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Candle Night, Summer Solstice, 2020



Covid-19 has been causing much hardship and suffering among us humans all over the world. It has easily trespassed the human-made borders between nations, tribes, races, and classes, forcing all of us to make some significant changes. It is as if this crisis is testing us to see what we can learn and whether we can change.

We have been reminded of one fundamental yet almost forgotten fact: we humans, animals, plants, germs and viruses are all sharing this very same planet, and whether you like it or not, we all are inseparably connected by the web of interdependent relationships.

The Italian novelist, Paolo Giordano quotes a line from the Book of Psalms, in his “Nel Contagio,” a chronicle of his days in Rome from late February to early March; “Teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” Then he suggests that this prayer encourages us to learn how to make every single day of our life precious again, including what otherwise looks like boring and even “painful break” imposed upon us by the pandemic.

Take each day of our life and cherish it. Only then, a world beyond the Corona Crisis may dawn on us.

It was in 2001 that we, the Sloth Club, initiated the “Candle Night” campaign, a collective voluntary blackout movement.

Soon, many citizen’s movements, companies, municipalities joined hands to organize a successful annual campaign called Million People’s Candle Night. It started with the Summer Solstice event in 2003, in which many landmark buildings collaborated and more than 5 million people are believed to have participated. The movement spread around the planet, inspiring a growing wave of deep reflection and setting of new intention.

There was a wide variety of people participating, simply enjoying darkness, candle light gathering with family and friends, reminiscing the deceased, playing music, affectionate time with the beloved. There were those who expressed their views on nukes, conflicts, poverty and ecological crises, and wished for love and peace. Though diverse, all of us were somehow connected through darkness and candle light. By unplugging we got connected. Thoughts, words, images and music that were created there have been subtly and slowly changing this world of which we are tiny parts.

Now that the world is forced to be connected by the epidemic, we may be given a precious opportunity to release our subconscious dreams of what we wish the world to be like. It is a world in which we all are interconnected through compassion and sharing, instead of through suffering and sorrow. Only then, as John Lennon said, the World is “as One.”

So, join us at 8 PM on June 21st, Summer Solstice, in slowing down, lighting a candle and coming together for the world we long for.

May 27, 2020

The Sloth Club



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