I’m fed up! Lockdown can be tough, that’s true. But do we need to make it worse by banging-on about how hard it is? In the middle of a crisis, predicting ever more doom and gloom is not what we need!
People have many fine qualities. One of our finest is our ability in a crisis to rise to the challenges. We do this by drawing on our inner resources, supporting each other, and by uniting as communities.
Often we surprise ourselves by discovering hidden reserves and talents we didn’t know we had. One significant thing we’ve learned from sudden disasters around the world is just how hardy the people caught in a crisis turn out to be. Amid the fear, extreme hardship and even degradation, the human spirit is what carries people and their communities through.
There is suffering, of course, but if you’ve worked with people you’ll know that you don’t ease suffering by telling the victims how bad it is. But, that is happening a lot, and that’s why I’m fed up.
We are doing the best we can
You can point the finger if you like. Another facet of human behaviour is that we love to do that. You can pretty well predict that, in a crisis, any question that starts with “Why…?” is NOT going to produce useful information. It implies deficiency or blame, and will just elicit defensiveness or platitudes.
We are better than that. We are doing the best we can in a new and scary situation because by-and-large we are good at pulling ourselves up and pulling together.
I think we need to champion that. We should celebrate our successes, even the mundane little ones, and to get on with supporting and inspiring each other. Clever predictions from pundits and experts about ‘what could go wrong’ don’t help.
I’m talking about the pleasure we can find in small, daily things. OK, maybe ‘delights’ is a bit delusional, but I like alliteration and I needed a subheading.
Try this. When the big picture is just too big to get your head around, when it’s daunting to look ahead, when you feel the energy being drained from you by the sheer enormity of what we are all facing, look down (or up, or across the table).
When you focus on what’s close, paying attention to the detail, giving all your attention to something tangible (a leaf, a cloud, a person, the warmth of the sun, the cool rain…), you are living only in the moment. That makes you stronger. Do it regularly and you become much stronger.
Inspiration as a nutrient
Just to be clear, I’m not denying hardship and all the rest due to the current situation. I’m saying that focussing on the inner resources we all possess, is a practical thing that we can all do.
It’s been said that “that which you focus on becomes your reality”. We have to be aware of what’s going on around us, but we don’t have to let it be the only story, nor let it define us.
When this is all over we’ll all want to look back and be proud of how we faced this horrible situation.
Inspiration is nourishing, so take a little each day by paying close attention to your here and now. Balance the big, bad story with your personal narrative of your small daily pleasures and successes.
You can find out more about the writer, Barry Winbolt, on his profile page.
To discover more about Mindfulness in Life and Work, enrol in his on-line course here.