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Holistic Healing and COVID-19 (Part 2: Community, National and Global Healing and Transformation)

Updated: Jul 5, 2021

This is the second blog post which will deal with the beneficial role that holistic healing can play during the Covid-19 pandemic and beyond. It will focus upon community, national and global healing and transformation. Not only has Covid-19 brought a growing crisis around the world, but there has also been many opportunities and examples of healing and transformation. Holistic healing emphasizes values of connection, interconnection, linkages, reciprocity/mutuality, wholeness, balance and harmony, and change/social change (for more details see our Holistic Healing Book).

Community Healing and Transformation:

This pandemic emphasizes the need for a more collectivist society as part of community, national, and global holistic healing. We need to be there for each other. Many stress that by working together and seeing our collective responsibility we can get through this crisis. People are trying to reach out and connect. WHO emphasizes the importance of physical distancing not social distancing since it is vital that people still remain connected. We are highly dependent on each others' actions for success. We are part of a broader whole with mutual interdependence of citizenship. We are learning how important we are to each other with remarkable examples of people helping people in their communities.

Many are also seeking out ways to help their local communities and those most severely impacted by the pandemic ...

Sophie Dodd

Nevertheless, there are extensive examples of exclusion, divisions and self-interest during this pandemic with increasing conflicts in some countries including the United States.

The horrific death by police of George Floyd and many others has highlighted during this period institutional racism in our society and police brutality and how we need to act collectively to bring about social change. Geographic communities and "communities of interest" such as professional sports athletes have come together to organized and protest against racism. Many civil rights leaders including Sherrilyn Ifill are calling this the 'tipping point' of outrage to social injustices against people who are Black. She explains that massive protests have occurred in a scope that we have not seen for at least half a century to protest the never ending trauma of police violence and shootings. People have come together locally, nationally and across the world to support Black Lives Matter to tackle systemic racism, to promote social change and to heal from ongoing oppressions. At the same time President Trump encouraged a mob of White supremacists to take over the Congressional building and reassert their power. Social justice is central to the process of healing.

National Healing and Transformation:

Holistic healing is vital for national healing. For example, over the past three decades there have been over 40 countries that have undertaken Truth and Reconciliation Commissions including in South Africa, Canada and New Zealand to heal from collective trauma although the results have been mixed. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Canada highlighted the devastating impacts of residential schools and the impact of continued colonization. Now there is growing pressure to establish a national commission in the United States to highlight the hundred of years of injustices suffered by African Americans, create a process of healing and provide some form of reparation.

During the Covide-19 crisis a research survey shows that 95% of the population in Denmark and 88% of people in Canada felt that their government had done a good job in their pandemic response, while only 47% felt the same in the United States. Roughly 72% of people in Denmark actually felt that the country was more united than prior to the virus, while 77% of Americans felt their country was even more divided. Clearly the federal government and regional leaders can not only be effective in reducing the virus, but they can do it in a way that promotes connections and interconnections, rather than conflicts and divisions and thus helps bring about national healing. For instance, the Trump administration has created conflicts and divisions. In contrast, the Biden-Harris Presidency in the U.S. has made a commitment to national healing which includes promoting social justice. Leaders such as the Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern, has shown what is possible during this crisis to unite people and promote health.

Global Healing and Transformation:

There are profound global shifts going on as we learn that we can all rise together. We are being forced to stop and think about one another. Unease, can lead to searching and finding another way. It can bring us closer together as a world community since we have a common goal of dealing with this virus and preventing and tackling health issues in the future too. It is encouraging us to think as global citizens and citizens of the human race. Many stress that we are one world and we can win together. What happens in different communities or regions in a country have a great impact upon each other. Plus, what happens outside our boarders of our country impacts us no matter what we do inside. We must consider all countries including the poorest. The World Health Organization emphasizes that this virus will not be eradicated until it is in all countries of the world.

None of us are safe until all of us are safe. The potential for continued waves of infection of COVID-19 across the globe demands that every single person on the planet be protected from this disease.

World Health Organization

During lockdowns around the world we reduced our pollution and intrusion into nature. Nature started bouncing back and recovering. It shows us what is possible by living in greater balance and harmony with nature. Perhaps, this experience may ultimately save the world, but we need to act now including ending live animal markets through the world and protecting nature as a whole.

Nature is sending us a message with the coronavirus pandemic and the ongoing climate crisis...
Inger Andersen

This crisis is forcing us to feel the impact of this situation over a long period of time. It goes beyond our thinking intellectually about our issues with our mind alone. It is through experiencing this situation mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually that we might change and evolve as a human race. We need to evolve from focusing upon accumulation, consumption, greed, isolation and separation towards a spirit of connection, interconnection and viewing the whole of humanity.

The unthinkable is now thinkable. Positions are shifting... Austerity conservatives are approving trillions of dollars for healthcare and emergency spending... Leading business publications are calling for a deep reform of capitalism. Most importantly, the political focus has shifted from individual consumption to collective wellbeing...but for how long?
Jonathan Watts

Nevertheless, many of these initial feels of working together have turned into conflicts, discord and divisions. We can increasingly see the impacts of conflicts and self-interests. However, we still have the choice of following a path of healing or one of division. We have the opportunity to construct a healthier world now and in the future.

Sustained Social Action and Change:

The world is crying out for us to stop the direction we are heading. Our approach and paradigm is no longer sustainable. We require new values and ways of thinking. We live in a world that is divisive, oppressive, and dehumanizing. Holistic practices and ideas bring ways of healing our own lives, working for social change, and promoting equality, human rights, decolonization, peace, and sustainability.

There are many practical insights that we can gain from this crisis including knowing how best to tackle concrete situations like this in the future and being better prepared. It is highlighting some of the issues of Indigenous peoples around the world, racialized communities, people who are homeless, prisoners, individuals in refugee camps and those in nursing homes, etc. It is raising specific issues requiring action as well as broad issues about capitalism, dealing with racism, colonization, inequalities, etc. Police violence against racialized communities and systemic racism have been a major focus. Black Lives Matter has advocated freedom, liberation and justice against the impacts of anti-Blackness.

We recommit to healing ourselves and each other, and to co-creating alongside comrades, allies, and family a culture where each person feels seen, heard, and supported.
Black Lives Matter

Naomi Klein and many others emphasize that people need to get organized now to deal with the crisis of the Coronavirus and injustices in our world. There is great opportunities for change. They explain that during major crises changes are most likely to occur, either progressive or oppressive. They stress that capitalism is in a crisis as we can see from the impacts of the major cuts to health care and inequalities which have made this crisis worse. We need to think and act boldly. Our issues in the world are much greater than a virus. Our health as a human race must be conceived in much broader terms than strictly medicine.

We should stop our present path before we have a nuclear war, totally destroy our environment or continue to oppress and divide people. Each one of us needs to take action now. We need to recognize that we can evolve as a human race and promote our commonalities and come together whether it is in coalitions or as a society as a whole. These changes are not easy. There are powerful interests at work, but we can also see our need to collaborate as a planet around our health, human rights and other key issues. The Great Depression was an example of people experiencing a common phenomena, coming together and workers and others taking actions resulting in major progressive social policies. Considerable social change has occurred in history when we viewed and acted on our collective interests. There is an opportunity for a new direction with a plan for reconstruction after Covid-19. This pandemic with all of its challenges and suffering offers us a great opportunity for change in the future. We need to work collectively to better prevent and respond to global health crises. However, we need to get organized now, develop coalitions for social change and create progressive concrete social policies.

There is hope for deep transformative change at individual, community, national and global levels, through reflection and sustained social action we can emerge better than before.

What are your views and reactions? Please add your comments below and share.

February, 2021 Blog by Peter Dunn, PhD

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