Global Reset: Pandemic, Online Gatherings, & Honoring our Connections

Jacob Devaney
6 min readMar 21, 2020

It’s a very special time of the year as we celebrate the coming of spring at equinox along with World Water Day. Since 2012 I have been a co-organizer of globally synchronized online livestreams, meditations, and events with Unify. This year is different as the world braces for quarantine in the face of a global pandemic. They say that crisis also brings opportunity. Rather than indulge the fear/panic that accompanies this crisis, instead we can focus on love and excitement for the opportunity that we are being presented. This is a very special time of awakening on our beautiful planet and here’s why…

Background: It was 2012 and people everywhere were expressing concern over the end of the Mayan Calendar (there was the 2008 financial scare, and Y2K before that). It was also a time when Internet 2.0, independent publishing/distribution, and social media were gaining momentum as tools that connect our emerging global community. Unify was formed with the idea of hosting a globally synchronized sunrise ceremony to be live-streamed from sacred sites like the Pyramids of Giza, Stonehenge, Sedona, Chichen Itza and others.

Above: #LoveWater Gathering 2012 in Varna Bulgaria

Though the event was a bit of a production nightmare it was still the first of it’s kind and a huge success. There were other efforts prior to this like the Harmonic Convergence in 1987, but all of these were long before the internet or video-streaming were possible. The outpouring of excitement from the first globally synchronized Unify event was so immense that we decided that we should do another one on March 22 for World Water Day. The idea has grown from there. The Unify Facebook Page is now at almost 2M fans with over 10,000 organizers globally, and we host multiple events per year.

World Water Day is ultimately a celebration of how interconnected we all are with every life-form, and the role water plays to sustain us. The first year we hosted a global celebration for World Water Day on Unify, we asked people to go to their local water spots and create a ceremony with the theme #LoveWater. Afterwards people sent the most beautiful photos from around the world of their community events at beaches, rivers, lakes, waterfalls, and more. There were literally hundreds of simultaneous gatherings in countries across the globe! (You can look through the photos here.)

Above: Photo from first Unify Global Water Celebration, #LoveWater. Cantoalagua has been a World Water Day partner since 2013. This year their theme is #floreciendoelcorazón

World Water Day Collaboration 2020: On short notice this year as the COVID-19 outbreak and quarantines were beginning, we put out a call for submissions to a crowd-sourced World Water Day video. A recording artist from Maui, Lo Wolf, created a song called Be Like Water that inspired the video. We invited people to make short Instagram stories that represent the theme #BeLikeWater and send them to us to be compiled into a video.

There is something truly beautiful when people work together to honor our shared connection through water. This is just a short video, compiled in less than 2 weeks with submissions from all over the world. What would it look like if there was global cooperation to protect, restore, and honor water that lasted for decades? When we honor water we are also honoring each other and all life-forms that depend on it for survival.

Crowd-sourced video for #BeLikeWater initiative with music by Lo Wolf

Online Gatherings and initiatives will continue to blossom as creative people employ these social platforms in constructive ways for inspiration, education, and connection. This will be accelerated by the fact that so many people are staying home because of the quarantines put in place due to this global pandemic. This gives more time to consume media online, go inward, and take a pause for reflection. It also gives us time to create content and build a vision for a better future during this crisis/opportunity.

Making the Best of a Global Pandemic: We live in a competitive world that often celebrates the individual over the collective. COVID-19 is causing us to all re-evaluate this individualistic world view. With a pandemic we are being forced to recognize the ways that we are interconnected, interdependent, vulnerable, and resilient. Even if we do not experience symptoms we can pass the virus to loved ones that may have weaker immune systems than us. This is reminding us to not only think of ourselves but to consider our impact on those around us. Being mindful means reducing suffering for all of us!

This pandemic and so many other global issues are much better addressed in a spirit of cooperation that honors our shared connection than from a purely competitive, winner-takes-all approach. The health of all of us is influenced by the least among us, the virus does not distinguish between the rich and poor. We are being called to look out for each other as well as ourselves while working together to lift each other up in this time.

All Rivers Flow to the Sea: What we do to our water is what we are doing to ourselves. Pandemics usually spread in places where people do not have access to clean water and sanitation yet COVID-19 is hitting home in first-world countries. Thanks to social media most of us have seen photos of the floating garbage patch in the ocean, pictures of poisoned fish carcases on the beach after oil spills, or the mass extinction of coral reefs due to overfishing.

The writing is on the wall… If we think COVID-19 is a problem, what do we think the world will look like if we continue to desecrate our sacred waters over the next few decades? Allow this moment of global pause to accompany a global reset in the way we look at life and do business on this planet!

Honoring Our Connections: They say that absence makes the heart grow fonder. Right now many of us are missing social gatherings, festivals, events, dinner dates, movies, traveling, and relatives. This can be a time to appreciate how precious life is and reimagine our priorities accordingly. What is truly important? Sometimes suffering and crisis can be a blessing in disguise, especially if it increases our sense of gratitude for the things that we love in this life.

Getting Creative: Artists like Erykah Badu recently announced an online quarantine concert from her bedroom and many other artists who are unable to tour now are also planning similar events. Unify just recently launched a channel on Vibe with daily meditations full of tools and inspiring words for growth and development in these rapidly changing times.

On March 22, Unify hosted a global livestream and meditation for World Water Day 2020. The 5-hour program is a beautiful example of the kinds of collaborations being created by a global community that is determined to create healing in our troubled world. Hosted by Unify co-founder, Raamayan, the event includes musical guests like Deva Primal and Miten, Mikey Pauker, Amber Lily, Tubby Love, and more. Listen to words of wisdom and prayers from indigenous elders like Hereditary Chief Phil Lane Jr., Sundance Chief Rueben George, a Hawaiian chant from Kumu Sabra from Kauai, and stories from Grandmother Thea Hollett. There is also a panel of scientists hosted by Stuart Rudick, that includes Dr. Thomas Cowan,
Gerald Pollack, and others who discuss sustainable, regenerative practice that we can employ in our world. You can watch this day-long program, and share your comments by here. Help us to share these messages via your social networks.

Kumu Sabra shares wisdom and a Hawaiian chant from the island of Kauai during the livestream at hour 4:20

You may be feeling isolated and scared right now, but if you have fresh water to drink, wash your hands, and bathe in then you have a lot to be thankful for. Most of the world does not enjoy the luxury of clean water, most of our natural waterways are polluted. We are made of water and what we do in this world creates ripples around us. Let’s take this time for a global reset of our priorities and honor the fact that we are all connected… even during quarantine!



Jacob Devaney

Cultural-Creative, Media-Maker, Dreamer, Musician. Technology, Art, Science, Health, Spirituality, Culture, Community, Environment. UNIFY Co-Founder