It is difficult to know how to post at this current time. Words cannot describe the confusion, fear, suffering and lost, that we together are experiencing? The World is changing rapidly and dramatically. Words like lockdown, restrictions, social distancing, isolation, infection and death are commonly used. None of which create a pretty picture and perhaps do more to increase anxiety and fear. Adding to this the hardship, financial worries and economic concerns and the world soon begins to feel like madness.
Who can predict how the world will look when our lives are no longer dictated by a global pandemic? Our experiences and learning as we move through this crisis, certifies that life will not simply return to what we have been thinking of as ‘normal’. In this time of neurosis, it can feel like we are living in a different realm altogether. Where time moves strangely and all the things we took for granted are being challenged. While we long for this to be over, we are learning how to reconnect, with ourselves, each other and nature. Perhaps this disruptive time is an opportunity to move forward in a better way. To re-evaluate our priorities and remember our humanity. It is certainly true to say that the future is unknown.
Now, we are witnessing the separation that has occurred unconsciously among us. We have followed our routines, rushed through our busy lives, not dwelling too long in thoughts that question our motives or meaning. Many of us have experienced a feeling deep inside, that something is going wrong with our lives, for a while. We don’t really know why we feel this and so we don’t know how to fix it. It is just there. This feeling is perhaps best described as a collective sense of dissatisfaction. We have seen communities break down, vulnerable people becoming more marginalised, and a general lack of care towards each other and our planet. Insecurity, struggle and suffering were already increasing, whilst we have been distracted and detached. Living in our own little bubbles, striving for our own separate mini kingdoms. Unaware of the erosion of the fundamental values that hold us together.
This is a terrible time for humanity. However, it is a shared experience, Coronavirus is a global pandemic. We are rather in this together! Curiously, the situation continues to highlight the connection we have to each other but also where these connections are broken. We are realising the value of the ‘pack’. Many people are joining in solidarity, seen most obviously in our appreciation for those on the front line. Our NHS staff, carers, community and public service workers. The fabric that has been holding society together. Too long under resourced, undervalued and fraying, but is now giving everything, to hold in place some sort of support structure, to withstand the pressure. People putting their own lives on the line to serve others. In this area there is no option of returning to a place where these services continue to be neglected.
Kindness seems to be on the rise, in many more subtle ways. I have noticed random strangers taking the time to greet each other, at a safe distance – of course! We are being challenged to trust each other, rely on each other, look out for each other. We are experiencing that heartfelt warmth and love we have for each other, which commonly passed unseen. A realisation that we are not as separate or independent as we once thought we were. There is a growing sense that we belonging to something bigger.
Connecting to nature is beneficial now. On more than just a physical or mental level. It helps us to come into our senses, in real time. A remedy for the dizzy swirling in a whirlwind state of ever-changing emotions and racing thoughts, driven by underlying fears. I would find myself losing time where I was like a rabbit frozen in headlights, or I would be frantic and restless and time seemed to warp about making me doubt the validity of my clocks. I think we have all felt this frenzied energy that seems to be calming now ,perhaps as we begin to adapt to change. I got to my day off totally spent, too tired to think anymore. Nature reminded me to take pleasure in that transformative magic that seems to be everywhere, when you can get in the right state to notice.
I welcomed the Spring sunshine as I sat in the garden, laid in my swing chair unwilling to even commit the energy to twitch a muscle, unless the reward was truly worthy of the effort. For now, the world could wait I was stepping off!
It was in this half sleep state that I noticed the warmth of the sun, first through my leggings and then on the skin of my hands and face. I noticed how the sunlight gently penetrated my eyelids. The warmth was soothing, comforting, embracing. I began to notice more. The distant hum of the still flowing traffic. The always so cheerful bird song, closer. The occasional movement of the breeze across my face, bringing memories of when we have met before on the moor. A familiarity arose in my heart and I felt safe and loved, there was no need for fear here. This seemingly confirmed by the shadows cast on my face by the birds flying overhead.
All this movement as I lay motionless. Only then I became aware that I wasn’t. With childish curiosity I noticed the tiniest movement in the connection I had with the swing chair. How we seemed to be responding to each other. I smiled as I couldn’t work out who was moving who. I suggest it was the movement of the breath coming in and out of my body like a wave, created a type of ripple, but I couldn’t rule the possibility that the breeze was playing too.
To be present. To observe that life happens in cycles without anyone turning a wheel or flicking a switch. Nature mysterious maintains a complex and precise balance and order, whilst appearing chaotic and messy yet astonishingly beautiful. We are part of nature. Similarly, our own bodies go through countless processes, simultaneously without us even noticing. We can observe and evidence that these processes happen, but we don’t have to think in order to make this occur. The lesson here is to trust. We do not need to be in control of things. Life like nature has its own process of equilibrium, which it achieves through cycles of change. So, in the faith that nothing is permanent, rest assured that -“This too shall pass…”
And so, an uncomfortable and yet hopeful thought floats around in my mind that this Coronavirus is a warning. A stop sign, to our actions on this planet. The scenes on the news from around the world as a result of Corvid- 19 are heart-breaking and too overwhelming to process. But there is no doubting that humanity will come through this. The way we lived before this Coronavirus was a path to far greater harm, in relation to environmental change, potential mass extinction. It has stirred something of our inner beings, reminding us that we are connected to each other and our environment is ways we have been forgetting. This is our wakeup call and we must take heed, re-evaluate our values, rediscover our community and move on from this, as wiser beings with open hearts.