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It’s frightening and surreal to think that we, or those we love could be harmed or even die from this virus and being confined and isolated from those we love only heightens the sense of panic we feel and makes it all the harder to manage our emotions. The constant reports, news bulletins and all the possible conspiracy theories that are floating around out there is not helpful. It only succeeds in dragging me into the panic that can shut me down emotionally if I let it.
SENSE OF COMMUNITY
I watch my neighbours rally around ensuring no one is left alone or stranded and even social media, that can often be negative, is filled with positive stories of people pulling together to support one another. Almost hourly there are posts of communities finding creative ways to demonstrate that no one is alone in this crisis. It is heartening to see people using humour to lift themselves and those around them to stay the course and see the possibilities that can come from hard times.
It’s amazing to see how those that find themselves on the front line (nurses etc) that normally have to fight to be recognised and valued for the work they do, are finally shining through as the real heroes when the chips are down. They not only are on the front line but are willing to put themselves in harm’s way without ever being asked, in order to keep us all safe and cared for.
I really feel within this crisis we are being handed an opportunity to truly know who we are when all the running and doing we normally fill our days with has been removed. Some have turned to reading, art, baking, having fun (a thing most of us have forgotten how to do), spending genuine quality time with those they live with. Each day we are finding more and more creative ways to stay in touch with the family members we cannot physically touch at the moment.
In some ways it has brought me back to my childhood, and aside from the abuse, I do recall the neighbourhood I grew up in, where people looked out for each other, shared what little they had, left doors unlocked and knew without a doubt they had someone to lean on if and when it was needed.
That time has been offered again as we watch neighbourhoods find ways to interact within the restricted guidelines, enjoy being playful, being creative with simple everyday household items, turning to arts and crafts and most importantly never forgetting the most vulnerable in our neighbourhoods and society in general.
Many shops seem to have taken the focus off making money and instead are looking at ways to get people through this rough time. Their commitment to their staff and customers and making sure everyone is kept safe is reassuring to see.
Celebrities and those in positions of influence are pulling together to lift people’s spirits through music and positive messages, again all with the intention of letting us know we are all in this together.
I think it’s magical and although at times I still struggle thinking I should be doing something more, I acknowledge that I am really enjoying doing the things I like and want to do, rather than simply doing things mechanically because it has become my norm. I find it interesting to know that when things I previously thought vital to my life like going to work, school pickups etc are removed, my world is not falling apart, and life goes on regardless.
I have returned to listening to music. I almost forgot what enjoyment I get from it. I am now taking time to develop a playlist of music that I loved throughout my childhood and teenage years. For as much as I love listening to music, I had forgotten how it lifts my mood and spirit. Until now it was just another thing I put off because I was too busy with things, I believed were more important.
THE GIFT OF TIME
I believe this time is an opportunity to live rather than merely function. To relax and realise that regardless of the roles we play i.e. mother, wife, sister, friend we are being given a gift of time. Time that we have all forgotten can be filled with people and things we love. Time to look at how we normally fill our time stressing about what has to be done rather than what is really important. Time to explore what fills our heart, makes us laugh till our stomachs ache, what moves us to tears, time to recognise how much we love and are loved by those around us.
We are all so familiar with always being busy that we struggle when that feeling is removed. If we are lucky, we work really hard throughout the year hoping to afford a two-week holiday. The holiday that we almost always waste the first week trying to relax with doing nothing and re-connecting with ourselves. By the time we have finally relaxed its time to go home.
I believe we deserve more than a life filled with to-do lists and deadlines that must be met. The time we spend running back and forth to work, shops, home all without even being conscious of how we spend our days, weeks and even years. This virus has given us the gift of time to re-evaluate our lives, to look and see what fills your soul and what changes you can make to not only survive but really live, live a life full of possibilities.
I also believe that the gift of time has also been given to our planet. The time to repair the damage we as humans have caused. With less people running around in cars polluting the air, we are reducing the toxins in the air we breathe, especially in our towns and cities. It is also allowing rivers and lakes to heal, for fish and dolphins to swim in the lakes that were so full of pollutants that it wasn’t possible before this outbreak.
It is inspiring that throughout this epidemic communities have reconnected with what is important. We are all gaining a better understanding of who we are, what matters in our lives. We are selfless in our volunteering, our support for those in our communities that need more help, like the old and sick. We are seeing the true heroes in our communities come to the front-line on our behalf.
I hope we all learn to appreciate that material things don’t really matter in the end. It is the people in our lives that help us to survive and whom we survive for. We do so much better when we look out for one another. Our lives are richer, more creative, inspiring, thoughtful when we understand that supporting each other is what brings the most joy and happiness in our lives.
Through these times we are being offered a way of swapping the attitude of every man for himself to a deep understanding that we need each other and looking out for others really feeds our souls. I hope that when this is all over, we all pull together and ensure that the frontline healthcare workers who are literally risking their lives for us and who in the past were undervalued and totally unsupported financially will finally receive respect and the tangible benefits that they deserve.
The only thing I believe the government are getting right is their constant message of ‘We are all in this together’.