What a truly weird time this is. And to think that everyone across the globe is saying the same thing, makes it feel as though our planet has been rocked. There is so much changing right now, all that remains constant is the rising and setting of the sun. This will help to keep us focused on living and breathing, at least, and will be a comforting reminder that our planet is still where it always has been, hanging in there.
I’m already hearing some uplifting stories about how the planet is being impacted positively by the curtailment of human activity. While it’s heartbreaking to think that people are dying all over the world, we have to take some comfort in the fact that it’s not all doom and gloom. I’m witnessing a multitude of acts of kindness occurring all around the world which is proof that most people care deeply about their fellow human beings. The planet is breathing a sigh of relief as emissions of CO2 have fallen sharply. Apparently, carbon monoxide from cars has come down by 50% in comparison to this time last year. Waters in Venice have been clear for the first time in a very long time thanks to the decreased boat activity.
Is the Coronavirus stopping climate change in its tracks? It just goes to show you that people the world over can be mobilised to act. Let’s see how we can apply this to climate change when the time is right. When this crisis has passed, we will be well prepared to deal with the next emergency which will probably be climate change.
And to make matters even more interesting, my gym has been shut! I can no longer engage in my frequent muttering-under-my-breath that I haven’t yet managed to get my sorry ass there. Many is the day I’ve pulled on my active wear with the best of intentions only to remove it still smelling relatively clean at the end of a day of distraction.
Now, with no gym to go to, no yoga classes to attend and no social life to organise, I have time to reflect on what really matters to me.
Ever since I gave up drinking, I’ve been exploring the meaning of life and trying to reconcile what goes on in my head with what my heart feels and what my gut tells me. I have battled with thoughts that contradict one another. On the one hand, I want to enjoy the comforts and freedom that money allows, but on the other I dismay at the insane amounts of money that people spend on themselves while many suffer in poverty.
People’s opulence makes me feel uncomfortable. I will not accept that one person thinks it’s okay to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on cars when thousands of people struggle to put food on the table.
I get the whole capitalist philosophy but what I cannot get is the greed that goes with it. How is it fair that a small percentage of the population own the largest slice of the wealth and a large percentage have the thinnest slice?
According to Oxfam, the world’s richest 1% have more than twice as much wealth as 6.9 billion people. How can that be okay? Why does anyone need that much wealth?
Every day 10,000 people die because they lack access to affordable healthcare. And do not tell me that these people are lazy and do not earn the right to a comfortable existence. I hear this argument from rich people all the time. I will acknowledge that some of the wealthiest people in the world are philanthropic and do some great work at a grassroots level but it’s not enough. Too much money is squandered in lawsuits, diamonds, wine, paintings, in crashed cars, in uneaten food and over-priced shoes with matching handbags. Surely this moment in time is an opportunity for the world to wake up and admit that it’s not working.
I’ve talked before about my belief in the importance of nurturing our spiritual side. I am not here to lecture anyone to join a church or a faith. But I am here to share my belief that we are all connected through our humanity. Whether we admit it or not, when there is suffering in the world, we are affected by it. Just because I don’t know you personally does not mean that your suffering is less important than that of someone I do know. Spirituality is all about waking up to our oneness, to our connectedness and to the things that define our humanity.
Which brings me to the main and most important point of this week’s ruminations – Love. We find ourselves in the perfect moment where we are able to focus on the beauty that surrounds us, the beauty of humanity intertwined with nature. The universe nourishes our souls through nature. If we can meditate on this for a time, we can connect with the deeper side of ourselves that is free of expectations. Being confined to home, without the escapism of holidays, fancy restaurants, bars, rock concerts, football games etc, provides us with a golden opportunity to take stock of what our lives are really about, when they are stripped back to the basics. It is here in this very spot where we find love. It costs nothing, it doesn’t have to be ordered online nor does it have to conform to a certain way of being, it just is the pure expression of our deeper self and our connection to one another. If everything we do in our confinement we do out of love, we will find creativity and joy rising up within us taking the place of fear and anxiety. We are lucky to have a home with food, water and electricity to take refuge in during this crisis. And those of us that have loved ones with us are blessed. There is no place for panic now. Instead we can feel gratitude for all that we have right here, right now.
And if none of that resonates with you, then I will encourage you to smile through it if you can. Let’s try to counter-act this virus with a better epidemic, as Spike Milligan’s poem, Smiling Is Infectious, so aptly reminds us:
Smiling is infectious, you can catch it like the flu.
When someone smiled at me today, I started smiling too.
I passed around the corner and someone saw me grin.
When he smiled, I realised I’d passed it on to him.
I thought about that smile. Then I realised its worth.
A single smile, just like mine, could travel round the earth.
So, if you feel a smile begin, don’t leave it undetected.
Let’s start an epidemic quick and get the world infected!
Well folks, no more muttering under my breath. From today onwards, I will pull on my active wear and I will enjoy any opportunity I get to work that sorry ass. I will enjoy hanging out with my kids, even if they think I am far too strict a teacher. And now that my husband is working from home too, I think I might just take advantage of his teaching skills and leave the kids to him while I knuckle down and finish my book. This really is the time to deal with all those unfinished projects and time to finally tackle those projects we have been putting off because we never have the time. Now we have no excuse. The time is now. Best of luck to you all in your endeavours. Stay well. Thanks for taking the time to read this.