It all happened so quickly. Almost four weeks since lockdown started in Copenhagen, I find myself in deep reflection of what is, what was, and what is yet to come. I feel there is so much to say and so little to say at the same time. Each one of us is going through such unique experiences of this global lockdown in the different countries and personal mindsets and landscapes we occupy.

For myself, I feel deep gratitude for the path of meditation, yoga, and medicine plants and all they have shown me up to this point, to be able to manage the new lifestyle we now find ourselves in. For someone like myself who, for the last five years has moved country twice, travelled frequently with work, facilitating groups and teaching yoga, writing and being a mother to two magical, energetic boys, this time has been healing on many levels. It has been a blessing to spend much one on one time with my children and finally, after so many years, I unpacked my toiletry bag as I know there is no going anywhere for the next while.

Group photo of retreat participants in the Amazon

It has been fascinating to observe how this ‘pandemic’ has been articulated to the world. I myself feel that the way it has been handled has driven a wave of fear through the very fabric of our being. I feel the real virus that is at play here is our fears and how we choose to respond to them. It has been scientifically proven that people’s immune systems become weaker and more prone to sickness when there is huge fear and anxiety about. I really question the way the media has played its part in all that we are seeing right now. There seem to be so many contradicting facts surrounding this virus and the way the world has taken to lockdown and social distancing, and in my reality, it just does not add up. I question the motives of these big corporations like big pharmaceutical companies, who I feel will profit greatly during these times. It would not surprise me if, in a few months time, there is a mandatory vaccine. This is where my level of freedom of choice would be greatly compromised.

Nature, if we have access to it, is the best antidote with boosting our immune systems, bringing us back to what is important and allowing people to have a small rest period during this very challenging time.

Remembering an incredible book I read a few years back, Dispelling Wetiko by Paul Levy. This book is great if you get a chance to read it. It really brings home the importance of how fear can work its way into our very DNA and change the way in which we relate to ourselves and others.

There is a contagious psychospiritual disease of the soul, a parasite of the mind, that is currently being acted out en masse on the world stage via a collective psychosis of titanic proportions. This mind-virus— which Native Americans have called “wetiko”—covertly operates through the unconscious blind spots in the human psyche, rendering people oblivious to their own madness and compelling them to act against their own best interests. Drawing on insights from Jungian psychology, shamanism, alchemy, spiritual wisdom traditions, and personal experience, author Paul Levy shows us that hidden within the venom of wetiko is its own antidote, which once recognised can help us wake up and bring sanity back to our society.”

I am very aware there are people who have died from this Corona virus and I am truly sorry for those tragic losses. As a South African living abroad, my heart feels deeply torn and sore for the people who, well before this corona time, have been living in poverty, dying in large numbers due to violence, lack of food and clean drinking water – but did that ever make the news headlines in the way Corona has? In some countries, like South Africa, it is now illegal to be outdoors at all, unless shopping for food. All exercise and time in nature is prohibited. This feels so wrong to me on many levels. Nature, if we have access to it, is the best antidote with boosting our immune systems, bringing us back to what is important and allowing people to have a small rest period during this very challenging time.


May we have the courage to speak our truths in kindness and not let this lockdown divide us.

Knut Wittkowski, previously the longtime head of the Department of Biostatistics, Epidemiology, and Research Design at the Rockefeller University in New York City, said, “With all respiratory diseases, the only thing that stops the disease is herd immunity. About 80% of the people need to have had contact with the virus, and the majority of them won’t even have recognized that they were infected, or they had very, very mild symptoms, especially if they are children. So, it’s very important to keep the schools open and kids mingling to spread the virus to get herd immunity as fast as possible, and then the elderly people, who should be separated, and the nursing homes should be closed during that time, can come back and meet their children and grandchildren after about 4 weeks when the virus has been exterminated.”

I was speaking with a couple of friends in the last days and what has been present in many of the conversations is that something does not feel right about this situation. What is interesting in this time is that feelings do not seem to hold up against science. What I know to be true for myself it that within his lockdown people’s freedoms have been taken away. The whole social distancing movement does not leave a good taste in my mouth. From the standpoint of mother earth and our lifestyles, Yes, to stopping air travel. Yes, to working from home and slowing down and going within. Yes, to allowing mother nature breathe and claim back her skies, her oceans, her winds, her rivers. My deepest prayer after this lockdown is that we learn to tread more gently on this forest floor.

I respect those around me who wish to do what they need to in order to feel safe during this time, and it’s a great practice for not judging and letting what is, play itself out. I am very aware not to make any decisions during this time based out of fear. I feel so grateful to have family and friends around me who share a similar mindset, and this has been so helpful to keep spirits up during this very challenging time on our planet right now.

Without freedom of speech to criticise, question, and challenge the dominant narrative, societies cannot make progress.
– Elif Shafak