Friends: The timing of my “No Regrets Living” book’s preparation and release has allowed me to weave my observations on the pandemic into the book’s foundational 7 Keys to a Life of Wonder and Contentment. My reflections on the pandemic, including coping mechanisms and paths for going forward, are offset in shaded boxes like this one.
While these shaded boxes deal with the pandemic in the context of our search for contentment in our lives, the essence of this book is not about infection at all. It’s about discovering the joy of life with fewer regrets. I hope you’ll agree that “No Regrets Living” is a timeless blueprint for reaching a fulfilling life now and long after the pandemic is relegated, along with past scourges, to the pages of history. When that happens, the shaded boxes will serve as a time capsule of sorts for future generations who I hope will never know anything like COVID-19 in their own lives but will still reap the rewards of the 7 Keys.
EXCERPT #3: THE PANDEMIC AND OUR INNER SPARKS
I believe we each have within us a spark of goodness and light. A spark which, when expressed and united with the inner sparks of those around us, will help us heal the world. Heal the world of the pandemic, yes, but also of the other grave challenges we face as a collective humanity.
Time will tell if the measures we are taking and teaching to tamp down the pandemic are as effective as we hope they will be. As the pandemic has progressed, people have become increasingly weary of the restrictions and wary of their necessity. Pandemic fatigue has caused people to become more lax in their precautions, resulting in inevitable surges of cases. Those lapses notwithstanding, the rapidity of our education, under fire from COVID-19, gives me hope that If we can educate ourselves equally well to the other existential threats the world faces—threats as grave and life-threatening as a virus outbreak—our inner sparks will ignite with much more urgency.
There is dramatic evidence of the emergence of a collective inner spark in my own field, medicine. Health care in virtually every corner of the globe now reflects the progress and methodology of the most advanced medical systems here in the United States and in other developed countries. Surgical techniques, therapeutics, medical equipment, and even the design and staffing of clinics and hospitals are all approaching a global uniformity – a very high standard of practice absent in much of the world as recently as a hundred years ago when the greatest determinant of survival from intensive care or surgery was where in the world you received your care.
The COVID-19 pandemic is the latest example of today’s standards of medical care crossing virtually every international boundary. Approaches to, and implementation of, vaccines, antiviral therapies, and supportive measures like ventilators were nearly identical in every country on every continent. Of course, developing countries lagged in their ability to implement some of the advances, but only because of lack of resources, not lack of shared knowledge or skill. COVID-19 hospital wards and intensive care units in Viet Nam, Vienna, and Vermont were almost indistinguishable in the care they offered – high quality care of the kind only made possible by the sharing of information and by profound compassion for our fellow humans – the awakening of millions of inner sparks.