By Ajay Dahiya

“We will not go back to normal. Normal never was. Our pre-corona existence was not normal other than we normalized greed, inequity, exhaustion, depletion, extraction, disconnection, confusion, rage, hoarding, hate and lack. We should not long to return, my friends. We are being given the opportunity to stitch a new garment. One that fits all of humanity and nature.”
-Sonya Renee Taylor

 

A Buddhist Monk

Catherine LeComte – Saiklod: A Buddhist Monk For A Better World

If you are like me, you probably never want to hear the word ‘unprecedented’ ever again.

Yet it is true that we are living through a significant (and as much as I hate to say it, unprecedented) moment in history: a global collective pause of most every element of modern life. So many are wondering when we will go back to “normal,” but almost from the start I’ve found myself echoing the words of Sonya Renee Taylor, wondering what this concept of “normal” really is.

Is persistent inequality on almost all levels (race, gender, sexual orientation, income) normal?

Is apathy and disconnection from the suffering of others normal?

Is violence normal?

Life before COVID was hurried; overcrowded with overwork, overeating, overscheduling, overthinking… “over” just about everything for a great many people.

Perhaps in this great collective pause, we have a moment without those distractions to think about what it would mean to build the kind of “normal” that was worth returning to.

What if social change came not just from reactions to extreme events, but from acting on a vision of an unrealized future that comes from a clear view of injustices in the present?

In the coming weeks, I will use this platform to talk about how my team and I are approaching this question at The Pollination Project. I will walk through our theory of change, step by step, and describe how we view our role in building a kinder, more compassionate “normal.”