Covid-19 : An Extraordinary Ordinary Alphabet for Change

Having in mind the exceptional challenge we are all going through in this time, a new “alphabet” of change  reminds us the changes we are going through.
A consideration appropriate also for our I_Improve project.

How many things have we taken for granted in our lives, but also in our day to day activities? Now is the time to learn how to add and subtract.
And learning a new language that helps us stay "inside" ourselves.
Written by Manuela Cattaneo della Volta. English version by Kevin Desmond


Affection – despite the stress of enforced enclosure – being affectionate to each other is so important and enriching.

Breathing - the most normal, most automatic, most banal thing in this world has suddenly become the most precious. Without breathing we can only live for a few seconds and inhaling now we risk falling ill. So even breathing-in makes us aware of life, of wanting to stay alive.


Contact – no long shaking hands, even though holding a piece of fruit touches us deeply. And the attention we pay to others' hands, to washing our hands, to doing something with our hands, means first of all touching, and feeling, and trying something that has to do with our emotional chemistry, cannot merely remain superficial.



Change and Challenge. What a task we, the whole world received… are we ready? are we ever ready for a change…? probably not, but sometimes

challenge and change are taking hands to reach the goal together


Distance - now you are choosing whether to stay at a distance or get closer, perhaps with the technological means available, but in the meantime you choose to fill or maintain that distance; decisions are made that are no longer covered by justifications such as stress or haste, but decisions dictated by the heart; they are truer, finally we can no longer hide, we become responsible.


Embracing - is that what we underestimated the most? How many times have we embraced without thinking about it? Now each touch has an important, unique value: not only thanks to the activation of serotonin and dopamine whenever skin touches, but also to the spontaneous smile when we feel a squeeze, in coming close to the body of another person ; that touch means friendship, love, esteem, affection. A value that has a specific weight and from now on we are all feeling it.


Flowers - before the “shut down” I bought a bunch of buttercups: orange. In the dining room they make everything more cheerful, alive, and real. And if I have a moment of sadness I look at them for a moment to let it pass. We have the sun at home and it's already a lot.


Games - no longer played as before. Hide and seek, the four cantons, the table football, the race ... of course video games are once again popular and even be glued to a screen for hours is tolerated, but we cling to the nostalgia for what we could have done outdoors and now no more. It will come back, we tell him and we will try with the monopoly or the cards, which at least in the family and at all ages bring us together at the same table, to have a new fun together.


Habitat - and this is a chapter in itself: what is our habitat? Our home? The family? Your partner? The country? There is no one at this time who has not asked the question ... and luck is that we can talk about habitats, feel our own and feel protected, together.


Hospital - with the addition that now we evaluate our health with other parameters, we have learned to relativize, we have understood the difference between "now because I want it" and "postponed because I can wait".

I and Improve, almost too easy… this is the most incredible experience and opportunity to improve: each of us can put here our personal thoughts about it.

We have homework for the rest of our lives.

Be just to those close to you, but also to those who are imposing justice on those who are unjust. 

In this situation, our kismet is fate; a predetermined or unavoidable destiny to which we must adapt and then surpass. InshAllah!


Lent - those who are observant Catholics are now helped, but in general we can instead discover the truest sense of Lent, renunciation, frugality; perhaps thinking then about Easter, success, rebirth. For those who are not believers, some words now have a universal meaning and we all hope that the date of resurrection should not be too late compared to April 12 of this year.


Medicine - you go to the doctor, you enter the pharmacy and you come out healed or almost. However, in most cases, few steps to take care of our health. Now medicine is with a capital M: there is talk of excellent health, courage, heroes. Someone could say that we always arrive a little late to realise things that have always been before our eyes, but the important thing is to get there, and above all not to forget.


Nourishment  - comes in many and different forms, but certainly if before it seemed the simplest thing in the world or instead chic, now we nourish it in any form or nature. From boiled egg to meditation, from pasta dish to yoga asana, from Proustian madeleine to listening to a new silence, they become essential to feel good, nourish body and soul together, knowing the precious gift we are making.


Other - The other is not an unknown person, but rather the virus which damages  you and your borders of the freedom of your mind. Recognise this and you become freer.


Passion - for those who already had one or more than one, just practice it (if you are a housewife); for those who had one or more than one that is not practicable at home, they have to deal with the word "renunciation" and there is a lot to learn there too ... for those who don't have one, it's time to discover one, cultivate it and keep it also close for later.


Reading - For many this is a rediscovery, for others a confirmation, for still others a surprise: reading a book takes you to another world, makes you become someone else, makes you feel new, and makes you come out of a reality that seems novel, at least for a while. Fantasy never killed anyone, quite the contrary.


Reflection - never a word was more inspiring: to stop to think, to try to see the good in all this, to encourage students to learn and be able to carry out the teaching ... to reflect, not to pass this experience as a bad season of life, but to make it an integral part of our mentality, of the ability to change; to experiment, to adapt to the new, always.


Seeing - or feeling or trying, now we do it differently: now we don't just look, but we see, we are present, conscious, and aware. Maybe not all we grasp, but the effort to see is already a big step in the same direction.


Shopping - shopping around, normally I go shopping, buying compulsively, but now it's limited to us: nothing is forbidden, it's simply not the time to do it now. And then there is the possibility of discovering renunciation, or being able to do without it, or non-necessity, even better. This does not mean that it will be forever, but it is learning the measure.


Throwaway - nothing is thrown away lightly: from the change of season to what is in the refrigerator, to towels up to towels that can become rags and even a glass of water, the question is: do I throw away? Or better to keep that it could serve? In short, it keeps longer, perhaps also to keep the memory of memories alive.


Time - This should be written in capital letters. Here is the biggest revolution: there is never enough for us, we chase it, we exploit it, we make sure not to lose it, we even kill it, and suddenly everything is there for us, at our total disposal. And so we discover that it has always been there, equal and perennial, but it is its use that has a completely different meaning. And it is only up to us to ensure that it is precious at all times.


Union - This word should also be in capital letters. We are One, more or less distant, more or less different, but part of a single system that brings us all together. And only united can we survive. It is a relationship made of glances, of substantial help, of understanding, where the only war we need is against the enemy in us, the battle is with our mentality. If we understand that we are One, evil becomes a paradox.


Weekend - synonymous with doing something else, disconnecting, traveling, mental and / or physical movement. Now we can take the weekend at 8 in the morning or at lunchtime, or on Monday afternoon, if you like. Of course, physical movements are limited, but the head can go where it wants and when it wants, this is true freedom, other than a weekend.


Wellness - it's always been normal to complain, and the "how are you?" "Well, thank you" floated in the air without any meaning. Now saying "I'm fine" is double, even more, it means exactly what it means.

Yearning for those things which have temporarily been forbidden, can only yield greater pleasure when we can eventually return to them. Yearning is a sign of youth no matter how old we are!


X is the mark we make on a document when we say Yes or No. To all these other letters above, we make our mark positively. 


Zodiac - The stars remain there, observing us, looking down from above, as small as they are immense, stable and proud, to counterbalance these tiny dots that previously moved from one part of the planet to the other like flying lice convinced of to be the masters of the head ... and then annihilated, taken aback by something infinitely smaller than them and yet so gigantic, so large as to strike inside, in the most vulnerable part. And they, the stars, who have another method of measurement, simply observe, because they have already decided our future.

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