For the Love of Toilet Paper

The Covid storm has a way of bringing out the best of us and the worst of us. We’ve all seen the barren shelves of paper goods, and perhaps have even watched the toilet paper showdowns online.

Covid has broken the unrelenting pace of normal life and is clearly revealing the disfuctional patterns of our society. Desperation and a “me first” mentality are leading people to cling to a sense of control over our most primal, bodily functions. But consideration of others and the greater awareness that we are in this together can be eclipsed in moments of panic.

Got TP?

Our reactions to Covid aren’t just revealing the hairline cracks of our societies. Covid also gives us an opportunity for extraordinary altruisim. I vividly remember in the months after 9-11, NYʻers were exceptionally cooperative, to the point that people were holding the doors for each other in the NYC subway. This was in stark contrast to the rush hour cramming, yelling and shoving that Iʻd experienced in the past. We came together because our everyday conflicts and differences paled in comparison to a greater challenge. Suddenly, we were all in the same boat and our common humanity was felt.

However, Covid is unique in that it’s impacting the entire world. We have a unique opportunity to come together like never before. In Native American/First Nations cultures, there’s an emphasis placed on the collective well being of a community. In the Mohawk language (a tribe indigenous to New York, Ontario and Quebec), the term Akwe:kon (a-gway-go) means “All of Us”. It’s an invitiation of inclusion and a sharing of responsibility across all members of a community. It comes with an expectation that we all come together and do our part. I’ve already seen how neighbors are coming together in the spirit of “All of us” by checking in on each other and sharing supplies.

The question becomes “what can I do to help?” The first step is seeing your self-isolation as an intentional retreat from the hectic pace of your life. Utilize this time to look at your life from 10 steps back. What gift is waiting to be discovered inside of you that wasn’t able to be seen when you were running from one obligation to the next? What new insight about your personal priorities is trying to get your attention, but couldn’t reach you when you were busier? As we become clear on what inner gifts are emerging, you will have a better idea of what you want to share with others and how you want to share it. Take a deep inhale and let clarity happen.

After speaking with a few clinicians, the consensus is that Covid wants nothing to do with your anus. None of the flu symptoms impact this area of your body. So perhaps the first act of sharing could be to give your neighbor some toilet paper if you happened to be able to buy it at the store.

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