“A productive tree never ceases to bear fruits even in the hardest of seasons.” That was a meaningful message I received from a fellow researcher in the interfaith and peace movement after I recounted what my family, community, and I had been up to during this present-day situation of “Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity (VUCA),” as exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic. Locked down in an indigenous farming community surrounded by fruit bearing trees, I observe the statement as true. Well, the cultivation and utilization of integrative intelligence has been beneficial to unveiling our adaptability, versatile creativity, entrepreneurial flair, innovativeness, and productivity during this difficult time.

    It is observed that persons including educators who are fully grounded and have a robust relationship with their inner true selves, others, creation, and the Divine Creator (for believers) are more able to transcend the negative impact of this virulent virus crippling the economic, educational, and socio-cultural systems. “God willing, this too shall pass!” Thinkers predict that “the socio-economic outlay of recovery may well be immense and unprecedented.”

    There are 21 native intelligences that help one to transcend VUCA. The ability to rebound, aesthetic, communal, creative, ecological, entrepreneurial, existential, networking, poetic intelligences, are among the many intelligences harnessed these days to thrive.

    Below are sample expressions of these intelligences:

    Due to limited movement, hauling of used bottles, plastics and other recyclables brought at junk shops were no longer possible, so expressions of communal, ecological, and creative versatility are at work. For example, my brother Danny Balance and my sister Marichu Cominga upscaled these junks and used them for landscaping the garden.

    To mourn the death of a close friend and mentor, the death of a nun who used to be a retreat facilitator, the death of a husband of a dear friend, the death of a grade school teacher, and the death of the many lives of people and frontliners who perished during this pandemic, I/we in this indigenous community co-created a mini peace garden to express gratitude for the gift of life, family, and community at the same time convey the grief and sorrow I/we feel inside as I/we are prevented from travelling to condole with friends who we consider as kin/family.

    These life events greatly affect our psyche as a people, as educators because the pain of one is the pain of all. And so, the making of a PEACE GARDEN from a slope of a forest near Iyaman Homestay was one way of expressing integrative intelligences as a response to transcending the Covid19 Pandemic.

     “Clearing the way for the new society and clearing the negative frame of mind” is part of the preoccupations this time of the lockdown. In a more personal way, and together with family members, I/we have spent a fraction of my/our energy creating, landscaping, gardening, in between reflecting, writing, editing, mediating conflict, and supporting a business enterprise. The centerpieces of the garden are the PEACE SIGN and a newly crafted PEACE POLE carved by my brother-in-law Wayland Cominga, Jr. after the baybayin scripts were written by my daughter Ina Lucy and my son Matthew Henri Kupang. The integration of the PEACE and NON-VIOLENCE signs made from stones carried from the water tributaries of our barangay is another feature. The whole process of creating the peace garden was INFUSED WITH PRAYERS for all our frontliners, and for everyone so that during this moment of the Enhanced Community Quarantine and Social Distancing, our immune systems are strengthened, thus letting us safe, healthy and well. An expression of communal intelligence is the offering of thanksgiving for all the frontliners worldwide. We know that we are all interconnected, and we are siblings one and all.
I/We believe that in due time, our researchers, medical scientists, and stakeholders will figure out the right solution to this crisis. Along with the entire human race, we can find a way out of this pandemic.