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Natural Awakenings Atlanta

Coronavirus Wave #752

Sep 02, 2021 06:00AM ● By Paul Chen

Just a few months ago, our near future looked bright. The light at the end of the tunnel was strong, restaurants were opening, and I attended my first indoor show since February 2020.

Turns out the light was the headlamp of the monstrous freight train called the Delta variant. And we felt the impact almost immediately.

Now, our magazine cover photo shoots are usually fun events. Subjects relish the opportunity and attention offered them; managing editor Diane Eaton and I always enjoy meeting our cover subjects and placing them in the very best light; our photographers are always gracious and professional.

But this issue’s shoot was pummeled repeatedly by the Delta variant.

We were planning to have three people on the cover this month. One candidate fell through just as we were finalizing the schedule. The person we’d tapped to replace her was not vaccinated and sent regrets. Finally, we arranged for a third person to fill that spot, so we rescheduled the shoot—itself, some undertaking—to accommodate her.

And then, two days before the shoot, she told us she tested positive for COVID. Holding out hope, she tested again. Positive again.

So, we proceeded with only two of our three intended cover subjects.

But more than the shoot was negatively impacted. One of our cover subjects, Elsie Brotherton, owner of several studios under the Highland Yoga brand, had been the object of a wave of anti-vax sentiment. After surveying practitioners at each studio, and in accordance with the wishes of each studio’s audience, she issued a policy requiring proof of vaccination at two studios, required it at some classes at the third studio, and made no proclamation about it pertaining to the fourth.

When some students that attended that studio heard about the proof of vaccination requirement at two of the other locations, they decided to quit “on principle.” After 19 months of navigating the pandemic and after coming close to quitting, the accumulated anxiety and trauma of dealing with the virus every single day began to manifest upon Elsie’s countenance.

But the Delta still variant wasn’t done messing with us.

Last night, I received word from an event that we are sponsoring, the Get Off the Grid Fest in Chattanooga, Tennessee. “We’re moving forward with the festival,” said the email, “but it will primarily be a non-public event. We’ll honor current ticket purchases. But ticket sales will be cut off tonight.”

With one decision, festival management cut their anticipated attendance in half, which translates into tens of thousands of dollars of lost revenue. I can only imagine how difficult the decision was to make. Not only will they lose revenue, many sponsors and vendors will have sunk resources into the event.

There’s more. This morning, I received a voice message from a customer to whom I had given a booth at the festival. She had received a similar email from festival management. It sealed her decision to pull out. She had been wavering because a friend’s funeral was scheduled during the festival; COVID-19 had taken his life.

A few minutes later, another customer called to tell me he was with his brother, who was lying on his deathbed, yet another victim of the deadly pandemic.  

I have many emotions when it comes to the coronavirus—most of them negative, of course—and that is the issue. The spiritual challenge in any situation is to find acceptance, to have a peaceful and happy mind regardless of circumstance. While some of us believe our minds create our realities, the parallel perspective seems more difficult to believe: that our collective minds create our collective realities.

I was reminded about this in a very stark and direct way while listening to the audiobook of Christ Returns, Speaks His Truth: The Christ Letters. “Realize your own strong conscious impulses, our life impulses; they are highly creative electromagnetic impulses. When they are of a violent, aggressive, murderous nature, they emit electrical particles of virulent, violent, aggressive, murderous consciousness, which take form as virulent viruses in the air... What is born and nurtured in the diseased mind eventually takes on form in the physical world.”

The Law of Attraction is that: A law. We create what we think about and feel. It’s up to us, individually and collectively, to think and feel in ways that benefit ourselves... And others.

It’s time to get aboard a different train. ❧

Paul Chen has been owner/publisher of Natural Awakenings Atlanta franchise since January 2017. He is a practicing Buddhist and a founding member of East Lake Commons, a cohousing community.

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