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Berlin
Susanne Kennedy, Theater director

Photo taken through an open window; outside the sky is almost dark © Susanne Kennedy

What would you say are symbols of your current situation or the current situation in your country?

This is the view from my kitchen window. I often sit here to write and read and prepare. How different it is when you are suddenly forced to sit where you have been sitting all the time. I am trying to find the freedom in this. To find the ultimate freedom in the moment you think you have no freedom. This is the exercise. I believe very much in exercises. Mental ones above all. Although I've already been jogging twice since this thing. But I prefer walking. I can think much better while walking.
 
While I am sitting in my kitchen I think of all the other people who are sitting in their kitchens all over the world. This makes me a bit happy.
 

How will the pandemic change the world? What do you see as long-term consequences of the crisis?

 
Now is the time of incubation. The time of being still and motionless. Incubation is the religious practice of sleeping in a sacred area with the intention of experiencing a divinely inspired dream or cure. Incubation was practiced by many ancient cultures. It is a ritual which doesn’t make sense to modern man anymore. But now we are being forced into it. To incubate is just to lie down in a place. What’s important is that you do absolutely nothing. The point comes when you won’t struggle or make an effort. You just have to surrender to your condition. You lie down as if you were dead; wait without eating or moving, sometimes for days at a time. And you wait for the healing to come from somewhere else, from another level of awareness and another level of being.
 
Nearly the whole world is being forced into this incubation. There is a kind of stand still. This is difficult for us to endure. No-one ever taught us how to do this.
 
We all want all the answers right now. We want to know everything that is going to happen. What is the world going to look like after this? Which consequences are we facing? What kind of utopia or dystopia is awaiting us? But we don’t have the answers yet. This needs time. Maybe a lot of time.
 
We all want healing from illness. But it is through illness that we grow and are healed of our complacency.
 

What gives you hope?

“Where danger is, there is salvation also“. I have to think about these words of Hölderlin. I have learnt myself that if I surrender to the pain something else can grow out if it. But never if I resist the pain.
 
The virus forces us into this paradox at this moment. But it is the paradox we have to embrace and surrender to. Here, where the opposites meet, lies a chance for growth. Individually but also as a community. I don’t know which kind of growth. It is too early to talk about that. And everybody has to find out for him- or herself.

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