Some people experienced the year as a galloping tragedy and some a wounded animal dragging its feet through the desert looking for relief. We can all say it has been beyond strange; beyond deregulating, beyond our wildest imaginings. We have all, and I mean ALL of us on this planet, been through so much. Some of us have been deeply affected by personal loss and grief. Some have lost their livelihoods. Some have seen their lives unravel in deeply unfair ways. Some have been largely unaffected on a day-to-day basis. Some have leaned into faith and hope. Some have been consumed by anxiety and despair. No two stories are the same. And yet the theme of the global pandemic is the warp and weft of all these stories. No one remains untouched, whether they show it or not. It’s the first time in history that the entire planet has shared the same plotline. And the end continues to write itself with plot twists and turns and dramatic cliff hangers that keep us on edge.
Take a very well earned deep breath …
Expand the air and let relaxation deep into your belly. Let the true impact on your nervous system, mind and most importantly your heart have space to speak with your inner being. Let the sensationalist echoes fall away. Let the drama sleep. Be gentle and kind as you ask how you really are. How has this past year truly influenced your path, your philosophy, your empathy and kindness, your heart’s longing for truth and peace? Stay with what is here and now in your body. Tell the truth of who you are in this moment. The absolute truth. Let your body and being speak as you give the mechanics of the worried mind a well-earned rest.
Where is Your Focus?
The holidays gave me a somewhat snatched respite. I took a moment to scroll through my 2020 Facebook posts. I am not an avid poster. I’m not so engaged with sharing. I’m not so interested in broadcasting my false self endlessly for validation. Nevertheless, I post occasionally and it struck me that in some accidental way this is a barometer of where my focus has been in 2020. What was I ‘busy’ with? What was my mind preoccupied with? How did I contribute to the field of Unity, Peace and Love?
I am happy to report that I did share a lot of love, humour, optimism and joy. I shared uplifting posts about long term solutions for change and repair. I commented on many people’s heartache and offered solace and comfort where I could. I reached in when I felt I had the genuine capacity to love and care and I retreated when I needed to recalibrate my own nervous system and stitch a few tears in my own heart. I objectively participated in the pandemic narrative and I helped assuage runaway anxiety in myself and others. I leaned into my faith, trust and occasionally a life-affirming margarita. I did my very best.
This got me also thinking about the psychology snapshots of my friends and loved ones. What were they focusing on? What were their preoccupations? In many ways, Facebook is a person’s personal diary. Albeit edited for public viewing, we nevertheless get an insight into our immediate circle’s focus and their psyche. A digital overview of where they are at. It felt like a great kindness to check in on them this way. I of course prefer face-to-face, zoom or the telephone, but I don’t always have the time or the capacity to connect so intimately with everyone I love and know — especially these days. So using the rapid Facebook post snooping technique (Yes I made that up) was surprisingly revealing. There were indeed people I’d missed, stories that needed attention that had passed me by. I went back to connect. They were deeply grateful for being witnesses, remembered and cared for: for the good, the bad and the ugly.
I learned that most of the people I know, near and far, in Covid hotspots or in relative Covid safety, managed to have many beautiful connected and shared moments of joy. There were births, christenings, bat mitzvahs, engagements, weddings, birthdays, mini local breaks, walks in the park, puppies and kittens, candles and cake, graduations, new jobs and so much more. All the usual major punctuations of many people’s lives. And yes the overriding theme of a global pandemic coloured everything. It dampened and restricted a lot of connectivity.
And Yet Over and Over Again I Saw the Creative Spirit Kick In
And yet, over and over again I saw the creative spirit kick in and the embrace of solutions and technology prevail. And in the end, a hearty roar of the human spirit that this virus would not get the better of us. We were determined to push on, push through and to focus on what truly matters, consciously or unconsciously, the need and the longing to connect and be kind is alive and well and bigger than anything in its way.
Like you, I’ve had many interesting conversations about these times. The most poignant and succinct advice I was given was this…
Stay adaptable on the outside and connected on the inside. – Jess Macleod
This is a great anchor for me. It stops me from being adrift in the sea of futile conspiracy or hopeless anxiety. It helps me stay focussed on what’s important; on what’s in front of me. To reaffirm what’s always been important: connectedness, kindness, a glorious reach to end both the identification with suffering and in many cases the end of suffering itself within the limits of this human condition.
Perhaps not everyone will have the same experience that I am having right now, but for me, a sense of hope and pride in humanity is glowing. And I have every faith that as we recalibrate from these remarkable times that we will, as a species, learn, grow, wake up and fast and furiously write new chapters, even new epic novels where the humanity-heroes dare to co-create a new paradigm of existing on this Earth, our Earth… our beloved home.
Beloved UPLIFT Family,
We would love to hear from you. Tell us your stories. Broadcast your hope, optimism and tender witnessing of all that is still good and joyous in this world. Tell us about all the diamonds you saw in the rough. All the daffodils that still bloom through the rubble. All the rainbows that arch their luminous spines over dark clouds and thunderstorms. Tell us where your beautiful focus is and going to be for 2021.
We love you very much.
Paul and Team UPLIFT