Like many people, I found myself dazed by the extraordinary change to daily life that seemed to have occurred in a flash. My ordinarily resourceful self was fogged and tired, underestimating the emotional impact of the pandemic.

In doing my usual wide reading, I randomly came across some powerful statements that had the effect of snapping me awake. Awake to possibilities that exist even in the darkest times, things I can do, ways to help, and ways live with equilibrium. Maybe they will do that for you.

I’ve accompanied them by photographs of Martin Creed‘s series “Everything is Going to Be Alright”, which seems perfect for this moment. Wrote Debra Lennard for the Tate Modern: “…the ambiguity of the phrase ‘everything is going to be alright’ – is at once an optimistic assertion and a cliché betraying anxiety…”

Yes, and in that alternating current, we find a path.

Rennie Museum, Vancouver, BC.

I feel in this time…it is a necessity to have a plan, a manifesto, an alternative. It’s a question of life and death for our species...after tragedies one has to invent a new world, knit it or embroider, make it up. It’s not gonna be given to you because you deserve it, it doesn’t work that way. You have to imagine something that doesn’t exist and dig a cave into the future and demand space. It’s a territorial hope affair…in the future it will become your reality.

Work No. 203: EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE ALRIGHT 1999 Martin Creed; Presented by Tate Patrons 2009

Our world goes to pieces; we have to rebuild our world. We investigate and worry and analyze and forget that the new comes about through exuberance and not through a defined deficiency. We have to find our strength rather than our weakness. Out of the chaos of collapse we can save the lasting: we still have our “right” or “wrong,” the absolute of our inner voice—we still know beauty, freedom, happiness . . . unexplained and unquestioned.”

Anni Albers
Work No. 790 EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE ALRIGHT Martin Creed The Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit.  Courtesy of the artist and Gavin Brown’s enterprise.

Don’t plant your bad days. They grow into weeks. The weeks grow into months. Before you know it you got yourself a bad year. Take it from me. Choke those little bad days. Choke ’em down to nothin’. They’re your days. Choke ’em

Tom Waits
Work No. 289 – EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE ALRIGHT. Martin Creed. Commissioned by the British School in Rome and Ingrid Swenson. Photograph: Hugo Glendinning.

If you want to cure the world, don’t emanate fear – emanate love.

Ram Dass
Work No. 1086 EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE ALRIGHT Martin Creed Hauser & Wirth Somerset, Bruton, United Kingdom

When despair for the world grows in me

and I wake in the night at the least sound

in fear of what my life and my children’s lives

may be,

I go and lie down where the wood drake

rests in his beauty on the water, and the great

heron feeds.

I come into the peace of wild things

who do not tax their lives with forethought

of grief. I come into the presence of still water.

And I feel above me the day-blind stars

waiting with their light. For a time

I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

Wendell Berry, “The Peace of Wild Things”

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