April 2020

COVID-19 Statement

The board and officers of the Humanists of Utah are not unaware of the challenges we are facing in the world right now with regard to COVID-19 and its impact on our lives. We are adapting to the changes around us but still moving forward with our support and promotion of human-centered life responsibility and reason. With the safety of our members at the forefront of our mind, we have taken some actions to mitigate the impact.

1. Monthly meetings and attendance at major events will be postponed indefinitely as per public health recommendations. We will notify you when this changes.

2. Board meetings have moved to videoconferencing so that we may continue providing guidance, content and support for our members and community.

3. We are launching a support option for those of you who may need assistance with shopping or may need critical supplies and cannot leave the house. If you find yourself in need, please send an email to board@humanistsofutah.org or text 385-495-3786 and provide us with the details. We will arrange assistance.

In the meantime, we are producing great new Humanist content for you to enjoy in many ways:

· Read current and past issues of The Humanist, our monthly newsletter. We will be adding additional content and writers starting next month so you will not want to miss a single issue.

· Check us out on Facebook, where we have a community of over 1100 people who share thoughts and conversations around Humanism and contribute your own insights.

· On YouTube, see presentations by past featured speakers in our Humanist Speaker Series.

· Like Twitter? We now have a channel where you can stay in touch and retweet HoU information.

· We are working on a podcast series starring Jared Anderson, our resident celebrant, in which he discusses subjects that will be sure to fascinate you.

The Humanists of Utah strongly denounces attempts to cast blame or incite vile racist or similar dehumanization against fellow humans for the virus. It is critical that reason, empathy and mutual assistance rise above the tide of lazy and ineffective efforts to create an enemy out of “others”. We encourage a defense against the toxic appearance of nationalism and tribalism wherever found.

Thank you for your support of the HoU community. If you are not a member, please consider joining and enjoy all the many benefits mentioned above. Annual memberships start at just $35 ($20 for students) and we welcome all with open arms.

—Yours in Humanism
The Board of Directors

President’s Report

Over the last year the Humanists of Utah have worked diligently to build our brand, promote practical Humanism in our daily lives, and broaden the content offerings for our members. We refer to this as HoU 2.0 and is it part of our larger stratagem of bringing the visibility and appeal of Humanism to the Beehive State. Most recently, we have overhauled our marketing and promotional trade dress to reflect a consistent and striking visual arsenal of colors, symbols and messaging that will unite our efforts and let us be more recognizable, thus strengthening our brand.

I am thrilled to announce that the board of directors has recently approved the adoption and immediate usage of a new striking organizational logo that we think is worthy of HoU 2.0. It brings a fresh and vibrant pulse to the group while still honoring our philosophies and aspirational aims. But underneath it all is a rich set of symbology that we feel unites and energizes Humanism in Utah. We hope you like it!

LOGO

The eight Happy Humanists form a circle that represents global forward progress and also represents a sun of enlightenment. Their arms are outstretched in hope, potential and joy.

The white space surrounding the beehive is in the shape of both an atom and a flower, representing an emphasis on science, reason and naturalism.

The beehive represents the state of Utah and HoU’s cooperation with and involvement in bettering our society through Humanist ideals and action.

The star in the beehive represents unity and direction through Humanism, a north star of sorts, as well as representing a state in the American Humanist Association.

—Jeff Curtis
President, HoU

Chaplin’s Corner

Reality, Response, Invitation

I know things feel crazy, and scary, and upside down right now. Many if not most of us are worried about our health and the health of our loved ones. We are worried about our jobs. We are worried about our future. We are even worried about toilet paper. You aren’t overreacting. This is a matter of life and death at a global scale. The best thing most of us can do is stay home and check in with ourselves and our loved ones.

I want to share a few thoughts about reality, response, and invitation.

Reality. The reality is that life is always this vulnerable, always this uncertain. Life is always this precious. Science teaches us that we are not selves or individuals the way we think we are. We are complex systems, both internal and external. Our internal systems are fighting World War III with a new virus. Our external systems are fighting World War III with the consequences of that virus. Covid-19 functions as a systems check, and most of our systems are falling short. At the same time, we are seeing the noble and beautiful in human nature as we care for each other. Italians sing to each other. China sent medical masks to Italy and put on the crates a poem by the ancient Roman philosopher Seneca: “We are waves from the same sea, leaves from the same tree, flowers from the same garden”. Japan donated supplies to China and put on the boxes a Buddhist poem: “We have different mountains and rivers, but we share the same sun, moon, and sky.” And our heroic medical workers risk themselves during long shifts.

Response. Our initial response is likely fear and grief, and that is ok. Whatever your initial response is, that is ok. Grief is the other side of love, and we aren’t used to sitting with it. Grief researcher David Kessler said, “We feel the world has changed, and it has. We know this is temporary, but it doesn’t feel that way, and we realize things will be different. Just as going to the airport is forever different from how it was before 9/11, things will change and this is the point at which they changed. The loss of normalcy; the fear of economic toll; the loss of connection. This is hitting us and we’re grieving. Collectively. We are not used to this kind of collective grief in the air.” (https://hbr.org/2020/03/that-discomfort-youre-feeling-is-grief) So what do we do with this fear and grief? We feel it. We breathe through it. And we ground ourselves in the present moment. This mindful presence is an emotional workout, and you will be stronger because you do it.

Invitation. The reality is that everything that happens in our lives is an invitation. As a rule, we are as good as we are incentivized and empowered to be, and this moment invites with world shaking power. This challenge invites the best of us. Grief invites gratitude. Risk invites perspective. Distance invites connection.

I hope that we will check in with and care for ourselves. I am completely alone during quarantine, and grateful for the work I have done to be a friend to myself. Relationships, closeness, touch… I hope we will never again take these for granted. Last night I read bedtime stories to my two youngest children via video chat. My cautious hope is that this global challenge, by showing us how vulnerable and interconnected we are, by showing us how flawed our systems are, will catalyze some real improvements. Because however noble our individual responses are, change must happen at the national and global level to be sustainable.

But as we wait and work for that change, we can hold still, be grateful, and connect as we can.

History will remember when the world stopped
And the flights stayed on the ground.
And the cars parked in the street.
And the trains didn’t run.

History will remember when the schools closed
And the children stayed indoors
And the medical staff walked towards the fire
And they didn’t run.

History will remember when the people sang
On their balconies, in isolation
But so very much together
In courage and song.

History will remember when the people fought
For their old and their weak
Protected the vulnerable
By doing nothing at all.

History will remember when the virus left
And the houses opened
And the people came out
And hugged and kissed
And started again
Kinder than before

—Donna Ashworth

Jared Anderson (MA, BCC) is endorsed by the AHA Humanist Society as a Chaplain, Celebrant, and Lay Leader. He provides rituals across the life span for birth, coming of age, and divorce, as well as weddings and funerals. He specializes in designing personalized ceremonies that integrate ideas from art, history and popular culture. Contact him at jared@humanistsofutah.org

Staying Focused at Home

We are currently in a very peculiar time. Our deliberate choices will have impacts that can change the course of history. Whether it be in how we are going to vote, Whether we are practicing social distancing ( I prefer the term physical distancing), and for many of us, a complete change of daily lifestyle by either self-quarantining or working remotely from home.

These changes can be overwhelming and stressful to some. The most important thing during this time on our planet is to find peace of mind and comfort while navigating the chaos around us. The best way to do this is to create a plan. What do you want your days to include? What do you need to do? What do you want to do? How can you make it happen? When will I rest? This is an important part of each day. Here are five ways to help you create your plan. These are helpful for those of you who are new to working from home but can be modified to any aspect of your lives.

1. Double down on your daily ritual

2. Lean on your most important Big Three focus items

3. Find a focus spot, where you can be that will provide the best source of staying focused

4. Agree on a signal to tell people in your home that you are in “deep work” and now is not the time to interrupt, setting the boundaries

5. Be flexible, being at home is new for your family too

We are making history. We are living history. You are so important and so very valuable to the world we all live in. Hang in there, make smart choices and think outside of the box—you will be amazed at the beautiful things that await you!

Kindest regards,
Melanie White-Curtis

HoU Vice President