The New PPP: Prophets, Philosophers and Poets

“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage.”

~ Sister Joan Chittister

As we emerge from the darkness of the 2020 pandemic, the devastating physical threat of this virus is beginning to recede, but the emotional, mental and spiritual impacts of the collective trauma wrought by this challenging year have been planted deep in our individual body-mind-spirit systems and into the collective psyche of the world. While scientists and medical experts are providing us the information and expertise we need to understand the nature of the virus and to deliver vaccines and treatments to abate the avalanche of physical suffering and death, the healing of our body-mind-spirit systems requires a different kind of science and medicine.

Like so many, for me this has been a year spent gripped by the breaking news of the day while being stripped of time and mental space by the demands adapting to life inside a global pandemic. In my professional life, I was swallowed up by the demands of my job managing the critical human resources of a large school district whose employees were literally a lifeline for students and families living through the isolation and tumultuous uncertainty that has ruled all of our lives for the past year. The sparsity of blog posts this past year reflects the reality that most of the free space in my mind has been dedicated to understanding the virus, analyzing the threat, and making plans with my colleagues to support students and staff while the sand literally shifted under our feet day-by-day. This survival level of functioning naturally tightens our focus and pares down our activities to allow us to meet the challenges that confront us. But this narrowing of life takes its toll physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually, and our energy and mood today likely reflects the struggles we have all faced in adapting again and again to the pernicious path this global pandemic has cut through the heart of life across the globe.

But it appears clear that there are better days on the horizon and seeds of hope are germinating like spring flowers with the potential for a return to the connections, life rhythms and daily rituals we are all yearning for to restore a sense of meaning and purpose to our lives. But even with better days ahead, there is no denying that this pandemic has turned life upside down and has ravaged the structures and certainties of our lives and communities like a ferocious tornado that tears through the heart of a community. We can all be grateful as the storm quiets, but we are left with the ravaged str