It’s time: Operation Permission Granted

Have you noticed that there is a dearth of information on one aspect of the coronavirus? What actions each one of us CAN do right now to get ready as individuals and as a community for what very well might be coming towards us. 

I decided this morning that I would put together some of the social media posts I found to be uplifting, encouraging, from people in my network. Each of one of them has been thinking in the same way: what affirmative action can be taken to take to look after ourselves and each-other in the face of this viral attack and what is stopping us from acting?

Welcome to operation permission granted. 

Phil Carswell is one of the original community warriors against HIV and AIDS. He made a decision to look past the tension at his local supermarket and throw around some loving kindness. 

phil 1

Permission granted to smile and politely engage with people who might be worried and scared. Let’s send out the message: we got you. And we’re not after your loo paper.

First Lady of Love, Mama Alto, has been using social media to preach the gospel of tolerance. As thoughtful as ever, Mama is taking us under her wing with practical, calm and measured advice.

That ticket refund you are about to get for that upcoming show may be that money could go directly to the artist; if you could afford to buy the ticket and haven’t missed the money, it’s your big time to take affirmative action for the arts.

mama 1

mama 2mama 3

Permission granted to take practical and material actions. Use your entertainment budget to support those entertainers, friends and creatives who might be struggling. 

Permission granted to rant and rave on the LOVE-SOAPBOX. 

US singer Tom Goss has been writing and singing gay ballads and is an active member of the bear comunity. He’s pushing out messages like this one, with a range of great activities which can be done solo or online. Tom realises that messages of love at this time also need to have actions embedded in them. Plus that is a cute hoodie. 


Permission granted to read a book, practice music, learn a new language online, become a cyber-warrior for good (and combat online trolls). There’s a world that awaits you inside if the outside world has to take a break while we defeat this virus. 

I wanted to add some thoughts and affirmative actions that I think are important and have been working towards as well, to give you some more ideas of things you can do right now and over the over the weekend to focus your mind away from the ‘scary’ and feel that you’ve done something positive to contribute to the fight:

Permission granted: Health promotion 

Health promotion isn’t about giving definitive advice on health related matters, that’s for the experts, but according to Wiki and the Ottawa Charter  “ is not just the responsibility of the health sector”.

Now is a good time to put up some posters in your hood, hallway or front fence about the basics: hand washing, personal hygiene, bateria hot spots in the home. These are all basic messages that can encourage people to go the extra and look after themselves. Health promotion:  that’s right, we can all do it! 

Permission granted: Look after the elderly and our diverse neighbours

You don’t need permission to do a door knock on the houses or apartments around you to introduce yourself and identify any individuals who might need a helping hand or a friendly face. Exchange emails and Skype addresses and work out a system – note on the door, flag at the window – so that you know if anyone is ill or in lock-down in case they need supplies – food, books, DVD’s (use alcohol wipes people!), or god forbid toilet paper. 

Permission granted: We have the technology but we also don’t need it 

Make sure people with phones and computers know how to face-time. There is no excuse for social isolation in this techno-rich society. If someone doesn’t have access to the internet, can you help? Spare phone, old laptop? A basic set up make a huge difference to someone.

I’ve been thinking creatively about non-techno methods of communication. Like putting up a notice board in my building that any one pin a message to and using flags or colours to let people know I’m good.

Permission granted: Become a cyber-warrior for good. 

The internet is for everyone. There are no rules, no restrictions – but no trolling , thank you – let’s use it as a power for good. Imagine if it had been around in the 80’s what a difference it could have made. For some people like me, it’s hard to sleep with all this going on. So I get up and read articles and keep connected with what’s happened around the world. 

Permission granted: Work on the inner you

Meditation, prayer, stillness (read Dr Ainsley Meares, he was ahead of his time) – these are things which have to be learned and practiced. Now would be the perfect time to exercise your mind in new ways. Change your personal reflection practices to suit the times and walk out of this ‘crisis’ calm, measured and collected. 

I’m going to do a course on online movie editing and going start to compose some tunes for my choir. 

Remember though, to consider how others might receive what you’re trying to say and that there are heightened feelings of anxiety at the moment. Keep interactions to a minimum and don’t stand too close to people – all that doesn’t mean we’re self-isolating it just means we are aware of the risks of transmission.

Don’t ask for permission if you don’t have to. This happened a lot during the AIDS crisis according to the mums and dads, nurses and good folks who were there. People are scared to act. But with courage, kindness and encouragement, give yourself permission to do something that’s going help. 

In the end it’s a personal choice: sit around and do nothing, or put our energy, goodwill and love to work. And when this is over, let’s sit down together Town Hall Style and have a serious discussion about how we handled things. 

Maybe we could ask Mama if she will sing us a song. A song about how we got through this, together, as a community. 

Peace, love and affirmative action.



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