Alexandra Grace Derwen (aka Alexandra Wilson) was on pilgrimage in Spain when the coronavirus pandemic broke out. She recounts on her Facebook page her harrowing journey out of Spain back to the U.K. – a journey on buses and trains, where she caught the coronavirus disease.
She was then seriously ill for 5 days, during which, she says, “I felt it was a distinct possibility that I was going to die.”
In her professional life, Alexandra is a “death doula” helping people prepare for death, and helping those left behind, to grieve. She is also a prophetess and a seer. You can read her thoughts about death in western culture in this remarkable paper, and you can listen to her two previous interviews with me (Part 1, Part 2).
Her encounter with the coronavirus yielded insights, which she is only beginning to be able to articulate:
“In the unseen realms, the way is becoming clearer. … We have not attended, for several centuries, to the unseen space, the in-between space – the Bardo, as the Buddhists call it – and that has been toxically plugged for a long time. It felt to me that many new doors and windows were opening. There was a lot more space in the unseen realms. A great lightness came upon me; an almost ‘amniotic’ feeling of floating, and a sense of enormous potential.”
Listen to her report of her conversation with the virus.
Peter Wicks knows grief. He lost his beloved wife to cancer, which upended his world. Then, he discovered Deep Adaptation, where people come together to grieve the loss of the future we thought we had.
Now, in the face of global cataclysm, Peter contemplates how grief leads to compassion. In this interview, Peter combines a sharp intellect, deep feelings, and a philosophical outlook to map a course toward love and compassion, even in the face of unimaginable loss.
Peter worked on environmental policy for the European Union for 16 years. He serves as a moderator for the Positive Deep Adaptation Facebook group.
This interview with Dr. Aimee Maxwell was recorded February 4, 2020, which seems like another era, before the coronavirus had risen to absorb the attention of the entire world.
I went to Aimee for advice about how I could sleep better, because anxiety about climate change (how quaint!) was keeping me awake at night. I asked Aimee: “What are people supposed to do if they stop sleeping, because of impending doom?”
She surprised me by advising that, before dealing with my racing thoughts, I should help my body remember that it is a product of primate evolution. To sleep well, I must restore my body’s harmony with the natural rhythms of the day.
Aimee Maxwell is a practicing psychologist and a moderator of the Positive Deep Adaptation Facebook group. She lives in Melbourne, Australia, where she is witnessing the effects on her community of the massive bushfires in that country.
Aimee’s house is safe from the fires, for the moment. However, she feels in herself and in others the primal anxiety caused by such a huge, existential threat.
In this interview, Aimee provides responses which are both practical and contemplative.
She provides extensive practical advice about how to cope with anxiety in a crisis, including breathing practices and physical exercises. She discusses her own struggle with “adrenaline belly,” and gives a useful overview of how the adrenal system drives our brain to protect us.
Aimee also contemplates the meaning of the disaster – in the context of Deep Adaptation, and in the larger context of how human beings should respond to these unprecedented and unimaginable threats.
(A note on the temperatures that Aimee refers to: 42 degrees Celsius is 107 degrees Fahrenheit. 47 Celsius is 116 Fahrenheit.)