Here we are……

So here we are…. All is quiet. Life as we knew it at the beginning of the week has completely changed, our very decision making about each step we take has changed. Before we do anything we way the risks; will this action put me at risk of contracting the virus, how vulnerable to hospitalization am I, and if I end up in hospital what other lives will I put at risk by my being there? We ask; how big is my present social network and if I get ill how many people will need to isolate because of me and what really is ‘essential?’ If we are used to serving others in our jobs or in a voluntary capacity then we are probably feeling frustrated by not knowing how to help, we can’t pop round for a cuppa as our very presence presents a risk to others. I hear people say ‘I would never forgive myself if they contracted the illness and died because of me’, we become lethal to each other. Everything has CHANGED.
We are not the first generation to have experience momentous shifts, it is just for many of us this is our first time and we are all a bit lost.
There has been a rush of busyness, networks for support have been set up, provisions have been laid down, the ‘home guard’ is mobilized and soon we will all have our own place and identity sorted. Food deliverer, gardener, telephone encourage, buddy for child care, on line educator, we will soon be ready.
Then we wait.
Recently I watched a TED talk on emotional resilience and it was simple, practical and real. She offered these 3 things as advice.
1. Be aware that in life there is always crisis, that is normal. Problems, trials and tragedies will come they are inevitable. Periods of peace and security are always disturbed by ‘events’, that is the reality of material existence. If we cultivate a realist view then we will be relieved of the ‘why me?’ debilitating self pity. Instead we can say ‘Why not me?’
2. We are programmed by evolution to see risks and assessing them correctly is what keeps us alive. We pay attention to danger much more readily than we do to peace and beauty. An early human stepping out of her cave would not last long if she was destructed by the wonder of a rainbow and missed the saber tooth tiger! BUT the correct assessment of risk is essential for us to navigate life healthily. If this epidemic follows the pattern of other countries and given the extensive precautions in place, as a worse case scenario 3000 people will die of it directly and maybe the same amount will be at risk from the inundation of the NHS. On the Isle of Wight that is 13 people. ( 66,000,000 in the country divided by 6,000 is 1 in 11,000. There are 147,000 people on the Island so just over 13 people may die)*. Now if you step out of your door on the Isle of Wight and get into your car then you are more than twice as likely to die on the roads than you are to die of the virus with those figures. None of this negates the terrible dilemmas about other people’s lives mentioned above but it is important to think it through especially as the numbers change. We can both asses risk sensibly and look for the ‘rainbows’ and spend some time looking at beauty in order to stay emotionally healthy.
3. She said that the single most helpful thing she has found in her research is the regular addition of this question, ‘Is this action I am doing helping me or doing me harm?’. She is a scientist but also a mother whose daughter was killed at the age of 12 in a car accident and she had been teaching emotional resilience before the tragedy. She found herself crying over old photos and asked herself this question, she asked the question time and time again and was lead by the answer to seek for that which would help her, not harm her. So if you find yourself obsessing about this crisis ask that question, if you keep needing to have media hits to top up your fear try doing something that will help yourself instead. For many people at this time there is terrible bereavement through loss of businesses that they have nurtured, creative projects they have put heart and soul into, sacred and ancient buildings preciously tended that will not survive the down turn. The advice given here, she insists, is relevant to all mental crisis because our created and nurtured world, for each one of us, is precious and for each of us our world is crumbling around us.
All of the above suggestions require time, and attention, they are things that we should have been practicing all our lives. In our churches and in many spiritual traditions we have been practicing for years because the reality of life is our weekly contemplation, death and disaster are not avoided but faced and prayed for. We contemplate the rainbows, the gifts of God and we seek that which leads to life in all its fullness in simplify and hope.
God bless
* there are much larger figures about including 1% of the 80% of the population which is aprox 528,000. But no other single county is near that yet.

%d bloggers like this:
search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close