The Future is Fluid

Dear Ones, 

With the COVID-19 landscape changing rapidly, we’re making some important changes. Please check out my video below to learn about these changes – and the why behind them. If you prefer to read my message, please continue to the text below the video. If you do watch the video, please still scroll down through the email to see important graphics with updates to upcoming events and a visual representation of our journey forward (with mantras for each phase!).

After about a 6 month break from listening in on Governor Polis’ weekly press conference, on Monday, I tuned in again. After watching virus rates rise in Larimer County – we’re currently over 100/100K rolling average (over 50 is considered high transmission) – and hearing about a few fully vaccinated people in the Foothills community getting infected, I decided it was time for more information.  

With the vaccines fully available and so highly effective, I’ve so appreciated being less vigilant in the last few months, and embracing a sense of ease in life once again. I’m guessing I’m not alone. And, I’m guessing that it’s likely you haven’t been tuning back in – because the ease feels so good! Like exhaling.  

But it also might mean that you’re operating from outdated information about our current realities. And by outdated, I mean two or three weeks ago. Because that’s how fast the information is shifting.  

For example, it is becoming increasingly clear that after about six months from your second vaccine shot, you are significantly less protected than you were originally, especially if you are also older or immune-compromised. Given that many in our community received their vaccine in January, that means that as of July, vaccines were less effective than they were originally. 

But here’s the good news: Pfizer and Moderna have already started testing what it will mean to offer a third dose booster, specifically to address the Delta variant. Polis actually talked about pushing the FDA to approve this in his press conference. These boosters are showing to be exponentially effective in ensuring continued protection.

The less good news for the short term, however, is that if you are six months or longer since your vaccine, you should assume that you are much less protected than you were, and so you need to take precautions. Return to wearing your mask in all settings. Avoid large public gatherings. Reduce other public interactions as much as possible, especially indoors. 

These precautions are also influencing some of our planning at church as well. We’ve revised our safety guidelines to institute universal mask-wearing and to prohibit eating or drinking for gatherings with more than 10 adults, even when outdoors. As of now, we’re still planning on offering in-person services as of September 19th and are working to establish appropriate safety protocols.  

Dr. Bob Wachter, Chair of the University of California’s Medical Department, recently acknowledged that we are in one of the most confusing moments since the beginning of the pandemic. Even if you read every article and listen to every press conference and podcast, the science is just not yet clear, and the virus is shifting rapidly.  

Can you feel that sense of ease slipping away from you? I know, me too!  

Given that most of us have had a taste of “normalized” interactions, talking about a return to increased precautions and newly unclear science can bring up really negative reactions. It’s important we feel these reactions for the trauma response they are. In other words, they aren’t necessarily about the short-term practices that we’ll need to take up until they figure out the booster or until we manage to get more of our population vaccinated. They are about the trauma and terror of 2020, the isolation and the extended uncertainty – and the body’s response that in doing anything LIKE that again, we might be actually literally doing that again.  

But we aren’t. 

This is not the same as a year ago. The risk of hospitalization or death from COVID remains pretty low if you’re vaccinated (although we don’t know if this wanes over time either, but so far it’s holding to be true). The vaccines work, and they will be adjusted to keep working, which means that this is not the same risk reality we faced a year ago. 

And, we know so much more about how to move things online than we did a year ago. We know so much more about how to adapt and how to connect.  

Many of us have been thinking in terms of a line we’ll cross where we are definitively post-pandemic. A clear after when we can say we are closer to the before than the during. And this line has felt for the last couple of months, very much within reach! But what I’m realizing is, the next new world may be less “post” anything, and instead more fluid, more back-and-forth, more poly-spatial. The next new world will have times where we need to increase precautions, and times where we can move about more freely.  

We are not moving into a world that is all exactly as it was before the pandemic, and we are not moving into a world that is exactly as it was in 2020 – and we aren’t even moving into a world that is the simple addition of these two together. This world remains emergent and evolving, and requires our willingness to stay adaptive, and creative, where we learn how to exhale even in the midst of these shifts.  

This exhale means freeing ourselves into the idea that increased precautions and rising virus numbers do not mean we are simply “still in it” – and also that we are not also simply “out of it.” It means acknowledging and then releasing our fear that we are exactly where we were before the vaccines and also grieving and releasing our wish to “go back to normal.” 

Exhaling means a radical acceptance of here and now. Leveraging what we’ve learned in the last 18 months. And remembering and leaning on our collective resilience, and our wisdom, and our joy – which are also always true. So that we can together imagine and create a more fluid future that is emotionally and spiritually satisfying while still being (as) physically safe (as possible).  

To help us claim this collective exhale, we’re holding a 30-minute online space on August 11th at 7 pm. We’ll share in a guided meditation of release and re-framing where we allow ourselves to fully release where we have been in this journey and make space for where we actually are. Breathe out, so we can breathe in, making space for our more fluid future. Click the image below for more information.

Most of all, this is a time that requires our patience, trusting that the truth continues to be revealed. Which, as we said on Sunday, is great good news in these times. We know so much more than we did a year ago, and we will know so much more a year from now. Let us be herenow, knowing with gratitude that this is not the end of the story.  And, we are all in this together. 

Please see the graphics below for important changes to our upcoming events calendar and a visual illustration of our journey ahead (along with helpful mantras for each phase!).

As ever, 

Gretchen 

Suggested Reading for More Information

Delta Variant: How bad could it get? 
Advice for the Vaccinated – NY Times 

Important Changes to Upcoming Events! 
(Click the image to enlarge.)

Foothills’ Journey Forward
(Click the image to enlarge.)