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The Pandemic Paradox


We’re surrounded by sickness

Hiding from a hideous bug

While flowers bloom

And Spring spreads its wings.

Crises can narrow our vision

But crises can also be a catalyst

For reflection and learning.

Crises can push us

To hold on to old ways,

But they can also pull us

To explore new ways.

Crises can isolate us,

But they can also

Bring us together.

Crises can make us risk averse,

But they can also

Motivate us to be bold

And take more risk.

Let’s not just

Settle for bouncing back.

Instead, let’s view crises

As a launchpad

So we can spring together

To new levels of achievement.


Martha Jennings

April 18, 2020at 1:58 pm

The Japanese have a word “ma” for the space in between, or interval which gives shape to the whole. In the West we don’t have such a word. But as a musician, I think of a violinist whose pause is an essential part of her playing. The days between Good Friday and Easter Sunday are also the space in between. Its a time of rebirth, or deliberate space between work and action, form. So, as in your poem (which is excellent) let’s embrace the ma, or the space in between, where nothing moves for awhile except our hearts and minds to explore creatively.

    Luis Villa

    May 11, 2020at 6:25 am

    Dear Martha, there is an interesting concept: Liminality (being in the threshold). I do strategy and design and use it in my way of working and structuring change. I have created a framework because it applies from the personal level to a Macro level. I Didn’t know about the Japanese concept… as a sociology aficionado, I try to see what are the commonalities and what is not changing. I love to see how different cultures and times use concepts that feel current. The pandemic is a liminal state (health crisis) between another liminal state (sustainability and economic model change). That creates lots of anxiety but also a sense of community and opportunity.

    Cheers from Madrid

    According to Wikipedia:

    “In anthropology, liminality (from the Latin word līmen, meaning “a threshold”) is the quality of ambiguity or disorientation that occurs in the middle stage of a rite of passage, when participants no longer hold their pre-ritual status but have not yet begun the transition to the status they will hold when the rite is complete. During a rite’s liminal stage, participants “stand at the threshold” between their previous way of structuring their identity, time, or community, and a new way, which completing the rite establishes.”


April 1, 2020at 12:16 am


Lee Stein

March 27, 2020at 2:39 pm


Here, in my home, it is as though we are living in a slow motion movie.

Not a good movie. Many precious moments. But uncertainty pervades at a level not previously part of my awareness.

Today we had to leave the house to go to a pharmacy wearing N95 masks and rubber gloves and alcohol spray.

At first it just seemed that we were just being super prudent. And then there was a moment when we realized this is not a dress rehearsal. And realized that we are the movie. For real.

And nobody knows IF or WHEN it might ever end. There is a chance this is the steady state.

The new new? or Worse?

Invisible Death lurking from anywhere. And everywhere.

Not a nightmare. Not yet.

But I have now experienced Surreal. It used to be just a word. Surreal is now an emotional state.

Be safe my love.
Be safe my child.
All be safe.

Profound Love.

/lee 17 March 2020

David Schatz

March 26, 2020at 4:39 pm

What a terrific poem, John. I can’t help but think of the conversation I initiated with you this month!

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