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The Path We Choose in Uncertain Times

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“Relax, everything is out of control”
Dr. Gabor Mate shared these words, quoting a Buddhist teacher, in a recent interview with Russell Brand.
As the world reacts to the novel coronavirus outbreak, it is becoming clear that the social and economic aftershocks will be vast. At Hollyhock, we have made the hard decision to postpone our season opening by one month, and it is not yet clear what the future will hold. This will have devastating effects on our island staff and community as employment becomes more uncertain and services shut down.
As Hollyhock’s Communications Manager, I join a regular staff meeting every Monday morning. In our meeting this week, our CEO asked each staff person to share one word to describe how we were feeling. My heart sunk as I heard the responses around our (digital) circle. Anxious. Numb. Devastated. Heartbroken. This coming from one of the most resilient and optimistic “can-do” teams I know. 
The road ahead will not be easy.
When things are uncertain and challenging, it is tempting to hit the “panic” button. But perhaps we are being called to something deeper. 
I have seen two main responses to the crisis, and I believe that we have a choice down which route to go.
One response is to panic and interpret “social distancing” as “every person for themselves.” This route involves hoarding, blaming, racism and violence, and flippant inconsideration for others.
The other response is to relax and lean into community, wisdom, and inspiration. I’ve been astonished at the creativity and adaptability of so many people, who continue to stay in contact and build community in these times of separation. They are offering free online yoga and meditation sessions, organizing digital dance parties and gatherings, providing live virtual music concerts, and supporting one another with basic needs and human connection at a time where it is too easy to feel alone. 
Now, more than ever, we are called to be kinder to one another. We are called to use this pause to remember the things that really matter. How do we want the world to look back in history on the actions we take now, and on the state of presence we offer one another?
You are not alone in this. Many of our presenters are offering free online support and resources, including:

As an organization that specializes in gathering people together, our responsibility to you is no different in this time: To create, curate, and host inspiring, meaningful experiences that provide both the inner and outer skills for personal growth and social transformation.
We are delighted to announce the launch of a new free webinar series Hollyhock Talks: Sheltering in Community. This 6-week interactive online series will help you centre, calm, and connect, in order to process the enormity of what is happening in our world right now. The sessions will be hosted by Hollyhock Board Vice Chair Karen Mahon Carrington, and each week we will feature different Hollyhock presenters.
Join us on Thursdays at 8:30-10:00am PST. Learn more and RSVP to the March 26th session on Deep Listening here.
A number of our postponed Spring programs will be rescheduled for the Fall, including Metta Vipassana and Wim Hof Method. In addition, we are launching our first virtual conference next month, Social Venture Institute Virtual! We are learning how to maintain the connective, experiential magic that Hollyhock offers, even in the digital space. You may learn more about Hollyhock’s COVID-19 response here.
I hope you’ll join us in choosing and creating that second path of coming together, especially amidst isolation and uncertainty. Let us know how else we may support you at this time.

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