Personally I find the situation very distressing: no handshakes, no hugs, no shiatsu. My heart fails to understand. The stories we are being told – and you know them well – tell us (our minds) that it is good to keep the distance.

I make up other stories: our immune system, can’t we just use this to suppress the virus? We’ve been doing it for soooo long. And so we are all trying to come up with our own truths and in the meantime conform to a meter-and-a-half society.

Text: Bart Bloemers | Translation: Katya Shirokaya

Isn’t the medicine worse than the disease?

Touch is so essential in human life. It is a place where body and mind come together. The magic moment of getting together, seeing each other again after a long journey, wrapping them in your arms, giving a hug in a moment of despair. The togetherness that leads to the birth of the new life itself.  How can we do it all at a distance? We will lose it all and our light will cease to exist.

“His light went out and the death is irreversible”

Letting go

Amidst this we-keep-the-distance-from-one-another-times my father died. His light went out and the death is irreversible. Our ways won’t cross again. You would say this is double trouble. It’s ironical that his death has promoted getting together. Wonderful. All the close ones were standing there by his bed in the hospital where a couple of hours earlier even stricter measures had been imposed. And after the cremation, outside, everyone was close by, which had not happened for a long time.

Getting Together

And so I also see families getting together again. Kids are thriving on the attention from their parents, and the bonding grows closer. Also the neighbours. Enjoying the canals, one has enough time for communication and stories and you get to know your neighbours better than ever. In times of tension we become closer together. And there is no other way. 

I think this is an eternal dance. Coming together and letting go. Death and life. One cannot exist without the other. They need each other to exist.

The elastic now stretches to one and a half meters, and maybe even further. We are saying final good byes to our old life, where we could meet carefree and practice shiatsu. This is like the death knocking the door. Everyone reacts differently. It is an exercise in surrendering, mixed with the fear of the unknown. The sensations, be it restlessness, confusion, longing or loneliness. It can also be an invitation to look deeper into your own inner landscape. The realization that the old does not return. Grief is all that is left. Layer by layer. Down to the very bottom.

And be sure, there is no other way, the day will come that we shake hands again, and give each other a hug or even better: shiatsu.


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