River's Approach to Reopening
Since I first learned about COVID‑19 the day SXSW was cancelled in early March, 2020, I have let care about our collective health drive my decision making: care for my loved ones, care for my clients and collaborators, and care for our communities.
My first step was to turn toward my most trusted independent doctors and health sources to determine the risks and potential harm of the virus, which I have continued to learn about since that time.
I’ve gone through many phases from deep shock, to stillness, listening, prayer, visioning, to grief and mourning as some close to me fall sick and depart this world, to inspiration and awe at the opportunity laid before us in this transition.
During the shut down, I’ve spent hours on most days researching the virus and our socio-political decision-making. I made and posted a couple of extended videos to be transparent about my process, and share what I’ve learned.
And I have cancelled events. Dozen of events. To comply with government orders, and to maintain physical and emotional safety inside our communities.
My goal now is to support whoever wants to join me in continuing to learn, continuing to stay connected, continuing to stay creative, and continuing to stay healthy. I am ready to step up in new ways to support you.
As establishments around the globe have begun to open their doors again, I want to share how I plan to carry forward my commitment to care. How it’s informing my decisions, the steps I’m taking to keep everyone who visits my spaces safe, and things that might change.
My commitment is to only move forward with reopening while I’m confident we can safely return to gathering in community. I look at mountains of data — and I depend on information exclusively from non-corporate sponsored sources.
These are not decisions I rush into — and reopening in no way means that I won't change again should safety conditions warrant.
When I do take this step to reopen my private sessions and events — you’ll find the same warm welcome that was there before.
We will comply with government orders relating to the numbers of people who can gather, which will make our events a little more exclusive and intimate. Whether to social distance will be up to you, to the extent there is room in our physical space. Face coverings will be optional, subject to your personal preference and comfort level.
If you have any physical symptoms such as fever or cough, I ask that you remain home and wait to join us until your symptoms are safely behind you. This has not been a problem in any events I’ve organized over the past 20 years and I do not expect it to be a problem now.
I believe that cultivating our health and wellness through the healing power of human touch is needed now more than ever. So I’ve also taken this time to consider how I can serve your needs more effectively whether online or in person.
At first I imagined we might go back to the way it was, freely gathering and connecting in groups large and small at will. Now I understand that we have turned a page, and I feel it’s time to open a conversation about the future.
How will we continue to learn and grow, and cultivate the healing power of human touch, as we also adapt to these permanent shifts in our society?
As I begin to create opportunities for us to learn and grow together online for the first time, I remain more dedicated than ever to creating real-life in-person spaces where we can commune, gather, learn, grow, love, grieve and celebrate life together. Whether online or in-person, I look forward to creating nourishing, authentic community with you and building the future we want to see.
I am more dedicated than ever to you and your radiant light.
The road ahead
Our collective response to the Rona is obviously ongoing, and I recognize that the road ahead will have its twists and turns. My prediction is that life on earth will become a lot more difficult before it gets easier.
Yet, whatever challenges lie ahead, this global unity and focus has only reinforced my faith in people — my loved ones, clients, collaborators, communities. Down the road, when I reflect on this transition, I will remember how so many people around the world put the well being of others at the center of their daily lives.
I plan to carry those values forward, and will always put your health and safety above all else.
Thank you for all you’re doing to support yourself and others during this trying time — whether that’s loving your family, volunteering, donating, sharing gratitude for our medical and other hard workers, protesting government wrongdoing, advocating against corporate toxins and commodification, or otherwise protecting the health and wellness of our communities.
Stay well, stay safe, and I hope to see you soon.