Sunday, March 22, 2020

22.03.2020 | A Journal of Resilience: a Walk in Riverside Park

Sun setting framed by the 69th Street Transfer 

Today was a cool sunny day. I am taking any opportunity to be outdoor for a power walk, until is still feasible. Upper West Side streets are almost empty, the majority of stores and restaurant are closed; it feels eerie, considering the usual density of the city. During my walks I am mindful of the six-foot radius of "social distancing" which I prefer to call "spatial awareness. When I encounter other people I extend my arms, spanning about 65" and twist from the waist, with my back facing the other passerby, making sure that there is at least one-foot gap from the tip of my finger tip. If anybody else would do it the six-foot radius would be respected.

Differently from street parks are crowded and people seem to ignore "social distancing". New York City has been declared the US epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic, with over 15000 confirmed cases, an exponential growth in the past week. Governor Cuomo gave a powerful briefing this morning, which confirmed my observations. He stated "This is not life as usual...And this kind of density, we talk about social distancing, I was in these parks. You would not know that anything was going on. It's a mistake. It's insensitive, it's arrogant. It's self-destructive. It's disrespectful to other people."

Sadly once again even in this unprecedented crisis people in the city are disrespectful of others. But I still enjoy the five mile walk and the view of the sun setting by the Hudson River. I return home and I practice my usual mindful movement practice in the icosahedron.

I am grateful for still being healthy and resilient. The brutal divorce perhaps taught to appreciate solitude.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

19.03.2020 | A Journal of Resilience: a Different Vernal Equinox Celebration

The March equinox will occur tonight at 11:49 pm EDT (21 March at 3:49 am UTC). It is the earliest spring arrival in 124 years. But this year the arrival of spring is almost unnoticed when the annual worldwide celebration are canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The news are alarming: the death toll in my country, Italy, have surpassed China reaching the number of 3405. 

I usually I celebrate the solar annual events—solstices and equinoxes—in a small gathering of people with participatory performative actions at sunset. This year of course it will not happen: "social distancing" is a recurrent term in the current vocabulary, addressing precautions that everybody should follow: staying at least six feet away from other people lessens chances of being infected by the COVID-19 virus."

Spatial awareness is inspired by Rudolph Laban’s concept of kinesphere, which wa clearly defined in Choreutics as the spherical space surrounding the human body and reachable by extension of arms and legs (Laban 1966, 10), without stepping away from that place which is the point of support when standing on one foot, which we shall call the "stance." He defines the kinesphere also as a personal space that changes as we step away from it—and define a new stance. The sphere surrounding our moving body is always with us “like an aura” (Laban 1966, 10).

Sunday, March 15, 2020

15.03.2020 | Covid-19 | Journal of Resilience: Walking

Strivers Row in the St. Nicholas District in Harlem
Today has been the last day of usual life, perhaps in weeks or months? It was a quiet sunny day and I enjoyed, walking through historic Harlem, starting in Sugar Hill. During my strolls, I passed by St. Nicholas Park and the Hamilton Grange National Memorial, the country home in Alexander Hamilton's Harlem estate.

Strivers Row, West139 Street

I also attended two vernissages, the first one in Sugar Hill, at the interesting space MBnb, hosting the Broodthaers Society of America, devoted to scholarly work about Marcel Broodthaers. The second vernissages was at White Box in East Harlem and it was quite timely, titled "Exodus II : Unhinging the Great Wall: Chinese Art Revealed"

From WhiteBox space in East Harlem.
 On my way back home I heard the news about closing of bars and restaurants starting at 9pm tonight in NYC.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

14.03.2020 | Pandemic COVID-19: a Journal of Resilience

While the COVID-19 pandemic expands, its awareness in the US overcomes the months-long denial. Finally extremely serious concerns prevails on financial interests. Yet the fine line between awareness and panic is often crossed. Irrational fears take over the necessary precautions and measures: panic shopping and toilet paper shortage are some of examples. If dealing with a pandemic related to respiratory illness may promote shopping of masks and sanitizers, it is puzzling the insane rushing to purchase toilet paper: on the bright side, at least in the US we have not witnessed yet related robberies.

My mailbox is flooded with cancellations of events including closure of main cultural and art venues. My social life heavily has been relying on NewYork cultural life as a single woman, recently divorced, and still dealing with PTSD caused by bullying and abuse. But I am also daily performing meditative practices developing resilience to the multitude of stressors and challenges I have faced in the past five years.

In the dystopian time, mindfulness and mindful movement, is more than ever essential to well-being. In the effort of acceptance of this new totally unexpected world order I decided to share my journal, which I started in 2014, as a means of emotional survival. I called it "journal of daily survival"; every day I record even a simple small action to transform a negative thought or emotion into a positive creative endeavor. With the coronavirus the effort is in transforming social distancing into spatial awareness. Today I have been revaluing outdoor activities, returned to power walking in my moving meditations in Riverside park. It is a beautiful mild sunny day, spring is approaching. My destination is the tennis courts at 120 Street; but it does not matter if will be able to find a court, I am just enjoying every moment of my walk, here and now, looking at the shimmering light reflected by the Hudson river. I forget about the pandemic.

Today a friend forwarded a post quite popular in Italy:
"L' Italia è come quella tipa che ha più talento di tutti, è come quella che le altre se le mangia, perché è nata bella, più bella di tutte e le altre se le asfalta. L' Italia è come quella più ingegnosa, che ha le mani di una fata, che si inventa mille cose, perché è piena di risorse. Sa discutere di storia, di mare, di montagne, sa di cibo, di buon vino, di dialetti, di pittori, di scultori, di scrittori, di eccellenze nella scienza, non c'è niente che non sa. E quando questa tipa bella e talentuosa inciampa e cade, la platea delle sfigate esulta. È la rabbia delle poverine ingelosite, quelle al buio, perché lei è comunque bella anche quando cade a terra. Ma l'Italia è una tipa con stivale tacco 12, ovviamente made in Italy, che nessuna sa portare meglio di lei... solo il tempo di rialzarsi.”

Friday, March 13, 2020

13.03.2020 | COVID-19 Pandemic Update

13.03.2020 | State & Politics of a Pandemic

Yesterday, Thursday 12 March 2020, the Governor of New York State Andrew Cuomo declared statewide restrictions on public gatherings in the effort to limit the spreading of the coronavirus (COVID-19)  In the late afternoon Mayor Bill de Blasio also declared state of emergency in New York City. Events involving gathering more than 500 people are banned, including sport and cultural events, concert halls, museums and Broadway theaters. This ban effects multi-billion dollar industries and arrives late considering the worldwide pandemic. It is puzzling how disclosure of cases and measures arrives only in the past few days—in a cosmopolitan city like New York, with perhaps the greatest density and opportunity of human contacts. The recent call for hygiene provoked by this extreme crisis also makes us wonder why these simple easy measures, which helps to prevent many other diseases, have been previously ignored and only now promoted.

According to today update there are 139,018 cases with 5,116 deaths, 70,727 recovered, 80,815 cases China and 15,113 in Italy. More statistics are here

Illustration of ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses. By CDC/ Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAM - This media comes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Public Health Image Library (PHIL), with identification number #23312.

However, even in this pandemic which has been unprecedented in modern history politics seems dominated the channels of information. A few examples of information not disclosed.

  • Several severe cases successfully treated by Tocilizumab, a drug commonly used to treat rheumatoid arthritis. The oncologist Paolo Ascierto of the Italian Naples' Pascale Hospital stated the drug has been effective to treat pneumonia caused by COVID-19. The drug is also in clinical trials in Wuhan.
In this worldwide health and financial crisis reaffirms the importance of individual agency and critical thinking. It is the only way to survival not only from the objective pandemic but also from fears.