shocks that are coming. The people suffering the hardest are the ones whose suffering was built into the architecture of colonialism. Climate collapse is the end-stage of the colonial project. A system that is built upon exploitation and degredation cannot hold. We must dismantle those structures now. Staying at home means mobilizing what gifts you have to share with the people in your midst who don’t have enough. It means imagining economies that matter. Imagining economies where care is centered.
Stay at Home. Take Care.
This coronavirus is humbling. It is showing us things we didn’t know we had the power to do. It is showing us how we can come together by staying apart. It is showing us how by taking up less room, everything else has a chance to recover. Mother Earth is remarkable in her capacity to heal. We just have to give her space to do it. The environmental movement doesn’t need us to do more. It needs us to do less. To pause. To stop running around so much. To stop building so much. To start turning inward to deepen our practice of care. Care for one another. Care for the animals who share this world with us. Care for the air and water who sustain us. Care for the soil that feeds us. It is time for a global culture of care to emerge as a stronger force that any global culture we have seen. It cannot be dictated from any government. It must come from the will of the people all around the world. And it starts in our homes.
Stay at Home. Take Care.

About Suzanne

Suzanne Lewis, editor and manager Wholisticbodymind.com since 2000. Suzanne is a Planetary Peacekeeper, an Agent for Conscious Evolution, a Spiritual Healer, a Mother, a multi - faceted artist (beads, gems to trade beads; guords star seed art; published author and Lover of Life for the sake of All our Relations.
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