“A nation's greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members.” Mahatma Gandhi
I write to you from the frontline:
Hello, my name is Rodrigo Nino. I am a Colombian by birth and also an American citizen. I live in Manhattan, in New York, on the Upper West Side in a small and cozy apartment from where I am writing to you today. I am fifty years old, hypertensive, and I have an underlying condition in the lung. I tell you this, not to alarm you, but quite the contrary, to share with you how I see the global situation as a member of the most vulnerable group in the epicenter of the virus on this side of the world.
After my life stopped dead in its tracks, I saw my work dissolving, my company failing, my wealth destroyed, my family reduced financially and my relationships changed. In short, my whole life imploded. I lost my identity. There was no time to put out a fire when I was already dealing with another. I was busy trying to catch up as best as I could until one day, everything really stopped and I found myself in a place where I had never been before. It was a dead end, a big problem with no solution, an existential paradox.
It was really not knowing what to do or who I was.
I panicked. A new kind of fear that almost paralyzed me overcame me. Stress hormones and cortisol are felt, I stopped eating, drinking water and sleeping well as the immune system faltered and the cancer returned in the left lung. That was in September of 2019. I was trapped in a dark room that weighed on me like only a stage 4 melanoma cancer diagnosis can do.
And from there, from the misery of my despair, I was able to invoke my magical personality to connect my mind with my soul through imagination. It feels like the end but it is only a transformation. After the shock of the hard stop, everything turns into confusion and chaos reigns.
I was living a new reality that I had never lived before.
I had no choice but to imagine a different story than the one of the mind. When I did, I could feel how the order of the factors affects the product. I remembered that I had to feel, before understanding, in order to comprehend.
It was in the subtle change in perception, of seeing that I was two when I always thought that I was only one, when I realized that if I put my mind before my heart, I will fail. That if I put feeling before knowing, I will win.
This is an invitation for those who are in the vulnerability group, the elderly, the ill and those who want to find another way out of fear. This is for those who want to imagine the solution that we have not been able to think through as a species.This is for those who feel that this is not the end but the beginning of something new.
If you share the inner knowing that all beings and things are interconnected, a radical impulse of mutual care-taking and an urge to come together with others like you to envision the next step for humanity, then this is for you.
I want to connect and hear from all of you, and see how you are looking at things in the frontlines around the world.