What do you write on a Monday morning in March 2020 when every next day is looking more and more like a twilight zone? What perspective do you share when we’re going somewhere we’ve never been before and each next day looks like nothing we’ve ever experienced? What do the three essentials of Perspective, Awareness and Clarity look like in this scenario when we know little for certain and each tomorrow is guaranteed to be a new normal?
Over the past week or two, as Southern Africa starts to become more aware that they’re not immune to what the rest of the world is going through, there have been blips in communication that have sat particularly well with my heart. There have even been some that have made me laugh. There have continued to be examples of choices made that weigh better than others and that have reminded me that we always have just that – CHOICE. We have choice about who we decide to be in this chapter whilst we venture into new terrain, and that choice will impact our experience and those of many around us. Every day, we’re called to make personal choices about who we’ll show up as, but I’m not sure there has ever been a more blatant call to choose wisely and encourage each other as a collective – at least not in my lifetime.
I have giggled over memes that suggest that life is currently being written by a 4th grader: “And there was this virus and everyone was scared. And then the world ran out of toilet paper… Yeah, and then there was no school for like a month and then it snowed.” Memes that suggest we just call off 2020 as it’s no longer in the interests of everyone involved to proceed, and that we start afresh with 2021 next Monday. Memes that jest at the implications of home-schooling on the parent/child relationship, and that many parents are about to find out “it’s not the teacher that’s the problem”.
I have read letters from MDs acknowledging that the world is being turned on its head and nothing is certain, yet still pledging unwavering commitment to their employees and their company and to ensuring every individual’s health and safety as far as they are able to do so. Letters that acknowledge the delicate balance between supporting the people and keeping the business going so it’s there to continue to support those people in months to come, and asking for their full workforce to pull together to help make that happen. These are the businesses that see the implications of school closures on single parent families and those where both parents work, and who are allowing staff to rotate through working from home or making other plans to cater for their family whilst still holding down the job fort somehow.
These are teams who are willing to think outside the box to support their people so that their people are able to continue to support their business. Teams that are finding win/win solutions, encouraging balance to help keep us sane and healthy, choosing a one for all and all for one mentality.
In that same vein, I’m watching communities pull together by taking the small steps they can see – designating distancing marks in the supermarket queues to increase personal space, asking that we allow elderly people to shop quickly and cut in front of those queues because they may be scared to be in public; because they’re vulnerable and in need of our protection. I’ve read numerous messages that encourage our support of friends and smaller businesses who will have a harder time weathering the financial implications of this chapter than larger corporates. Messages suggesting that, when we come out of this, our focus should be on supporting those smaller businesses to get back on their feet.
Yes, there is a lot of change and unknown which can so easily result in fear and panic. If there has ever been a time in which to let go of trying to control what we can’t control, it is now. If there’s ever been a time to focus on the positive results of doing things differently, now is that time! There are beautiful examples of communities in isolation singing with each other from their balconies. There are incredible examples of places where nature is healing herself because the world has slowed down and the humans have gone inside for a few weeks.
If there has ever been a reminder to live wisely and by good choices, this is it! We have a choice to live by fear and expend huge quantities of energy trying to control the uncontrollable, or we can take personal responsibility for who we show up as and the contribution we make to our families and communities. We can spread negatives, or we can make a concerted effort to recognise how incredibly privileged we are to have homes to go to, family to communicate with, food to eat and books to read – and be grateful for those privileges.
Rather than ostracising or crippling each other in various ways, we can practise thinking outside the box and finding win/win solutions that mean everyone stays safe and is able to support each other. We can practise making choices based on kindness.
Beth Moore said it well:
“It helps to remember the objective:
We’re staying in so we can go back out.
We’re staying apart so we can get back together.
We’re loving one another well so we don’t make one another sick.
All our hard todays are for a lotta happier tomorrows.”
It will matter more than usual who you choose to be in this next month, and over the months to come. We’re given the gift of opportunity to make a positive impact with the choices we make – whether we are kind and compassionate, inclusive and forward thinking. If we consider the longevity of all, what we set into motion now will be what loops back to support us later.
Deepak Chopra said,
“To make the right choices in life, you have to get in touch with your soul. To do this, you need to experience solitude, which most people are afraid of, because in the silence you hear the truth and know the solutions.”
It’s time for getting in touch with our souls. It’s time for truth and solutions. It’s time to choose who we will be.
by Christen Killick
March 23rd, 2020