Coronavirus Update from Jason and Ingo, Tantra4GayMen
We are starting to get more concerned each hour that the Coronavirus situation develops. Each hour, the news changes, and we get another bombshell of things that we thought would never happen. Leaving us with a feeling of “oh fuck whats next” and feeling deeply uncertain and deeply uneasy.
How to respond? How to be in this? On one hand it is scary. You may be at risk or you may have family or friends that are at risk too. For some this can bring up previous memories of pandemics. As we write this to you, part of us is scared and a bit frightened - we haven’t slept well for a few nights right now. The other part is more pragmatic and more steely, connecting to our innermost parts that are about strength, vision, leadership, and ultimately: about Love.
It would be super easy to send you a super-official email, and we will get to that in a second. But we wanted to share with you first what this situation is doing for us (Jason and Ingo) and into what a tsunami of problems this is putting us. We can only assume that some of what we are experiencing currently is affecting you too, and our hearts are with you in these moments - we really understand how this feels, and we want you to know that, whatever happens, both of us are always here for you, as we always have been.
And so at this point, we are giving a big hug and sending you lots of love. And, like you, we are a little uncertain of how to proceed and how to be with this. What decisions to make? What choices to make? Not wanting to be over dramatic, but also wanting to take enough precautions. These are unprecedented times and none of us know for certain how this will play out.
How We, Tantra4GayMen, Are Responding
What we do know for certain is that Love does not know fear. When we sit in our heart centre, we sit in our core of love. That core is something that nobody and nothing can take away. Even this current situation and the fear associated with it has nothing to do with that ultimate truth. It is that ultimate truth and the belief for a world full of love and connection that we (Jason and Ingo) have dedicated our lives to via Tantra4GayMen, and many of you have been on this path together with us.
We have spent 15 years building Tantra4GayMen with every ounce of effort, love and dedication that we have. Now, we are looking at the possible disintegration of all of that. We are realising that this crisis could possibly mean the bankruptcy and end of Tantra4GayMen, and thus the end of our community. We are not taking this lying down ...
The only possible response, for us, is to really step up to this challenge, to fully engage with this unfolding process and move into it as a spiritual showing … a pathway. This means that everything we will do to handle this situation needs to be guided by what we believe in: Love, community, and the belief that everyone can access ultimate truth through Tantra. When everything else falls away, there is one thing that no crisis can take away from us, which is: Living and experiencing these principles in our community of brothers. That’s what we - Jason and Ingo - have dedicated our lives to, to offer this to all of you through Tantra4GayMen.
It’s from that place of Love and vision that you have our total promise that we will do our utmost to keep you safe and to keep this community and Tantra4GayMen alive in the face of this crisis. We will do our utmost to not let Tantra4GayMen go bankrupt, and we will take all the actions that support that.
For the immediate context, this means three things:
- We will do everything to safeguard you.
- We will do everything to safeguard the survival of T4GM and of our community.
- We will harness our community to be a guiding light for you during these troubled times.
Safeguarding You means a carefully considered approach to risk, and carefully considered measures, which we will adapt to the changing situation, postponing events where appropriate, etc. - Please see below.
Safeguarding T4GM means that we may need your help. You are Tantra4GayMen. Whether you have been on this path with us for years, whether you know us super well, or whether you just joined us very recently - you are our family, our brothers, dedicated in the pursuit of Love and Truth. We may need your flexibility and your generosity in navigating this crisis. We may need to make decisions that help to safe-guard Tantra4GayMen from bankruptcy, but that may not always work for the individual. We promise to do our best and promise that we will work with each of you individually to find the best solution. We might also need your help in a whole other variety of ways (for example, see “Harnessing our Community” below) - we will be in touch with you separately.
Harnessing our Community: We believe that a community shows its true strength during crisis. We believe that as Tantric brothers, we need to stand closer together and support each other during these times, whatever is happening for you. That’s what we are here for. So, our promise is: If you need to speak, be listened to, need somewhere to share, need a (virtual) hug, or connect to the energy of Tantra, please know that we - Jason and Ingo and many others in this community - are always here for you. In practice, we are going to make this work as follows:
In our App, we will open a new group called LoveCheck - you can join that group here: - https://community.tantra4gaymen.com/share/cOOt8swi7aWbbqVO?utm_source=ma... . This is a place where YOU ARE NOT ALONE, a place to hold each other, to hear each other and to be with each other as this situation develops. We are a community of Love and part of that is how we care, hold and share with each other. There are two things in there:
The possibility of 20-minutes “LoveCheck” calls, arranged individually between two Tantric brothers, via Whatsapp or Skype. One brother shares where he is at, and the other brother will hold space and listen and offer unconditional love. If you would like to offer to hold space and listen, please make yourself known in the “LoveCheck” group by simply posting “I am available to hold space and listen if you need - please be in touch.” If you are in need to be held and heard, just respond to one of these posts and arrange a skype time with that brother.
In that same group, the possibility to share, in written, where you are at. And if you want to help, maybe you can reassuringly respond to some of these contributions.
So, what to share via these two ways, face-to-face or in written? The idea, again, is that YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Share what is going on for you. Ask each other how you are doing. Share how you are. This is the place to vent, to let it all go, to be scared, to be afraid …. to share your darkest moments. There are so many guys who are here for you, and also: Wonderful friendships can arise out of this.
Weekly Tantra Chat with Jason and Ingo - using Tantra, it’s methods and ideas for you to help you through this situation. Meditations, Tantra techniques and also a place for sharing what is going on with you and how you are handling the situation. We will offer these weekly calls as best as our schedule allows. It is a space to come and name your fears, talk through how it feels to be scared, or unsure. It is a space to hear some ideas, some feedback and to receive some love and support and to feel part of our community which is Love. Men who Love Men who care for each other and support each other. - We will continue these weekly calls for as long as the situation is in a pandemic state.
Both of us, Jason and Ingo, are always available if you REALLY struggle and would like to connect to us directly. You can contact us in the App or via email firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll sort something out.
The Current Picture …. Right Now!
So I am looking at all of the information sources we around us.
What we think we can safely assume is that the infection rate will get worse before it gets better. We need to plan for the potential of restricted travel or quarantine areas. In reading different news sources we can assume that numbers of cases will rise in both the UK and the USA over the next few weeks. However in China, after a few weeks, cases are falling and reducing. We are expecting to see the same in Italy as a result of their quarantine.
It should also be noted, at this time of writing that in all places where we offer, cases are still VERY low ….
Bay Area - 227 cases, population 7.753 mil - case rate: - 0.000029%
New York - 328 cases, population 8.63 mil - case rate: - 0.000038%
UK - 460 cases, 66.44 mil - case rate: - cae rate: - 0.0000069%
Current UK & USA government advice is around precaution and that we are in the “delay” phase. They say it’s too early in the cycle of a pandemic for the more restrictive parts but that some easy-to-follow guidelines are helpful to keep yourself as safe as you are able. See below about personal advice for you in your day to day life and in attending our events.
To make this more concrete: For example, as the UK moves into its next phase to tackle coronavirus, the newest advice as per the evening of 12th of March 2020 is the following (see here: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-51857856):
Anyone with a "new, continuous" cough or high temperature is advised to self-isolate for seven days and seek appropriate information with the NHS.
There will be no school closures for the moment as “the scientific advice is that this could do more harm than good at this time”, but this may change as the disease spreads.
The suspension of major public events, such as sporting events, “has little effect on the spread” according to scientific advice.
Stricter measures are likely to be implemented at a later point, but not at the present moment, “the UK's chief medical adviser Prof Chris Whitty warn[ing] against taking such action prematurely”. The medical adviser also said that “we do not think this is the right moment along the pandemic to do so [i.e. to implement stricter measures].”
Stricter measures, if they are implemented in the future, would be likely to include “stricter self-isolation arrangements, where if one household member falls ill, the entire household is asked to stay home for 14 days.” They would also include that “elderly people and those with health conditions will be told to cut social contact and stay at home.”
How are Tantra4GayMen Events Affected
Taking into account the above, there is no official nor scientific advice to cancel small meetings such as ours. In the future, but not now, there might be advice for elderly people and those with health conditions to avoid such meetings.
We have a number of different events in different countries and in different amounts of time and length. So we have segmented those as follows: - 3 hours Afternoon or Evening Events, Weekend Events, Teacher Training, Diploma Weeks and Festival Events in Upstate NY, and in Glastonbury, UK.
Afternoon / Evening Events: - these are run by our team of facilitators. We are noticing that each location is responding differently. Some are more abundantly full, and some are quieter. We have spoken to our Facilitators and we have promoted that each facilitator should choose if they go ahead with their event depending on the local situation. Please see below for the contact details of your facilitator to ask them any specific questions. We are supporting them financially to not have the full burden of their costs to us.
Weekends: - For April & May we have decided to postpone weekends in Bay Area, Amsterdam, Dallas, Chicago, Atlanta and Seattle. This is out of an abundance of caution and also acknowledging some of these areas are closer to hotspots. At the moment, Bay Area, L.A., Minneapolis, Portland, Boston and Austin weekends will continue as planned taking into account the guidelines below.
Teacher Training: - We limit this 9 day training to 18 persons plus Ingo and Jason, in a setting that is practically isolated from the rest of the world. This in itself could actually be safer than being out in the general public on a daily basis. At this time, as there is no restriction on travel arrangements and no restriction on group events of 20 persons, our plan is to proceed with this training as planned.
Diploma Weeks, Joshua Tree, Easton M, Glastonbury x2 Weeks - These weeks are limited to 18 persons plus Ingo and Jason. Again as they are 7 day retreats practically isolated from the rest of the world, they could actually be safer than being out in the general public on a daily basis. Only when official advice restricts travel from participants homes to the retreat centre, or that the retreat centre is in lockdown would we cancel these. At this moment, we have every intention to run these training weeks.
The Tantra Experience & The TantraLove Festival - given current predictions we expect the pandemic to be mainly over and any travel restrictions or social distancing measures to be completed. Therefore we are planning to run these events as planned. We will reassess this situation in early June-20.
Attending Tantra4GayMen Events
Please DO NOT attend any Tantra4GayMen Events if you have symptoms or suspect you might have been exposed to someone with Coronavirus. Please contact us directly email@example.com Tel: +44 7941 465910 if you need to advise us. Please contact facilitators directly if you are not attending their event.
When you arrive, we will provide antibacterial hand soap, please wash your hands in the bathroom before making any contact with anybody.
Please use the hand sanitiser that we provide in all of our workshops. Please take responsibility to use that frequently especially if you are sharing with different partners and swapping partners.
As with every workshop, please stay on track with the programme that is offered. In all of our workshops in addition to hand sanitiser we provide gloves and other items required for safe practice.
Please do your risk evaluation if you have recently travelled to any hot spots, i.e. China, Italy, South Korea or Iran as examples. Please speak with us before attending if you are unsure. Please be on the side of caution if you are travelling from a hotspot.
Please look after your own boundaries. As above, currently it is a VERY low risk of transmission. However, if you feel uncomfortable with ANY of the offered exercises you are responsible to advise the other participant, and the facilitator who is leading the session. Please be responsible for your own choices. Please be free to regulate the amount of touch, hugs and connections you want within what is comfortable for you.
If you do cough or sneeze, do it into the crook of your elbow or a facial tissue, not your hands. Throw away the facial tissue immediately and wash and sanitise your hands again.
Other Ideas To Support You
Make sure you are using reputable sources for your information. See the 2 links we provided above. There is a lot of misinformation out there and it can sometimes sound a bit scary.
It’s easy (trust me) to get over anxious into a state of panic. The mind does lots of spinning and turning and it is easy to get yourself completely stressed out with it. See above about coming along to Tantra Chat sessions hosted by Ingo, I and others.
So it looks like this might get a bit worse before it gets better. But we are here for you. We are a family of men who love men and this is the time to step into that light and challenge.
We are setting up a weekly call to share. It might be that we need this space if we have to be in self quarantine or we are feeling alone in this world. We are here for you and you are a very welcome part of our family.
Local facilitators will choose what they are doing for their events. We have postponed some weekends out of the springtime, and the others are going ahead as planned.
Our residential weeks are currently going ahead as planned, and could actually be a safer situation than being in the outside world. And as for our festivals in the summer. Well, given the news of the last week, August is a long long way off, and maybe these are the events to come along to feel human again once the pandemic has passed. To feel the touch of another man, to feel in a family and community of Love.
We have never been in this situation before, this is unprecedented for us and we hope we have approached this in the right way. Please do let us know, or talk to us if you have any concerns.
All Our Love to you, and speak soon, Love Jason and Ingo xoxox
Facilitators Contact Details
Brussels, Belgium - Bruno - firstname.lastname@example.org
Melbourne & Brisbane, Australia - Jon - email@example.com
Tampa Bay, Florida, USA - Rafael - firstname.lastname@example.org
Miami / Ft Lauderdale, Florida, USA - Todd - email@example.com
Austin, Texas, USA - Rob - firstname.lastname@example.org
London, UK - Armand - email@example.com
Manchester UK, Steve - firstname.lastname@example.org
Leeds, UK - Pep, email@example.com
Brighton, UK - Virya - firstname.lastname@example.org