Many struggles in history have centered around a crown (corona), often resulting in revolutions, such as the French Revolution in 1789. Today we are struggling with a different sort of crown (the coronavirus), hopefully leading not to Revolution this time (which is circular) but to Evolution, which is growth. It is a step forward.
On March 11, Pat Omidian (Oregon), Ali Ghauri (Pakistan), and I (Italy) were talking. Italy was the first country in the Western part of the World that went in a complete lockdown. The coronavirus was at its peak there Italy, and it was evident that the rest of the World would shortly follow. Since every challenge is also an opportunity, what if we launch in a couple of weeks a virtual platform where we will provide both technical tools (the website, Zoom, etc.) and the skills (Pat’s Psychosocial Support trainings) to let people build their own healthy communities? After all, in a lockdown the “virtual world” is the only world available to have social interaction, isn’t it?
Focusing Initiatives International was well-positioned to bring this about. It has been years that we were getting ready for this.
My background is in music, especially classical piano, composition, and conducting. For me, creating a website is more like conducting a choir than to “just write the computer code”. A website is like the final performance, the concert. To get there, we need to know what kind of voices we have available first. Then we need to find a theme, the piece to suit the talents of the choir members. Eventually write it one. Then comes the practice, voice by voice, note by note. Everybody has to sing it’s own part and also put their passion and their emotions in what they are singing. Finally, there is the performance – the launch of our website: CoronaPlaza.LIFE.
During our daily meetings, we brainstormed, we joked, we made fun of one another, and we laughed a lot (as we still do!). And the “choir members” – Pat, Melinda, Ali, and Mitch attracted other voices. The passion of their singing started to become …viral! 😉
We worked long hours together, at all times of the day, across time zones twelve hours apart. We were able to create CoronaPlaza.LIFE in only three weeks, not the six months or more it would typically take. We launched on April Fool’s Day (April 1) to underline the foolishness of going live so soon, but also to remind ourselves that we don’t have to be perfect, we just need to be good. And the pressure went up right away along with the “I need help” messages coming through with stuff that required immediate patches and fixes.
I always use Focusing in my work, but it has never been a more “critical tool” than it was to make the CoronaPlaza.Life. Decoding the felt senses during the technical planning of the website played a significant role in being able to launch it in just three weeks. And the felt senses during the fun moments served me as a vast energy source to withstand up to 20 hours per day of work. (along with a better-not-to-be-disclosed amount of Italian coffee.)
My vision continues to be to facilitate the creation of healthy communities in every corner of the Earth. I see this platform literally as a safe plaza where everybody can share her/his/they human nature through informal discussions around a virtual coffee table, ‘e-workshops’ for teaching new skills, an e-theatre to host lectures or public debates on new ideas.