The coronavirus (or COVID-19) has hit the world hard. At present, March 2020, the world is going into lockdown – something that many of us have never seen the likes of before.
We have new words like ‘social distancing’ and ‘self-isolation’. International flights are nearly all but cancelled and borders are shut. It is getting very difficult to leave the country you are in and New Zealand has gone into lockdown – unless you work in essential services you can only leave your home to get food or medical supplies.
Buying toilet paper has become an issue and in Australia has even led to violence, likewise for flour, pasta and rice. Hand soap and sanitiser are the new gold, and restrictions have been placed on how many of certain items you can buy. The list seems to be growing. Hospitals are having to ration sanitiser as well as protective gear due to theft.
The panic in the air has been thick and many people are scared. An each-to-their-own mentality has prevailed. There is a growing mistrust of people – what if they have the virus? If someone sneezes in public, let alone coughs, it can cause a panic.
Supermarkets are having special hours for the elderly and disabled to allow them to be able to buy what they need – ironically this has been called “Community hour”. Why the irony? Because it is far from community and it is only because of a lack of community that there is the need to implement such measures.
At a time of crisis, community is something to be treasured. It’s not to say there aren’t many beautiful community actions being carried out with huge levels of support on offer. But is this nationwide or even global?
We may be needing to self-isolate, stay home and physically distance ourselves from others, but by no means do we need to socially distance.
Whilst in lockdown we can call each other, check in and stay connected. For kids not at school due to closures, we can group together and offer online classes. For the elderly and those at home without family, a phone call could mean more than we know. With technology we have access to wonderful tools of connection – we can connect instantly and globally.
But it is in our hearts where we find the deepest connection. When we shut off from others internally, we are putting walls up around our heart. The love that is there can no longer get out, nor can love get in. Connection with others is essential at a time like this. We can self-isolate with an open heart and realise we are connected with everyone. It is a feeling, not an action.
This is a stop moment in life. A global stop moment offering us the space to look at how we have been living, what has worked, what doesn’t work and if there are parts of life we would like to do differently.
This event is going to challenge us in so many ways – our home life, our families and our relationships are all under the microscope. This is in combination with many facing either a loss of their jobs or a reduced income.
We can take what is on offer and embrace this pause moment in life. Perhaps a different way of living can emerge, and we may find that we have a new perspective on life, both globally and personally, once this has passed. We don’t know what will happen and it is completely out of anyone’s control. But we can look at the way we are living. Are we living in the way we truly want to? Do we have settlement in our body at the end of each day? There is much on offer whilst the world has come to a halt – what we do with this is our choice.
By Nikki McKee