Pandemic of Love:
Shelly Tygielski, just showed up at the beginning of the pandemic. She was concerned about the people in her community and decided to try a simple, free, and easy way for people to ask for help and for people to give help. At various times the same person was on each side of that equation. She went on to social media with this post:
Please select one of the options below:
The response was immediate, and before long Pandemic of Love, started by one person in March of 2020, became a global movement. It is now a grassroots, volunteer-led, and formalized mutual aid community.
“Mutual aid” is a voluntary reciprocal exchange of resources and services based on the principle that members of a community should feel responsible to care for one another and aspire to develop a community safety net where no individual goes hungry, no individual is without shelter and no individual feels alone.
The organization was started around a kitchen table on March 14, 2020 by Shelly Tygielski, a Florida meditation teacher as the COVID-19 pandemic began to force closures in communities across the world.
While Pandemic of Love was initially formed to take care of the financial needs that people in need faced due to pandemic-related income loss, the organization has been expanding through local micro-community chapters to meet the different needs that are arising in this unprecedented time that we are living through.
Teams of volunteers are partnering with brands and organizations, assisting communities in need, and joining forces with global movements with the intention of creating sustainable, formalized mutual aid communities all across the world, long after the pandemic is over.
What started with a simple post has become a worldwide movement of Pandemic of Love, with more than 1200 volunteers, over one million five hundred matches and over $40 million dollars in direct help.”
I recently listened to Shelly Tygielski being interviewed. She caught my attention when she spoke about the importance of just showing up. We don’t need to know what to do or say or have a plan. Showing up is what matters. We figure out what needs doing on the job. It reminded me of when people go through catastrophic illnesses and other challenges. We sometimes hesitate to jump in because we feel unqualified or afraid of not knowing what we should say or do. And yet, time and time again, when we brave the unknown and make that call or send a note or knock at the door…we learn that it was the perfectly imperfect thing to do.
My friend Patricia Ryan Madson who wrote Improv Wisdom recommends just showing up. “Showing up is the key principle when we offer service to others. So often it is our presence alone, rather than some special ability, that makes the difference.”
Sometimes we fail to show up for ourselves. We know what we want or need to do but we aren’t in the mood, or we procrastinate or we are afraid. It’s super easy not to do anything. Consider pushing back against that inertia. If a walk is important, show up outside on the sidewalk where you live. Keep it simple. A friend going through a hard time comes into your mind – pick up the phone and say hello.
Many of our good ideas do not see the light of day because we don’t take the first step or the second. Most regrets on our death beds are about what we didn’t do. Not what mistakes we made.
It could happen any time, tornado,
earthquake, Armageddon. It could happen.
Or sunshine, love, salvation.
It could you know. That’s why we wake
and look out–no guarantees
in this life.
But some bonuses, like morning,
like right now, like noon,
– by William Stafford, from The Way It Is: New and Selected Poems © Graywolf Press, 1998.
1:) Link to Pandemic of Love if you are interested.
2:) This word poem is linked to the site where I got YES – one of my favourites.
3:) Some team work from the little clown fish BBC
4:) We keep showing up here, every Wednesday. Thank you! Warm greetings to you all, Trudy