The other day I went on a Downtown Adventure at what used to be Peace Park, but is now the south area of Cowles Commons. It’s a lovely space, featuring prairie plants and native trees. There are inscriptions on long, low, stone walls snaking through the park. Many of the quotes were familiar, but a few were new; as were the speakers. A few themes jumped out at us that we may not always associate with peace.
A sense of belonging may not be at the top of everyone’s mind as the delta variant of Covid-19 is causing a surge in Iowa and Polk County. But community, a sense of belonging, is one of the cornerstones of the Central Iowa Yoga Retreat, and it’s less than two months away. How do we promote that sense of community when we need to socially distance? Mask up? Should we gather people at all?
According to one of my favorite sources of youth development research, a sense of belonging is one of the most essential needs of humans. We also need to feel power over our lives, belief in our own abilities and a sense of generosity. Seems to me Covid has challenged our ability to satisfy all of those needs.
Along with feeling isolated, we face situations that challenge our sense of reality. Science is by nature a progression of questions and answers. As scientists learn the answer to one question, they begin asking the next one. Sometimes it’s hard to trust our ability to make informed decisions.
I’ve read, and continue to read a number of resources I trust. One of my standards is that they update information as the science grows. Everyone has their own sources, and that goes with our needs for mastery and independence. We just need to make sure they are reliable, fact/science-based resources. Here are some of the ones I use; see what you think–
- J. Stacey Klutts, Special Assistant to the National Director of Pathology and Lab Medicine, Veterans Affairs
- CDC guidelines for protecting ourselves and others
- Iowa Public Radio
- New York Times
Then there’s the question of independence and generosity. Humans have both needs. And sometimes it seems they bump up against each other. I value the freedom to wear a mask or get a jab, but I also consider (generously) how it affects my friends, family and others.
Add how I feel about risk to all of this and the daily decisions become even more complicated. I’m not a terribly risk-averse person, and I respect others less willing to take risks than I am. I am not alone in being more concerned about passing the virus to someone else than getting sick myself.
So here we are in a very serious dilemma. And here is where I stand as the current Covid crisis affects the Central Iowa Yoga Retreat and other programming coming up this fall and winter. We’ll have the retreat. We’ll do our best to mitigate the risks, and the risks of just doing yoga and going about our lives.
As we go forward with the Retreat, teaching yoga classes and facilitating programs, I will wear a mask, but not require others to wear one. I got my second vaccination on St. Patrick’s Day back in March and will get a booster in November if that’s still what the science recommends. I believe being vaccinated is my best defense against getting really sick from the virus, and wearing a mask is my best defense against sharing the virus if I do get it.
Let us know what you think; there’s still time to change our minds.