How is your heart? How are you navigating this life? This time? Strange. Frightening. Unpredictable.
We sit behind laptop screens and scroll through feeds, reading about more deaths, charting stats of insufficient beds. The world we live in has always had problems, always had people suffering. This one puts everybody in rooms with doors locked and windows shut. Some of the suffering do not have windows or doors. They walk on foot.
We hear and we see and we read what they are going through. We question. How did it come to this? Some know the answer deep down, some at the very surface of their being. The world has always been favourable to a select few. Where do we fall in that line of favourability? And for how long?
Some talk of karma and predictions and fate instead of looking at facts, economics, policies, politics. They prefer ignorance rather than research. Rumours and superstitions are easier to understand, faster to circulate, cheaper to produce, quicker to obtain, than papers and academic books priced for the elite. Reports aren’t entertaining enough to read.
Others try to turn a profit at the expense of lives, at the expense of spreading falsehood and misinformation. Even during this time, they thrive.
Vulnerable minds are often gullible. Easier to take advantage of, faster to make a profit off. Despondent wallets are often impressionable. Cheaper to cheat, quicker to fool.
The world grapples at entertainment as an escape, turns to virtual interactions as a saviour.
Criticism, questioning, holding accountable are frowned upon. They are doing their best, the positivity police say. Why be so negative? Why always have a problem with everything?
There is a difference between being negative and being critical and in opposition of systemic oppression, generational poverty, human rights violations. Some people have a problem with everything because a problem exists in most things. Just because one chooses to look away in their bubble of positivity, doesn’t make the problems go away. Doesn’t affect change. Doesn’t allow the present or next generation to overcome the problem.
Why talk about it? If it matters to you, do something about it.
Most people who talk about it are usually doing something about it. Also being able to have a dialogue about something and taking actionable steps towards the betterment of something are not mutually exclusive. Sometimes conversations can be the first step.
Aren’t the conversations we have, the text we read, the ideas we come across, the most important and impactful to our collective and individual growth and learning? Aren’t those that stick, those that make us think, those that we in turn spread across other minds, practice in our lives, teach to younger generations?
In time, it sinks in, a simple truth. The world may have changed for good. Will we ever take another walk in the grass for granted, will we ever take the warmth of a sunrise on our bodies for granted, will we ever take company, tight hugs, the possibility of seeing family overseas, across borders, across buildings for granted?
To have graduated to find no job, to have developed a skill to find no work, to have worked hard to get fired, to have built a business to a changed future, to have carved a relationship to the mercy of distance, to have planned a future to the pity of uncertainty.
Your world may have crumbled, your mind may be crumbling too. Your dreams, your hopes, your needs all may seem irrelevant now. In the face of something so uncontrollable.
For those able to step out, it may be frightening to see the world visually change, covered in a sea of masks. It is a harsh reality to take in. It signifies a shift in something much larger than we, at an individual level, are able to fully grasp or define. The question of is this how life is going to be, plagues our mind incessantly or during moments of quiet, now tinged with disquiet.
It’s alright to curl up, to resign inward, to find your bearing and to take time for it. It’s okay to not say a thing, sharing is not a competition or a compulsion. It’s okay to say multiple things, sharing is not a weakness or a . It’s okay to feel multiple feelings, to accept emotional turmoil, to stay and be still. It’s okay to take as much time as you need to work on it, it’s okay to seek help, it’s okay to work on it by yourself.
Showing support and practising empathy for ourselves and others around us may be the most important things we do. At the same time, irresponsibility disguised as self care is a form of toxic individualism which may be particularly destructive in this current situation. How can we be mindful of not being such a perpetrator? By reasoning, learning, understanding the larger impact of our actions and above all putting the well-being of the old, the sick, the abused, the under privileged before our selfish need for fun and adventure, if, at their expense.
It might be a good time to learn to be comfortable in our own company.
To identify what it is about being with ourselves that so many find uncomfortable, why can we not go beyond a few hours without external stimulus, what makes us feel wired to always do instead of be. What motivates us? What inspires us? What makes us pause and think? What drives us to be something?
It might be a good time to explore all of that and so much more.
And while we do so, while we dig into the truth of our being, being kind to it too.
Helplessness in the face of this reality is a common denominator.
Remembering this quote written by an anonymous mum to her son might help, which, on a hopeless day, brought me some peace. “When you want to help, find others who will.”
Know there are always those who want to help. Know you are not alone. Know people who want to help are out there, just like you. Reach out to them, help them, help them help others.
We may not have answers now but practising solidarity might be one.