News flash

SAL/UER Videos

Racism and the Collapsing Society, Barbara Love and Tim Jackins, June 7, 2020

RC Webinars listing through December 2022

New Online Workshop Guidelines Modifications


 

Postings from the International Reference Person on COVID-19 and the RC Communities

(see also, some sample Community COVID policies)

Viruses are forever? COVID

March 15, 2022

Dear RCers,

The effects of the COVID pandemic continue across the world, still causing widespread illness and death to large numbers of people. The rates are currently much lower than in the waves of harm caused by each of earlier variants that have developed. We have lost millions of lives to this virus, and we have gotten numbed and oddly accepting of the ongoing losses. It is impossible to predict with assurance that this damage will continue to lessen, since there are still so many currently infected that there are many opportunities for a new variant to develop. It has appeared possible that it would soon be safe enough for us to consider being in close contact with each other again.

A new variant, BA.2, is spreading quickly, however, in many parts of the world, and so rates are rising swiftly again in many places. This is closely related to Omicron and does not seem more dangerous. Another variant has also been found, which appears to be a mixture of Delta and Omicron, but little is known about it, yet.

As before, each person and each community needs to gather information and think about their particular situation. There are great variations in many factors across the International RC Community - the great inequalities due to colonialism, racism, and capitalism among them. The current local rates of vaccination and of infection are important parts of these considerations.

In this period many governments are removing at least some of their requirements for masking and social distancing. The effects of these changes on the infection rates won’t be clear for two or three weeks after these steps.  These effects should tell us a great deal.  I think it will be wise to use both the effects of these moves and developing information about the spread of the new variants in considering our own next steps. 

I would like local Communities to once again have online gatherings for discharge, think-and-listens, and discussions so that they can reach an agreement about how their Community can move forward and when.  As always, people also get to make their own personal decisions about how they will handle their own lives and interactions with others.

With love and appreciation,

Tim


NOT YET

January 18, 2022

Dear Co-Counselors,

The struggle between the unthinking evolutionary forces of COVID and human intelligence continues.  COVID continues to have enough bodies to replicate in that it continues to develop new variants, some of which make the leap from person to person with extreme ease.  I have no doubt that humans will continue figuring out ways to respond and will eventually minimize the danger presented in this pandemic, but I don’t think we’ve reached that point just yet.  

Because of this, we are going to be holding all of this year's Pre-World Conferences and the World Conference online.  In my judgment it remains clear that only in the most unusual and well-protected circumstances does it make sense for groups of RCers to get together.  So, I request that we continue to not have such gatherings in our RC Communities across the world.  If you feel your circumstance is exceptional enough for something else to be considered, please communicate with me first.  

Each of us does this to both protect ourselves and the people in our lives, including those in the RC Community. This is burdensome and not at all easy and we lose the very valuable contradiction of being with someone in person as they think about us.  Thanks to the level of electronic communication and its wide availability we are still able to move ahead with liberating our minds from the grip of distress.  We will continue to learn to use these avenues more and more effectively and we’ll use them even after we get back together so that we will have made important gains by the end of this struggle.  

Part of the difficulty we face is that we are living at a time when our societies are dominated by large institutions that often cannot be fully honest, and are often motivated by greed and power more than anything else.  Being aware of this means that we have to both consider the effects of these conditions and discharge on the restimulations they cause in us.  These forces influence the solutions found and put forward by our societies. These solutions must be evaluated with this in mind.  And, human intelligence still can function in these societies and can still develop useful and important solutions.  

After weighing all of these things and looking at many alternatives not posed by large drug companies, it appears to me that we would have lost many more millions of people without the vaccinations that have been developed and that the number we will lose in the future will be lessened to the extent that people become vaccinated.  

With love and appreciation,
Tim


Covid again, and again, and again

December 9, 2021

Dear RCers, 

The COVID pandemic stays with us and because of oppressions and inequities and many irrationalities we are likely to have it with us for a significant time yet.  It is infecting significant numbers of us still, and it is a large enough collection of  us that it will continue to have the opportunity to mutate and some of those mutations will be more infectious and maybe more dangerous.  The most recent variant, Omicron, is clearly very, very infectious.  To protect ourselves, others, and to lessen the opportunity for continued mutation, we need to once more be very careful, with masking and distancing.  This variant appears to not be as deadly as some others, which is fortunate.  But we still need to keep it from spreading to less the chances of further mutation. 

Even though the immediate dangers are not as large, the long term solution to this pandemic remains as important.  Please get another session on your related material.  Think about what is best for you to do (vaccination, booster, masking, increased distancing, living alone on a mountain top) and do it as consistently as you can.  

With love and appreciation,

Tim


Delta

July 29, 2021

Dear members of the RC Community,

The COVID pandemic continues to evolve and it is clear that we will not soon be free of the need to think about this.  Many parts of the world still have little or no real access to the vaccines that have been developed.  Many places that have had access to vaccines have not been able to quickly vaccinate a high percentage of their citizens, for various reasons.  So, the virus continues to exist, continues to spread, and continues to mutate into more infectious variants.  There is a rising number of people who are being infected by these new variants even after they have been fully vaccinated.  We have all tried to think well about this situation for ourselves, our families, our communities, and all humans.  It appears that Co-Counselors have discharged and thought enough to handle this circumstance well, though we have had losses.  It appears that all of us, vaccinated or not, are going to have some vulnerability to COVID for a substantial length of time. 

A long time ago I asked the Communities to stop holding in-person activities because it provided too many opportunities for COVID to spread.  I think this helped keep the losses in our Communities to a small number.  I more recently asked Communities to think together about in-person activities and to develop and come to agreement on policies for their Community.  I took this step because I want every one of us discharging, thinking, and contributing our thinking on these matters.  It is important that Communities learn to think together on difficult issues, and use what we know about discharge to make this function more and more smoothly.  This was before I was aware that the Delta variant poses such an increased risk. 

Given the current information available on the rapid and increasing spread of the Delta variant, and the increases in the number of fully vaccinated people who become infected, I wish to request that the RC Communities not plan to hold in-person workshops until after the end of this calendar year.  I would also like Communities to freshly consider their policy about in-person RC activities in light of this developing situation.  We are not done with COVID and as conditions change, we must think freshly again and again.

I’m very pleased that we have each other as human, caring resources to figure things out together.

With love and appreciation,

Tim


Responding to the COVID Pandemic

June 15, 2021

Dear RCers,

The pandemic caused by the COVID-19 virus has been with us for a year and a half now. The spread of the virus has been unpredictable, and it has hit different parts of the world at different times with different severities. How effectively the situation has been handled has varied tremendously, depending on both the wealth and the political leadership of each country.

The nations that have been most impoverished by a history of colonialism have had the fewest resources with which to handle the situation, and they continue to suffer high infection rates and deaths. The wealthier countries, which have profited from colonization and exploitation, have had the resources to treat infected people, develop and purchase vaccines, and distribute them to their citizens. This has helped them to bring their infection rates down.

Many people across the world have understood the usefulness of social distancing, masks, and sanitizing solutions on hands and surfaces and have used these measures to help contain the spread of the virus. This has helped to slow the spread, thereby lessening the load on hospitals and other medical systems.

However, most places in the world have gone through more than one wave of COVID infections, making it clear that declining infection rates, while hopeful, do not automatically signal the end of the pandemic.

Also, because the virus has spread so widely and infected so many people, it has had many opportunities to mutate and many variants of the original virus have appeared. Some of these are even more contagious than the original. How much resistance an already vaccinated or previously infected person has to these variants is not yet clear. And as long as the virus is infecting large numbers of persons, new variants will continue to develop.

No uniform direction

When the virus first appeared, I asked all of us in the RC Community to cease in-person classes, workshops, and sessions. That was understandably difficult and restimulating for many of us but was also important for protecting ourselves and each other. I think it was in a correct direction, since none of us had any immunity to the virus, and the usual close contact of our activities made transmission of it very likely.

Currently, the likelihood of being infected by some version of the virus varies greatly depending on where in the world one lives. Infection rates are dropping in many places, especially where a large and growing percentage of the population has been vaccinated. This has led some people to wonder about meeting again in person for sessions, classes, and workshops. Without a common set of circumstances with regard to the virus, however, there is no simple uniform direction for every Co-Counselor or RC Community to follow. We will have to continue acquiring information and thinking about our various situations.

The vaccines work to protect people but not perfectly, and having survived a COVID infection does not provide complete immunity. We do not have the information yet to know how well the current vaccines work against all the new variants. Therefore, dangers still exist, and we need to think about them, discharge the distresses the situation restimulates, and decide in this developing situation how physically separate we need to stay now.

Local gather-ins to consider local policies

We all would like this to be over. We all would like to be back closer together again. And though it is useful to discharge on the restimulations of having to be separate, meeting in person does make a difference.

Therefore, I would like each RC Region to have a couple of Zoom gather-ins in which to share information about local conditions, have sessions, do think-and-listens to hear each other’s thinking, and try to reach a consensus for a policy for the local Community for the current period. Any policy should be recognized as a draft policy that could change with changing conditions. 

This is not a question that has to be answered quickly, and several such meetings may be necessary. We need to clear our minds of the distresses related to our situations, share all the real and relevant information we can, think about everyone’s welfare, and try to reach agreement. It is possible.

Whatever the thinking of the local RC Community, no one should be compelled to have contact in ways that they believe could endanger them. During this pandemic, we have learned to use electronic communications in ever more effective ways, and people should still have the option of using them to participate in a class, workshop, gather-in, or session when they feel it is necessary to protect themselves.

In most of our Communities, it is not yet safe for everyone to go back to the ways we functioned in 2019. It is not yet time to have in-person classes or workshops. We are also not yet doing in-person Intensives here at Re-evaluation Counseling Community Resources (RCCR). 

In this period, the farther people travel to be together and the larger the group that gathers, the less safe it is. We need to keep thinking about all of us and how our individual decisions affect others in the Community.

Regarding Co-Counseling sessions, when is it safe for you and your Co-Counselor to meet in person? Here are some factors to consider in answering this question: Are you both fully vaccinated? Are either of you in unmasked contact with unvaccinated people? How many other Co-Counselors are each of you going to have in-person sessions with? It would be beneficial to have a think-and-listen on this, so that each of you could hear many minds thinking about it. Ultimately, the decision needs to be made by each pair of Co-Counselors, and the local RC Community needs to know about it.  

Though infection rates may be going down in your locality, we still want to avoid providing a line of connections along which the virus could be transmitted. Since fewer people are involved in a session than in a class or a workshop, sessions are safer than the other two activities.

A high percentage of us being fully vaccinated (when the vaccine is available) still seems to be the only way we currently have to slow and eventually stop the spread of the virus.

When a Region has thought together over several weeks’ time and agreed on a way to go forward, I would like to be informed of the policy before it is implemented.

With love,

Tim


Existing with COVID

March 30, 2021

Dear Community Members,

The situation with the COVID pandemic continues to evolve, sometimes in good directions and sometimes not.  There is such variation in the COVID related conditions from one RC Community to another that it is impossible to provide precise guidelines that will work well everywhere to protect us from this deadly disease while not restricting our contact unnecessarily.  

It is important for each of us to remember that if we have not been fully vaccinated or survived an infection with COVID, we remain just as vulnerable as we ever have been to this virus.  The vast majority of people around us remain vulnerable too.  We also need to remember that more easily transmitted variants of COVID have developed and will continue to develop.  Our, now year-long, experience with COVID has shown that social distancing, masking or double-masking, using sterilizing liquids and washing our hands, do inhibit the spread of COVID significantly.  In most, but not all, parts of the world, these measures alone will not stop the spread of COVID because it is so well established, but it does reduce the burden on our medical facilities significantly so that more people can be saved.  There are a few places in the world where COVID has not gotten well-enough established that these steps, so far, have been effective in stopping the spread of COVID.  

The COVID pandemic is far from over and we must continue to think how best to respond to this situation, protecting ourselves and others while providing as much connection and support to each other as we can.  

If you are in one of the great majority of our Communities that exists in a place that has been significantly infected by COVID, it is likely to be too soon to have much direct personal contact. Since almost all COVID transmission happens when no one is aware of it, we must not create circumstances where COVID could be transmitted.  (The vaccines work well in practice to stop the spread of COVID because they are 90% effective.  That throttles the spread of COVID, but it still leaves a 10% infection rate for those who get vaccinated and are exposed to COVID.)

I think in this period the general guidelines of distance (2 meters), masking or double-masking, and using disinfecting fluids all need to still be observed.  Please think and counsel about these issues before making an agreement with your Co-Counselor about your next session.  Please think well about keeping yourself safe and keeping the people around you safe as well.  

With love and appreciation,
Tim


The Next Step in Handling our COVID Situation

March 22, 2021

Dear RCers,

The challenge to think clearly about handling the dangerous circumstances created by COVID are going to remain with us for many months yet.  This virus has shown itself to be so easily communicated between people and so damaging that we have already lost well over a million and a half lives around the world.  We have recently gained vaccines to handle this virus and drastically reduce the number of lives lost.  Through massive efforts in many countries of the world, scientists have developed several vaccines that are now being used and distributed widely.  These vaccines have been tested on large numbers of people and have demonstrated their solid capabilities to protect people from this virus.  

I think, based on my reading of many articles about these vaccines both in the mass media and in science publications, that being vaccinated with one of these vaccines is something that I will do, because the vaccines will provide good protection with little risk.  I also know that all of us are likely to have restimulated feelings about receiving one of these vaccines.  Many medical things were done to us as children with no attempt to involve our minds.  Also, in the current situation there has been much misinformation spread and much politicizing around these vaccines.  Each of us can have sessions on our restimulations in this area and each of us can work to find real information about these vaccines, before we make our decisions on whether or not to be vaccinated.  

Doing this work is part of what we need to do to find a solution to this situation.  Please do so.

With love and appreciation,
Tim


Handling COVID-19

March 20, 2021

Dear RCers,

The situation with COVID-19 continues to evolve. The virus is still spreading around the world, killing many thousands of people each day and sickening far more. The effects of the virus vary widely across the world—influenced by many factors, including the differences in wealth and political leadership in the various countries. Vaccines continue to be developed, tested, and found effective in protecting individuals from COVID-19 and are being widely distributed and used. Some have been developed using new technology, and some in the more traditional way of producing vaccines.

Vaccines have been vital in the past in stopping some diseases such as polio and smallpox. In my reading of the media and science-related information, the recent vaccines all appear to be quite effective in protecting individuals from serious illness and death. They appear to greatly improve an individual’s probability of survival. But as with any intervention in our body’s natural functioning, they have to be carefully thought about and examined, with the understanding that they may have effects beyond helping our body resist the virus. Data has shown that some of the vaccines have had a very small number of adverse side effects.

Many of the vaccines are being produced by large private corporations that will make large amounts of profit from producing them. Profiting from others’ misfortune is part of our economic system and something we are all wary of. The profit motive can make these corporations less than candid about their products.

We have a real pandemic in a situation that has many complicating factors and irrationalities built into it. We need to make the best decisions we can in this imperfect situation, and we will run into old distresses that will make this a challenge.

People think most clearly when they have a chance to discharge on the ways they have been mistreated and misinformed, and when they have access to real information. We have the resource to get the sessions and discharge we need to clear our minds so that we can use real information, not simply opinions, in deciding how best to handle the present circumstance. We do not need to automatically do what we may have done before—thoughtlessly do what we are told to do, or thoughtlessly refuse to do what we are told because of our undischarged distresses.

From my counseling of people who have contracted COVID and people who have lost others to it, I have no doubt this is a real pandemic. Because of the irrationalities of our societies and the distresses we as individuals carry, it looks like we will lose millions of people to it. We can each choose the way forward we think will provide the best possibilities for a good future for ourselves, the people close around us, and our species. What each one of us chooses does have an effect, very widely, in this situation. In making your decisions, please use the resources we have all worked so hard to develop.

From my gathering of information, it is clear to me that no other widely available measures exist to stop the pandemic except a large percentage of us being vaccinated as quickly as possible. All the other widely available treatments and measures—masking, disinfecting, social distancing—can slow down the spread of the virus. But under our current conditions of high concentrations of people and large numbers of people traveling great distances, they will not stop nor eradicate the virus. So, I have taken a vaccine as soon as it was available to me, and am now three weeks past the second shot, having felt very little effect either time.

With love and appreciation,
Tim


The next step in handling our COVID situation

December 16, 2020

Dear RCers,

The challenge to think clearly about handling the dangerous circumstances created by COVID are going to remain with us for many months yet.  This virus has shown itself to be so easily communicated between people and so damaging that we have already lost well over a million and a half lives around the world.  We have recently gained vaccines to handle this virus and drastically reduce the number of lives lost.  Through massive efforts in many countries of the world, scientists have developed several vaccines that are now being used and distributed widely.  These vaccines have been tested on large numbers of people and have demonstrated their solid capabilities to protect people from this virus.

I think, based on my reading of many articles about these vaccines both in the mass media and in science publications, that being vaccinated with one of these vaccines is something that I will do, because the vaccines will provide good protection with little risk.  I also know that all of us are likely to have restimulated feelings about receiving one of these vaccines.  Many medical things were done to us as children with no attempt to involve our minds.  Also, in the current situation there has been much misinformation spread and much politicizing around these vaccines.  Each of us can have sessions on our restimulations in this area and each of us can work to find real information about these vaccines, before we make our decisions on whether or not to be vaccinated.  

Doing this work is part of what we need to do to find a solution to this situation.  Please do so.

With love and appreciation,
Tim


 

Onward we go

June 18, 2020

Dear RCers,

The push against racism continues to broaden and spread across the world and at the same time so does COVID-19. This unique circumstance provides large opportunities to begin changing the world’s societies more rapidly. It also requires us to think carefully about the real dangers in the present situation as well as our own distresses that interfere with our understanding of the present.  

The opportunities to use the growing awareness of the ongoing inhumanness and injustices of racism are immense. Many of us are speaking more fully and to larger numbers of people about what we know and think about oppression. Many of us are taking public stands to help illustrate this growing awareness to even wider groups of people.  These are important steps in changing the world.

We all continue to need sessions and discharge on the distresses that limit our thinking as we move forward.  Old fears can push us to not move or to move irrationally. What we need is thoughtful, rational, caring movement forward. Each one of us, no matter what positions or actions we take at the moment, need to be working on the things that limit us.  

We also need to be aware of the real risks in the present.  These include circumstances where people can act irrationally and destructively towards other people, either reactively and violently against people or against establishment institutions.   There is also the continued danger from COVID-19.  This virus will continue to be a real danger for at least many months. Sustaining our efforts to not pass the virus between us for that long a period will be important and will be difficult.  

Recent data indicates that the cells in one’s nose are very vulnerable to the virus and once infected, become a source for contamination of other parts of one’s body and for spreading the virus to others.  This means that crying and blowing your nose, if you have the virus, whether you are aware of it or not, makes you dangerous.  

Across the world, different governments are making very different recommendations about how their citizens should be interacting. Many are clearly driven by capitalist interests to start their economies making money for the owning class again.  Please think and discharge and make your own decisions.  If you are out in demonstrations, large or small, please go get tested for COVID-19 a few days later, if that is possible where you are.  I have been tested once so far, and it’s a very odd and uncomfortable 30 seconds, but not really painful.  (I was negative.)

I’m very glad we are in this situation, I’m very glad we are together in this, and I’m very glad that we can think well together about it.

With love and appreciation,
Tim


Next Steps with COVID

May 30, 2020

Dear members of the RC Community,

I greatly appreciate what you have done in response to the conditions created by the COVID pandemic.  Members of our Communities across the world have taken large and important steps to limit the spread of this virus.  This has required significant changes in the way we live. People have used many sessions to discharge the feelings and confusions that have been restimulated.  They then thought and took effective actions.  This has helped to benefit ourselves, the people we know and care about, and everyone else.  Thank you.  

There are still many places in the world where the number of infections from the virus is growing rapidly.  Part of this is simply the spread of the virus across the world.  It seems unlikely that any place is isolated enough that they will be unaffected.  

It seems like there are months of this yet to come.  

The governmental handling of the situation created by this virus has varied tremendously across the world.  Some governmental bodies have openly recognized the harsh realities of our current situation and some have not.  All of these governments are constantly being pressured by individuals and groups that profit from the usual functioning of our economic systems and whose profits are threatened when there are fewer and fewer people working for them, especially fewer working in the factories that produce the goods our lives are built on.  This pressure and all the connected restimulations distorts governmental policies by making the actual welfare of the people less important.  

Because of these distortions, it is very important that no one thoughtlessly accept the policies being handed out.  This is a period where it is especially important that each of us get real, factual information about our situations, discharge on our restimulations about the situation, hear each other’s thoughts about handling the situation, and decide our own course forward.  As many times before, those of us who work to have our own minds may find that we choose a path that doesn’t match what is being promoted by our governments and other institutions.

Almost all of us remain vulnerable to this virus.  That has not changed and will not change in the near future.  We do not get less vulnerable by avoiding the virus longer.  We do slowly and steadily learn more about the virus, about how one acquires it, about its effect on human bodies, and how better to treat those who are deeply affected.  But we all remain very vulnerable and unable to know which of us would be most seriously affected if they acquired the virus.  It is still clearly true that our most effective way forward is to deny the virus the opportunity to spread to more people.  It is also clear that social isolation is the most effective way to keep the virus from spreading.  

Given this situation each of us needs to make our own decisions in concert with those around us. Each of us needs to actively undertake making these decisions, beginning now.  Please use all the resources available to you: factual, discharging in sessions, and hearing each other’s minds (online think and listens?), in this process.

Here within the RC Community, all of our work and communications is no longer in person.  All of us who work for RCCR are working from home and expect to be doing this for many months yet.  We have cancelled in-person workshops for the last couple of months and I do not see any way in which we could have in-person workshops again until at least well into the fourth quarter of the year.  Most scheduled workshops are being reorganized to be Zoom workshops, which have been very effective.  (There are a vast number of RC classes being held online and many people who before could not become part of RC classes are now about to join online classes.)  There are many steps forward we can take during these challenging times.  

I look forward to us creatively moving forward together to significantly change society in this time of unexpected challenge and opportunity.  

With love and appreciation,

Tim


A While Longer

May 4, 2020

Dear RCers,

The coronavirus continues to spread, creating increasing difficulty, illness, and death, in all parts of the world. The regions that have had COVID19 the longest are engaged in figuring out how people can have safe, non-isolated, and productive lives given the ongoing prevalence of the coronavirus. The shortcomings of our systems are being illuminated once again.

RC Communities across the world have responded intelligently and well.  Each is figuring out how best to use the existing electronic forms of communication available to them.  It is difficult to predict what RC activities will be possible in the next several months.  At least until the end of June, I request that there be no in-person group RC activities anywhere in the world.  There are few circumstances where in-person sessions are rational. I think this needs to be our commitment to help gain control over the spread of this virus.  

If anyone thinks that their particular local circumstance supports a modification of this, please contact me well beforehand.  

We may well need to stay this separate for several months longer and there may be variations in what is possible depending on one’s location.  Certainly, we will not be traveling long distances to be with others for a significant length of time.  

Thank you for helping keep each other safe and thank you for finding ways to build contact and connection in this new situation.  

With love and appreciation,
Tim


"RC Webinars" on Zoom, starting in 2 weeks

April 30, 2020

Dear RCers,

In this time of the COVID pandemic, we are trying many new things to stay connected, keep discharging, and move forward in our re-emergence and liberation.  We want to try a series of what we are calling “RC Webinars.”  These will be RC one-time classes led on Zoom by some of our ILRP/ICRPs and RRPs on important issues for the International Community.  They will be one and a half to two hours long—with theory, mini-sessions, and demonstrations of counseling.  We anticipate a large audience and so they will not be interactive (though people may submit questions via the chat box—the leader may or may not have time to answer).  

We will charge for the webinar, on a sliding scale from $0 to $25; they will be treated as a Regional Gather-in for financial accounting.  We don’t have an elegant way to handle payment—it will be through PayPal to the organizer’s or leader’s email address, or by check.  

When possible the leader will offer the webinar twice on the same day, or in the same couple of days, once in the morning and once in the evening, to make it as accessible as possible re: time zones.  

If a Community wants to organize interpreting for the webinar, we may extend the length a bit.  Please notify the organizer of the webinar in advance so that we may plan for interpreting.  

Here is our schedule for the initial offering of RC webinars in May.  Email the organizer for further information.  Updated information about these and future webinars will also be posted on the RC website at this link.

RC WEBINARS:   

"The Basic Work of Eliminating White Racism”  We will get a chance to look and discharge on how white racism affected us from early memories to present day issues. We will start with the basic contradictions of our goodness is intact, having connections with everyone and anyone is our birthright, and hope and confidence is the accurate attitude to have about eliminating white racism. We’ll move from there to early memories of witnessing and colluding with racism and our present challenges. And we’ll end with work on our relationships with people of the global majority – our successes and how domination and superiority patterns get in our way.

Dvora Slavin, May 16, 10-12 pm and 7-9 pm (West Coast USA), Organizer: Jean Hamilton <rcjean1@gmail.com>, Tech: Leslie Kausch <singonki@earthlink.net>

“Don’t Talk to Me About Climate Change”  For people who have avoided thinking much about climate change so far… or just just don’t want to look at it.  Looking at the distresses in the way of thinking about one of the key issues of our times, and some very basic information about the climate emergency and what can be done about it.  

Diane Shisk. Saturday, May 23, 8-10 am and 6-8 pm, West Coast USA (Seattle); Organizer/tech: Sparky Griego <sgriego@rocketmail.com>

"The big ideas about family work and how to implement them at this time” 

Chuck Esser, Saturday May 30, 7 pm (East Coast USA) and Sunday, May 31, 9 am (East Coast USA).  Organizer/tech: Tamara Damon <tkdamon@me.com>

With love and appreciation,
Tim


Teaching online: A wider audience

April 27, 2020

Dear RC leaders,

As we learn to offer RC resources more fully using the internet, we need to think about not just inviting a person or two into a class in a local RC Community, but also the possibility of having classes made up of people spread across large geographical regions.  I think there can be good reasons for doing this:  providing a fundamentals class for people from locations where there won’t be a fundamentals class offered in the near future; providing classes for people who live where there are no RC resources nearby; providing classes on a particular topic or for a particular constituency where there are none like it being held nearby; a support group for RRPs, and so on.  In all of these cases the internet makes it possible for us to do things that are useful for us to do and we could not do otherwise.  

At the same time we need to think about what we want to offer to distant people so that we are not drawing them away from nearby RC resources nor distracting them from building a local RC Community.  We want to be adding RC resource to encourage the development of Communities wherever the distant person is, not just for the individual’s benefit.  We also need to resist any pull to create an RC support group or class made up of our “favorite people” who are scattered across the world.  

There are good resources and possibilities to be explored in this direction, they simply need to be thought about and counseled on as we figure them out.  

We are getting a steady and growing trickle of requests to be part of an online fundamentals class. When we get such a request, we first make an inquiry to see if there is already an online class near them.  If there is, we refer the person there. But in many cases, there is no class near by.  We would like to have several people prepared to lead online classes for these people in the near future.  (If the current rate of inquiry continues, we could start a fundamentals class every two weeks.)  

We would like to know who among you would like to be part of the beginning of this experiment.  (We’d like this to not be the teacher’s first fundamentals class.)  You would need to personally be ready to begin the class within 2 weeks to a month’s time. You would need to have checked with your ARP and RRP and get their support.  You need to have an assistant for the class, hopefully someone who can handle the technical assistance for the class (with Zoom or whatever software you use).  

With love and appreciation,
Tim


REFERENCING ATTENDANCE IN ONLINE CLASSES

April 15, 2020

Dear RC Leaders,

Thank you for finding so many ways, old and new, to keep RC Communities moving forward in this challenging and opportunity-filled time.  We here in Seattle have heard from hundreds of you about the activities you are creating and experimenting with for your Communities. 

Many of you have commented on how many RCers who are not in steady contact with the Community, both for good reasons and for distressed reasons, are now making steady contact with other RCers and with the Communities. 

This is creating many great new opportunities, some of which you will need to provide referencing for.  Since the activities are now online, it is no more difficult to attend a class or a support group or a workshop a thousand miles away than it is to attend one in one’s own Community. 

Some of these distant opportunities in some situations will benefit both the individual and the local Community.  Some of these opportunities, however, can be very appealing to some individuals who will be drawn by their distress material to find the “best resource” for themselves, without wider thought about building the local Community.  These opportunities may well attract people with “consumer material.” 

Helping to figure out whether or not a distant online activity makes sense for an individual is going to require referencing.  As before, we are going to require the permission of a local reference person for an RCers to attend activities outside of their Area.  This is going to include online classes, online support groups, online playdays, online gather-ins, and online workshops. 

Perhaps the general issue to think about is whether or not this individual being part of this distant activity  is going to improve the development of RC: the individual’s understanding, the individual’s ongoing Co-Counselors in the local Community. Particular issues you might think about include: does the individual have steady ongoing counseling relationships, is the individual in an RC class, are they in local support groups, do they attend local workshops and other activities?  Is the distant activity something that isn’t available locally (class, support group, or workshop for a particular constituency)?  Would the individual be committed to sharing the benefit of the workshop with the local Community?

There will also be the question of deciding to let a distant person participate in local activities—gather-ins, classes, support groups, workshops.  If the leader of the activity wishes to include a distant person, it should be discussed with the leader’s local reference person. 

In this period of great challenge, discovery, and experimentation, we will start with these guidelines.  As we gain more experience in these areas we will figure out if they are adequate or what alternations need to be made. 

Thank you again for being part of this splendid push to use our new circumstances well. 

With love and appreciation,
Tim


GUIDELINES FOR ONLINE RC EVENTS

April 15, 2020

Dear leader,

We’ve all had to reshape the activities we lead in RC in this circumstance of staying distant enough from each other to not infect each other. This has affected both the structures of the activities, who comes to them, and the costs. This means it also affects the Community Service Funds and local outreach. It’s difficult to tell what the overall effect is going to be, but initially it appears that there is much less coming in to the Area Outreach and Community Service Funds. This is a problem that we need to address quickly as we gain more experience in our new activities and operations. We will work out a more long-range solution, but for now we have modified the Guidelines involving finances by adding new sections related to online activities. I do this as the International Reference Person and these modifications will hold until we meet at the next World Conference and consider the issue more fully and agree upon modifications then.

We have left the Guidelines that we have used when we were able to meet together for activities. We have simply added additional sections related to online activities so there are now new sections: H.3.A, H.4.A, H.5.A and H.8.A, with new diagrams and new forms.

Please implement these in your Community, and let’s gather experience using them for now. After you’ve had some months working with them, we would appreciate hearing a bit about your experience with them.

Would you make sure anyone leading RC activities in your Community who is not in the categories listed below gets a copy of these new Guidelines. (This email was sent to all teachers, ARPs, RRPs, and ILRPs.)

With love and appreciation,

Tim


MOVING ONWARD

April 11, 2020

Dear RCers,

While COVID-19 continues its spread across the world, and the number of fatalities is still increasing, there are clear indications that the steps being taken by people to dampen the spread of the virus are becoming effective.  People in RC have communicated many of the things they have undertaken to control this spread and there are not yet many reports of RCers coming down with the virus.  I still think that it is likely that many of us will at some point become infected with the virus, but the work of slowing down the spread in order to protect humans and conserve medical resources for the most needy is important and has been effective.  

I congratulate you all on being able to think your way through whatever restimulations have occurred to take effective steps.  

These measures of course must continue for weeks and perhaps several months.  This will create new situations and circumstances and cause difficulties in addition to those that have shown up already.  These will be bigger challenges and these will illuminate the shortcomings of our societies ever more fully.  Though these difficulties may burden us and most of the people in the world, it has been only during challenges this large that societies have had to change.  We want to keep this in mind and use the opportunities that are being created for people to consider policies and actions that seemed too large before.  We can, through sessions, support groups, workshops, and think-and-listens, move ourselves through the distresses that have slowed us down thus far, so that we can play larger and more active roles in helping people think, understand, and make decisions for their own futures, perhaps aided by a bit of discharge.  

There has been an amazing amount of RC done using the web since this situation began developing.  Apparently, this clearly challenging situation, and the work we have done before, have made it possible for us to decide that we are connected. Our seeing each other’s images and hearing each other’s voices, even though we are many, many miles apart, is now enough for us to know we are connected to each other. We are ever more clearly allied together in this work to save the environment and create societies that benefit everyone.  

I’m very pleased that we are part of this effort together and I look forward to finding out how much we can do.  

Tim


SHOULD I ZOOM?

March 31, 2020

Dear Teachers and Leaders,

Many of us have been using Zoom to communicate with each other, with our classes, and to lead support groups and workshops.  There are always questions about security and misuse of information any time we are using the internet.  It’s difficult for any of us to get a full enough and accurate enough picture and we can continually find articles about the dangers of any piece of software.  Frank van den Heuvel is one the RCers most knowledgeable in this area. Here is what he wrote about Zoom.

With love and appreciation,
Tim



Dear Diane, Tim,

There are a few articles circulating that raise doubts about the security of Zoom. Many are echoing the allegations without checking what are real threats and how they compare. And without discussing the deeper issues, social and political.

The major problem with teleconferencing is the owner of the service. Can we trust the owner not to share or collect data. And also can we trust the jurisdiction where the service is hosted (Patriot Act)

Security is a container for many aspects, technical, social, judicial, political, and user behavior/skill/awareness, privacy and other civil rights. While Zoom is blamed, the real leak is Facebook. Zoom allows people to use Facebook or Google as an alternative to creating an account via email. Such "Sign On Services" are convenient but allow Facebook or Google to know when you use login to Zoom. People should be advised not to used these 'convenient' methods.

Although the articles attack Zoom via their privacy statement, Zoom is just exactly following the regulations (including GDPR) and they do not collect other personal data. Compare their statement with others and you'll see the authors are blowing it up to unfair proportions. (Sounds like an attack).

I have talked with Zoom about this and they confirm no data is shared with others.

My company uses technology to check also on data leaking via Zoom. Nothing has triggered yet.

There was an incident with a leak in July 2019, disclosed irresponsibly and dealt with reasonably fast. And this leak was a minor issue, but advertised as "Serious Zoom security flaw could let websites hijack Mac cameras".

Then there is the new "attention tracking" issue. Zoom should not have created this this. But it is a hardly workable feature for managers. The security implications of this feature are very low. This is a workers privacy issue also with limited implications compared to what people are sharing in other places and compared to many much bigger and more intrusive problems with privacy created by appearing before a camera in any teleconferencing meeting.

It is drawing away attention from us having to think about all the implications of these new technologies without laws and treaties and regulations that protect people against abuse of footage and data.

I don't see the current allegations as reason to advise against Zoom. There are no alternatives without issues. Some of them have more severe and bigger issues (like Skype, Google Hangouts, Facebook and Whatsapp), especially when they have a business model that is based on making money out of data (footage).

I still do recommend people to use different platforms and for teleconferencing https://meet.jit.si/ <https://meet.jit.si/> is a good opensource alternative that I use myself. I have also installed my own Jitsi server, for testing, but it eats a lot of resource.

It is also good if people, (like it is good to brush your teeth standing on one foot) to practice flexibility and not hook themselves to much to one solution.

Love,
Frank van den Heuvel


Very good video on Empowering and protecting your family during the COVID-19 pandemic

March 29, 2020

Dear RCers,

Here is a very good video of a doctor explaining COVID-19 to his neighborhood over the internet.  It is very much worth watching in my opinion.  Use this as one good source, but continue to think for yourself about the steps you should take in your life, in your circumstances.

No source of information should be considered perfect, especially in fast developing situations. A couple of doctors in RC are more concerned than this about the dispersal of droplets and aerosols.  

With love and appreciation,
Tim

<https://vimeo.com/>
         
<https://vimeo.com/399733860#at=0>
Covid_19_Protecting_Your_Family_Dr_Dave_Price_3_22_2020 <https://vimeo.com/399733860>
by Mariana Price
Dr. David Price of Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York City shares information in a Mar. 22 Zoom call with family and friends on empowering and protecting families during the COVID-19 pandemic.


COVID: PLEASE READ NOW

March 17, 2020

Dear RCers,

The coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread across the world.  At the same time, the effects of the virus in Wuhan are dropping rapidly.  The governments and the people there took enough steps that they have been able to greatly lessen the spread of the virus locally.  This makes it clear that it’s possible to limit the virus’ spread.  And it also indicates the level of action necessary to do this.  

Very clearly the sooner a community moves to drastically limit people’s contact with each other the more quickly we can end the spread of this virus.  Any tendency by governments or individuals to wait to see if things will get worse before they take action simply endangers more people.  

I think this means that we curtail all in person interactions as much as we can.  This is true with our Co-Counselors and with anyone else around us. Our washing our hands frequently, our using hand sanitizers, our covering our coughs and sneezes, and not touching our faces all are useful in stopping the spread of this virus, especially when we must be out in public, but it is the physical isolation of us from one another that give the virus almost no opportunity to spread.

This new-to-us circumstance requires us to think and take steps we have never needed to before. We know we can think afresh and take new actions to solve this new problem.  We also know that our restimulations can interfere with this, making it hard to think about this situation at all, making us go passive or take reactive steps that don’t handle the situation well.  We all need to discharge on the things this circumstance restimulates in us, using phone, Facetime, Zoom, or other electronic sessions. 

Please discharge and think for yourself.  Listen to the medical people who have spent their lives thinking about these things, and figure out the steps you want to take and when to take them.  So far, it appears that every government has waited too long and taken too small steps at the beginning.  You get to decide.  This matters to your life and to the life of people around you.  This is a situation where it is important that you do not delay.  

With love and appreciation,
Tim


COVID, more details on why to act now

March 17

Dear RCer,

Here is the link for an excellent article and analysis of our situation.  It may have more data than you are used to, but it is worth reading through the article and not getting mired in data that restimulates you too much.  Also, this is now nearly a week old but all of the continuing directions of developments are indicated in this article.  

Please look at this today.  

https://medium.com/@tomaspueyo/coronavirus-act-today-or-people-will-die-f4d3d9cd99ca

If you follow the author (clicking on the Follow button by his name), you will find this has been translated into several languages.  (Summary of this article)

With love and appreciation,
Tim


Thinking ahead about Rational Island Publishers orders

March 15, 2020 

Dear RCers,

COVID-19 (coronavirus) cases continue to increase in Seattle.  Most of our staff have been working from home for the last week and a half.  We are moving to have all of our staff work from home in case we are required to completely shut down the RCCR and RIP offices. 

We highly recommend that you take a few minutes and order whatever literature you might need for the next two months today.  We will prioritize getting out orders on Monday and for as long as we can.  

If possible, please order from the website at:

www.rationalisland.com

If that doesn’t work for you, you can leave phone orders on the answering machine at the number below.  

With love,
Diane


Changes in finances for RC workshops

March 12, 2020

Dear RCer,

In these extraordinary conditions created by the spread of the coronavirus (COVID 19) we need to have some new policy to guide us in organizing and having workshops through Zoom or other online workshops, which it appears will be the dominant form of workshops for a while.  While we gain more experience in this, and perhaps until the next World Conference in 2021, our organizing and having Zoom workshops is to be guided by the following.  These Guidelines are necessary to both clarify the situation around these workshops and to help continue the generating of income for the Community Service Fund.  (This fund provides International Outreach for individuals in Communities across the world, for workshops in developing Communities, and provides support for the communications and coordination activities handled in Seattle.)

1.  The payment of workshop leaders will continue to be as specified in our current Guidelines.  

2.  The payment of organizers will continue to be as specified in the current Guidelines.

3.  The portion of workshop income allocated to the Community Service Fund is to be 30% (rather than the 10% currently specified in Guideline H.4 and H.5.).

4.  Any extra income (net income) shall be divided between the Community Service Fund and the Rational Island Publishers Publication Fund.  

These modifications are to Guidelines H.4 and H.5 of the 2017 RC Community Guidelines for Zoom or other online workshops only.  (We will get out amended workshop financial reporting forms soon.)

With love and appreciation,
Tim


Caution

March 12, 2020

Dear RCers,

The corona virus (COVID-19) continues to have larger and larger effects on larger and larger portions of the world.  I expect it to continue on this path and it is very likely to hit every community, including yours. We need to both protect ourselves and help contain the spread of this virus.  In many communities no face-to-face RC gatherings are taking place: not support groups, not classes, not workshops, not gather-ins. These are being done electronically, instead, via phone, Facetime, Zoom, or other electronic means. Sessions are also being held these ways.  The most effective way to contain the virus is to greatly lessen contact between people.  Please consider the steps your Community can take.  Ideally, we can restrict contact before any of us are infected.  

Many workshops (local, Regional, and International) have been cancelled.  So far, this has been done only with workshops up to about 3 months in the future.  More are likely to be cancelled in the coming weeks as we get a clearer picture of the progression of the spread of the virus.  Please tell RCers to not make travel arrangements for workshops in these conditions. Organizers of future workshops also should not make large deposits on sites if they will be unable to get a refund in the situation we determine the virus necessitates cancelling the workshop.  I think organizers will need to have discussions about this with any sites they are interested in.  You must expect sites to say it’s safe to gather when we don’t think it is, so that conditions for refunds need to be based on your judgment not the site’s judgment.  

With love and appreciation,
Tim


The corona virus (COVID-19) and RC

March 11, 2020

Dear RCer,

The spread of the corona virus (COVID-19) continues to spread and the spread accelerates.  This is a new situation for everyone and it is a situation that will restimulate us enough that we will need to make efforts to discharge and exchange information enough that each of us can handle it effectively in our own lives.  I would like there to be an ongoing discussion on the RC Community Members list of the many issues involved. (Instructions on how to subscribe to that list are at the bottom of this email).  These include:

** How are people working on the issues and distresses related to this challenge?  

** How are you and others in your Community keeping themselves safe?  

** How are you and others protecting your RC and other communities?

** What resistance are you running into when you try to change your behavior because of this situation?  

** Who around you can’t think about this?  

And many others.  All sides of this issue need to be looked at, discharged on, and have information shared about them.  

With love and appreciation,
Tim

There are several steps to subscribe to an RC list, and for the Community Members or UER lists, we also need a recommendation from your Reference Person (ARP or RRP). 

1. Make sure you have a subscription to Present Time if you are a fluent reader of English.(If you are a fluent reader of English, part of being an active member of the RC Community is subscribing to Present Time.  For additional requirements, please see below.

2. Set up an account at the server site <https://list.rc.org> if you don’t already have one. When you sign up for an account you will receive an email to verify your email address. Be sure to look for it in your junk folder if you don’t see it after some time. Once you have verified your email address, the account is created.

3.  Log in to your account, click on the list you would you would like to subscribe to, and enter your email address. You will get an email from the list moderator asking for additional information, such as full name, phone number, and mailing address. Please complete and send that back to the moderator and copy ircc@rc.org. It may take some days for the list moderator to get back to you, please be patient.  For the Community-members list you need a recommendation from your ARP or RRP.  Please forward that to the moderator with the information above.

You will get a confirmation email when you are successfully subscribed.  Keep this email.  You will be expected to also use your account to make other changes to your electronic mailing list subscriptions. If you need help, there is a ‘help’ list where subscribers can help each other.


Intensives and one-way counseling at RCCR

March 11, 2020

Dear RCers,

Because of the escalating transmission of COVID-19 in Seattle, I have cancelled in-person intensives for the next few weeks at RCCR and most of our staff are working from home.  We do rely on income from intensives to pay counselor wages and meet other expenses.  We are now offering half intensives (ten hours in one week) by Zoom or phone.  We also offer individual one-way sessions to people who have already had an intensive with us.  

If you would like to arrange for some of this long-distance, one-way counseling in the next few weeks, it would be very helpful for us.  Please contact Sandra McDonald at rcoffice@rc.org to schedule your time.  

With love and appreciation,
Tim


Additional measure to take re: COVID-19

March 4

Dear RCers,

I am working to figure out the best way that we can respond to the international development involving the COVID-19 virus.  We are all hampered by a great lack of information about this virus and its transmission, by our restimulations from this situation, and by the evident confusions and influences of capitalism on our governments and their policies.  This virus is transmitted very easily and no one has resistance to it.  Our next steps are to limit the opportunities for this virus to be transmitted.  

Under these conditions, I want the RC Communities to take decisive steps to limit our transmission of this virus.  Over the past weeks, as we began to get an understanding of the situation, I cancelled several workshops and other RC activities in several parts of the world.  Now we will do more. These are steps we will take now aimed at the next two weeks.  We will continue thinking and learning about the developing situation and modify these steps and take others.

** Staff at RCCR will not travel to other RC Communities to lead RC activities or attend workshops. (Seattle is a center of this virus in the U.S. at this time.)

** Any workshop occurring in the next month that involves any international travel for the leader or any participant should be cancelled. If leadership is from within the country and there are no international participants, the workshop can be held at the discretion of the leader and organizer if the workshop draws only from geographic areas where there is no “community transmission.”  

When someone develops the virus who was not exposed to anyone known to be infected with COVID-19, and had not traveled to countries in which the virus is circulating, it is said that “community transmission” is occurring.  This is an important marker of the spread of the disease and is commonly referred to in the media and by public health officials.  

** Similarly, if an RC activity in the next month is drawing people from significant distances within one country that include people from locations where “community transmission” of the virus is occurring, that activity should be cancelled, or the people from locations with “community transmission” should not attend. 

** In locations where there has been no "community transmission”, the workshop, class, gather-in, and so on, may be held at the discretion of the leaders of the local RC Community.

** In locations where there has been “community transmission”, all RC gatherings should be cancelled. 

** People from Regions with “community transmission” should not go to workshops outside their Region in this period.

In place of these RC gatherings, we wish to encourage people to use whatever electronic communications are possible to do the work that would have been done at the RC gathering. These include using Zoom, Skype, Facetime, Telegram, etc. for classes, support groups, talks that would have happened at a workshop, and so on. 

The way we have individual face-to-face sessions needs to be carefully thought about. Though many of us will never have this virus, each of us needs to thoughtfully limit the possibility of either acquiring or transmitting the virus in a session.  Please read and follow as much as possible the suggestions that have been made by thoughtful people in the medical profession.  We will list some of these at the end of this communication.   

This is a very real and immediate challenge for us in the RC Community to handle.  We can do this and support each other in our efforts.  

I understand this has large economic consequences for many people. I don’t think this is avoidable, and these actions still appear necessary for the safety of individuals and our Communities, and all of the people around us.  There may be ways to lessen the economic difficulties this creates by negotiating with workshop sites, petitioning airlines, and so on. To the extent that there are unrecoverable costs that would be a hardship to absorb, please reach out to Mike Markovits and the Re-evaluation Foundation.

Please go after each other.  As with all challenges, one goal is to emerge from the challenge clearer and in better shape than when we first faced it.  Let’s do that.  

With love and appreciation,
Tim


From the U.S. Center for Disease Control:

There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
Stay home when you are sick.
Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.
CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to  others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers <https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/hcp/infection-control.html> and people who are taking care of someone in close settings <https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/guidance-home-care.html> (at home or in a health care facility).
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.


From the World Health Organization:

Stay aware of the latest information on the COVID-19 outbreak, available on the WHO website and through your national and local public health authority. Most people who become infected experience mild illness and recover, but it can be more severe for others. Take care of your health and protect others by doing the following:
Wash your hands frequently—Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water

Why? Washing your hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand rub kills viruses that may be on your hands.

Maintain social distancing—Maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.

Why? When someone coughs or sneezes they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus if the person coughing has the disease.

Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth

Why? Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick.

Practice respiratory hygiene—Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately.

Why? Droplets spread virus. By following good respiratory hygiene you protect the people around you from viruses such as cold, flu and COVID-19.

If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early—Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance. Follow the directions of your local health authority.

Why? National and local authorities will have the most up to date information on the situation in your area. Calling in advance will allow your health care provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility. This will also protect you and help prevent spread of viruses and other infections.

Stay informed and follow advice given by your healthcare provider—Stay informed on the latest developments about COVID-19. Follow advice given by your healthcare provider, your national and local public health authority or your employer on how to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.

Why? National and local authorities will have the most up to date information on whether COVID-19 is spreading in your area. They are best placed to advise on what people in your area should be doing to protect themselves.


Developments with COVID-19 virus

February 29, 2020 

Dear RCers,

With the rapidly developing situation with the corona virus (COVID-19 virus), we have to be considering the cancellation of workshops in the near future, especially those that draw people from many places or that involve the leader traveling from a distant place.  If you are intending to go to one of these workshops, please wait to purchase your plane ticket.  We will be continuing the watch the situation and make decisions about cancelling workshops as soon as we think we have enough information. 

Thank you.

With love and appreciation,
Tim


RC and the COVID-19 virus 

February 27, 2020 

Dear RCers,

As the COVID-19 virus continues to spread into more countries, it is important that we inform ourselves about it, thinking about each of our situations relative to this virus, have sessions on whatever this situation restimulates for us, and prepare ourselves to handle things, however the situation develops. Governments have not taken the necessary steps quickly enough to keep this from spreading. 

It is important to contain and isolate this illness so that it does not have the chance to establish itself the way influenza has.

Our current situation has many unknowns and is changing rapidly.

Under these conditions, we in RC need to recognize that our gathering people from many parts of the world together can create a situation that could allow the virus to spread in that group and then in the individuals wide-spread home communities. This needs to be thought about by workshop leaders and organizers.

Each workshop needs to be thought about: where are the participants from and where have they traveled recently, and what presence does the virus have in those places, etc. Local workshop far from where the virus has appeared still seem reasonable to continue holding.

Any workshop that brings people together from far distances, participants and leader, need to be thought about carefully and postponement or cancellation considered.

We have canceled several RC events because of this situation already, in both Europe and the Far East.

The situation will continue to develop and we will gain clearer information in the next few weeks. Please discharge on and think about the situation so that we can handle it most effectively.

With love and appreciation,

Tim

Local RC Community COVID Practices

Dear all,

We’ve received a few good COVID policies we thought might be useful to you as you are thinking about your Areas and Regions re: your own COVID policies.  

With love,
Diane

Brooklyn Southwest Region

Proposed Draft Policy Regarding In-Person Contact for Co-Counselors in the Brooklyn Southwest Region - August 24, 2021

The Coronavirus pandemic became a clear existential threat for the geographic area of Brooklyn, New York in March 2020, and continues to mutate to more communicable and deadly forms. Variants of the virus continue to spread and cases, hospitalizations, and deaths continue throughout the world and locally, though this geographic area has a relatively low level of infection at this time. Parts of Brooklyn have higher rates of infection than others. In our region, the southern portion has higher rates.

Unvaccinated people are reportedly the vast majority of serious cases now, but breakthrough cases in vaccinated people have shown that one can still contract and transmit covid through aerosol droplets expelled from our mucous membranes. Counseling involves the expulsion of droplets through talking, yawning, nose blowing and other activities.

Since March 2020, we have avoided physical contact to prevent contamination. Thankfully, technology has allowed us to stay in contact and continue our practice, but we all miss the physical presence and contact that are real human needs. Many of us have vulnerabilities that make it too risky to have that contact yet.

We are all, at times, vulnerable to acting on our feelings, sometimes yielding to peer pressure or reacting one way or another to the advice of those we view as being in authority relative to ourselves. We all need to discharge and think hard about what makes sense for us, our families, and our communities; in RC and out.

On August 9th, 2021 about a third of our region came together to think about a proposed guideline for our local practice at this time. The situation and advice from health experts changes almost daily. Here is the proposal that evolved from that meeting and from reading the proposals from other regions:

  1. We will continue to discharge on this year and a half of the pandemic in sessions, classes and workshops, and work on the feelings that have been brought up - the early loneliness, fear, anger, boredom, grief, and the physical discomfort of extended zoom participation, among any other feelings - so that we can think about this as clearly as possible. Regular weekly classes will discharge, think, and discuss this, so that each co-counselor gets to transparently consider and consult about their plans before deciding whether or not to meet in person. Teachers will discuss and consult with their ARPs on issues that arise in these meetings. ARPs will bring any concerns to the RRP.
  1. All co-counselors will take the following considerations, among others, into account:
    • The vaccination status of ourselves, the other counselor and the two counselors’ households
    • Any health vulnerabilities of either counselor or the people they are regularly in contact with
    • Whether either of the counselors are in regular unmasked contact with unvaccinated, vaccination ineligible or other vulnerable people (e.g., older, immunocompromised, etc.)
    • The number of other co-counselors each counselor has in-person sessions with
    • Other risk situations, such as recent travel (airplane, places where vaccination rates are low or cases are high, etc.) or attendance at indoor events with large groups of people
    • If a counseling pair decides to meet in-person, they will discuss the agreements for the session (e.g., mask wearing, social distancing, outdoors versus indoors, touch/handholding) and hold each other to them.
  1. At this time, we will not meet in any indoor group situations - classes or workshops.
  1. Family work special times may occur outdoors if all participants are vaccinated, including young ones (restricted to those 12 years old and older) and all the items in #2 are taken into consideration.
  1. Counselors are encouraged to stay updated about scientific information and guidance provided by the CDC and other reputable local sources (such as local health departments), and our actions and policy will be reviewed and updated as necessary based on the ever-evolving situation and guidelines from the scientific community.

If approved, this policy will be distributed to our region, for discussion and discharge in every class.


Vermont/New Hampshire Region

Proposed Draft Policy Regarding In-Person Contact for RC Co-Counselors in the Vermont / New Hampshire Region

August 2021

Current Situation

Our human need to have in-person contact with others has been challenged by the restrictions of good public health policy in response to the world-wide Covid pandemic. While monumental strides have been made (e.g.: In Vermont, over 84% of all eligible people have had at least one vaccination shot), mutations of the virus continue to create new complications that have egregious health issues including the ability to be together.

This Draft Policy

At this time, a year and a half into the pandemic, this draft policy is being proposed for which in-person RC activities are possible in our region. This draft policy is based on the need for each of us to make an informed, individual decision for what is safe for us, and the people around us. Each of us needs to stay updated about scientific-based medical information and guidance provided by reputable sources. This could include the WHO, CDC and state health departments.

We need to use the skills of RC by discharging on what comes up for us with these pandemic experiences and the early material that it brings up. And to keep discharging on our early experiences of other people telling us what to do.

The Draft Policy on In-Person RC Activities:

A: Vaccination Status

Only those RCers who have completed their Covid vaccinations can participate in any in-person RC activity. Those who are not vaccinated, including for medical reasons, are to use other forms of communication, such as telephones and Zoom calls, to participate in RC activities.

B: In-Person 2-way Sessions

For those of us who are fully vaccinated, and wanting to have in-person sessions, both counselors will discuss and agree on how this session is to be done (e.g., mask wearing, social distancing, outdoors versus indoors, touch/handholding). Both counselors need to fully discuss any relevant considerations and they are expected to share with each other the following information:

-The vaccination status of the each counselor and of their household;

-Medical information about vulnerabilities either counselor may have;

-Whether either counselor is in regular unmasked contact with unvaccinated or other vulnerable people.

-The number of other co-counselors each counselor is having in-person sessions with.

-Any other risk situations.

C: Meeting Outside as a way to have a RC activity

Currently, there is reputable medical information that the risk of Covid virus transmission is highly unlikely when people are outside and keeping a social distance. If this low risk way to meet continues to hold, RC groups can meet outside while keeping a social distance. This way of gathering might be useful on occasion for some RC activities. However, it’s a problematic way to schedule and meet because of the limited certainty as far as weather conditions including temperature, precipitation and other issues. To help keep fresh that social distancing needs to be maintained, meeting outside is not to be a regular way of meeting for classes and not to be used for workshops. In addition, co-counselors are to follow public health transportation guidelines in traveling to and from these events, including not being in the same car unless they live together.

Until a new draft policy is agreed on, there will be no other in-person activities.

For the Vermont/New Hampshire region,
Guy Wood


Monterey Bay Region

Dear RC Community Member in the Monterey Bay Region,

As you may know, we have now conducted two Think-And-Listen events for community members to think together about the implications of the Covid situation for our local community. They were useful, and along with additional input from Nancy and Tim Jackins, have helped prepare me to share these thoughts with you.

As has been the case all along with this pandemic, there is lots of uncertainty about what the risks really are from day to day in various situations. What a good chance to discharge and learn to handle a complex, ever-shifting situation! There will be many more of these.

We do know that the trend of falling cases in the U.S. that was so exciting until a month ago has reversed. And we know that the Delta variant is much more contagious than previous variants of the virus, and that that is the probable #1 reason for the upturn in infection rates we are seeing.

We know that Santa Cruz County is better off than many places in the country, with relatively low infection rates (partly because we have a high vaccination rate). We know that the most effective way to stop the pandemic is for people to get vaccinated, and we know that the vaccinations have a very good safety record (not perfect, like any vaccination). We also know that about 97 percent of hospitalized coronavirus patients nationwide have not been vaccinated.

Relevant to co-counseling activities, we know that being physically close to people for extended periods, especially if they are shouting, crying, laughing, etc., is a relatively high-risk activity. The risk is much higher indoors. And now we know that the Delta variant is infecting many vaccinated people, and although they probably won't get seriously ill, they may transmit Covid to others--for example, children under 12, who are all unvaccinated.

What is the conclusion to all this for our co-counseling activities? There are 3 main things to know:

There will be no in-person RC workshops anywhere for the rest of this year (Tim's decision).
In our Region, we will continue to avoid all in-person group meetings until further notice.
(These two decisions are both intended to avoid the exponentially greater potential of spreading Covid when we meet in groups.) And,
In-person sessions are a possibility for each pair of counselors to decide on with discharge and careful thinking. Please read on for more about this choice.
It is, of course, fine to choose not to meet in person, and many of us will continue to make that choice. We have learned that we can have excellent sessions with Zoom, Skype, phone, etc.

If two counselors are thinking about meeting in person, they should ask each other about the other contacts in their lives. Do they spend time in close contact with many people? Are those people vaccinated? What are they doing to try to avoid becoming infected? (Some of us have had experience asking questions like this in the past relating to sexually transmitted diseases like HIV. If that includes you, you are already warmed up for the current situation!)

Personally, I am not going to have any more indoor sessions until conditions become safer. (I had a couple before Delta became such a present threat.) For now, I will continue to have a few outdoor sessions in person with vaccinated counselors only, sitting at some distance with feet touching. I plan to ask more questions of these in-person counselors about how they are keeping safe in their lives. If someone is having a lot of exposure, I will back off from in-person sessions with them.

Some of us have patterns of obsessively learning about every development with the pandemic, and some of us have patterns of avoiding learning about it. I think we all need to stay informed, and discharge any patterns that push us one way or the other. I suggest reading reliable news about the pandemic at least once a week, since conditions and information develop so quickly. I recommend the New York Times coverage, which is informed by many infectious disease experts. Here is a link: The Covid-19 Pandemic - The New York Times <https://www.nytimes.com/news-event/coronavirus>

I am happy to talk and session with any community member who wants to think about this further. You know how to reach me.

With much love,
Michael

Michael Levy
ARP, Santa Cruz RC Community
Santa Cruz, CA USA

Ithaca-Cortland-NE Tompkins RC Area

Draft Policy on In-Person RC Activities During COVID-19[1]

The situation

We did well as a community moving ourselves online early in the pandemic. At this time, many people are experiencing “COVID fatigue” and are eager to be together in person again. But the pandemic continues, along with the more-infectious Delta variant, significant numbers of unvaccinated people (including in some parts of our RC Area), and hard-to-quantify risks to both short- and long-term health.

There are some things we know, and many things we don’t yet know regarding this situation. But we still must all make daily assessments about what risk we are able and willing to take, and what that means for our activities.

While it is impossible to reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19 to zero without remaining entirely separate from other humans, we want to affirm our responsibilities to continue to obtain high-quality information and think about everyone’s well-being, not just our own.

Within our local RC community, some people find that Zoom classes and sessions do not sufficiently challenge their isolation patterns, don’t want to attend RC activities online after being on Zoom all day for work, or are concerned about the security risks of online sessions. Others who face increased risk for longer-term health challenges – for themselves or others with whom they live or work – need to continue to physically distance. Finally, community members have varying degrees of access to technology (computers vs. phones, low bandwidth in some rural areas, etc.).

We believe it is important to draw on reputable research and data in decision-making. This includes that:

  • Those who are unvaccinated remain most at-risk of severe illness and/or death. But “breakthrough infections,” while still statistically unlikely, can sometimes lead to significant illness or longer-term complications.
  • Severe disease for young people, while still unlikely, is increasing compared to earlier in the pandemic.
  • The laughing, crying, shouting, etc. that we engage in during RC sessions are known to be higher-risk activities for air-borne viral transmission.
  • Vaccinated people, meeting outdoors with social distancing and/or masks, seem to be at low risk of contracting or spreading COVID-19. Risk increases as any of these measures are discarded.

Tompkins and Cortland counties are currently designed by NYS as “high transmission” areas. While hospitalizations and deaths remain low, Cornell’s surveillance testing is highlighting much higher-than-expected numbers of “breakthrough infections,” in spite of 95% vaccination rates on campus. Thus, it is likely that community transmission off-campus is also higher than is being reported.

We will soon be in the late fall/winter season when colder temperatures make meeting outdoors more challenging and meeting indoors more risky (i.e., closed windows = less ventilation).

Implications for our RC Activities

  1. All RC workshops will remain online through at least the end of 2021 (per Tim Jackins).
  2. Area (local) RC classes and support groups will continue to remain entirely online at this time.

We want to avoid situations where the virus could be spread to many people at the same time. We will continue to put our minds toward how best to use online platforms, including how to more effectively contradict isolation recordings and address other challenges with being online. 

  1. Area co-counselors may choose whether or not to have in-person sessions – either as pairs or three-way sessions.

People’s risk assessments should be based on current local transmission rates; the evolving research and public health guidelines; their individual situations; AND discharge and re-evaluation.

All co-counselors would benefit from thinking about the issues below – regardless of whether or not they want to have in-person sessions.

Those wishing to meet for in-person sessions should first have thoughtful and honest conversations and sessions with each other about these issues. They should think about the situation and vulnerabilities for their session partners, as well as their own situations.  

Things to consider before counseling in-person

  • Who else do we have responsibilities to protect, beyond ourselves?
  • What are the risks of getting together in person – for us individually, and for others in our households or workplaces?

Things to consider include whether the co-counselors and others in their household are vaccinated or not; the health vulnerabilities for themselves and others; the numbers of other people they are interacting with and in what ways; whether they have recently travelled or attended large social events; whether they have any symptoms of illness (even minor ones); and any other risks for being infected, but asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic.

  • What, if anything, can be done to mitigate the risks?

For example: meeting outdoors, distanced, masked, in a well-ventilated room, or whether they will change other life activities to reduce the risk?

  • What patterns might get in the way of thinking well about ourselves and others?

Consider things like: whether either person has patterns of feeling compelled to say “yes” or “give in,” even when they don’t really want to? What other patterns might impede our thinking about our own health – and that of others? How can we help each other discharge on those things before meeting in-person?

[1] All RC policies are always “draft” policies, evolving in response to changing situations and new thinking. They are designed to help us think about complex issues, not to tell us “what to think.” This document was written in early Sept. 2021.

 


Last modified: 2022-03-16 21:06:25+00