Who do you turn to in a pandemic?
For me it is books:
Yes, this is my pandemic reading pile and there are more upstairs and in random piles. As a child there were books in the house but I sometimes got a chiding for 'disappearing' into books, and whilst I certainly do, I also re-appear and am often much wiser as I emerge.
Do you remember Pooh? I loved those stories of gentle characters playing in the forest and so it didn't suprise me when I woke, half dreaming still this morning, with Pooh in my head, telling me to look in his book for things I have forgotten to remember at this time which might be somewhat helpful.
So, of course I pay attention to my dreams, and found the book (because who hasn't got Pooh on their shelves) and he was right! Pooh does have words of wisdom for us all. (Thank you A. A. Milne for all the words on bold)
I’m not lost for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.
We are returning to a world we knew, but that world has changed. I wrote last October about the search for a 'normal' to return to, but I think Pooh may be right, we can't go back because that world where we felt safe and steady and in control has gone. We have been changed by this and so has the world.
Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.
There has been so much lost, that for me, it has essentialised, crystalised, what matters most, what I want to make more central to my living from now on. Like a crucible it has burned away the base metals and it is my job to find gold and the best gold panning method I have is to notice and be grateful for what I have, rather than focusing on what I haven't.
A bear, however hard he tries, grows tubby without exercise.
There has been much to be grateful for this time. Have you ever walked so much? Cycled? Been outside? Seen your family as much? I haven't and it has felt like a gift reminding me of childhood. I haven't had my winter crash this year and I am sure it is because I have been outside more.
A little Consideration, a little Thought for Others, makes all the difference
And haven't we learned this? If I wear as mask, it protect you as well as me. Most of us have learned to step back, to give space, to understand that some people are shielding, anxious, bereaved, stressed. Of course there are those in the news who don't seem to have mastered the art of consideration, but most of us have haven't we. So let's not stop. Let's not get so wrapped up in 'me' and 'my' again that we forget about our communities; those global as well as local.
A day without a friend is like a pot without a single drop of honey left inside.
Haven't we all felt this? I definately started the podcast because I was missing talking to people. I have so missed hugs and laughter and actually being in fleshy presence with friends and loved ones, yet also, in so many ways, I have been a better friend. I have made time to reach out and connect, to stay in touch, to check in on people. Let's not get sucked back into crazy, business, let's remember how much we joy there is in being drops of honey together.
Think, think, think.
Said Pooh, scratching his head. Way back in March 2020 I wrote about how we have to think for ourselves, and we still do. Do we really want to commute again? Ask our teams to stay in overnight hotels to meet any more? Get back to mindless shopping again? Think, think, think, re-imagine life, how could it be more fun, simpler and healthier as a result of this?
You can’t stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.
Some people talk to animals. Not many listen though. That’s the problem.
And now is the time to start listening to the natural world, because although we are in a pandemic, climate catastrophe and the sixth extentinction is by far the most pressing and dangerous problem of our time. Climate migration, civil unrest, food and water shortages, lost living space, more pandemics are all things we know, science knows (and haven't we learned the value of science at this time??) is on the card. It is now, now, now we need to change how we live, day to day, right now. It can't wait.
It can mean tough choices are ahead, but at least now, we have the luxury to chose, our children's children may not. So I chose to eat less meat, drive less, fly less, buy less, walk more, at more veg. Even our cat, who arrived as a lost kitten in September, uninvited and much adore, is going to be largely an indoor cat because he will murder birds and I don't want him to when indigenous bird populations are in decline.
Weeds are flowers, too, once you get to know them.
Some of what we need is right under our nose, if only we could see it. We are destroying rain forest for our palm oil when who knows what cures are yet to be found, And in our own gardens we weed so it looks nice, but when we mow and strim and hedgecut, we are destroying the habitats of our indigenous wildlife; voles, hedgehogs, fledglings. Leave it alone, let nature go wild and instead of changing your garden, change how you see it.
Don’t underestimate the value of Doing Nothing, of just going along, listening to all the things you can’t hear
For me, the pandemic has shown up how busy and rushed we were and how little time we had stopping and staring and tuning into to our intuition and the wisdom of the earth. In this podcast Deborah Richmond talks about being guided by the land, and the whole system of permaculture is based on working with nature too. We are part of nature and we can't live without her, let's listen in to ourselves and the trees and the clouds., they have answers our socially conditioned brain might not find.
You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.
I love this reminder, because we have seen how we can globally pull together to keep each other safe and make hard choices. We can do this thing that needs doing. We change how we live, how our communities connect, how our workplaces function. We can speak out and up, stand our ground and influence. None of us is too small and we are stronger than we think.
So...Let's imagine how it could be:
- Imagine forward to the life you would like your children's grandchildren to be leading. What are they eating? Where are they living? How are they getting around? How are they supporting themselves? - Really imagine a radiant, abundant, satisfying life for them. Draw it, write it, talk it...make it as real as you would wish for them.
- Now come back to now. As your children's grandchildren's ancestors, what changes do you need to make to your life so that they might have the life you imagine for them? What do you need to stop? What do you need to start? Who do you need to influence and how? What are your points of power and influence? What are the leveraging points and how can you make the most of them?
- What are the first three concrete actions you can take one for yourself?