Compassion in a time of crisis
Wherever you are today, however you are holding recent events – we invite you to take a deep breath out. Perhaps the time taken to read this note could be an opportunity to let go of fear related to uncertainty and to step into a more nourishing space.
We are exploring the following questions – and invite you to join us:
How do I make sense of this?
This is an important humbling experience for any of us who thought that we had control – either individually or at an organisation or systemic level. It reminds us of our limited ability to take action and influence.
We can remind ourselves what is in each of our remit of control and let go of anything outside that narrow space. And yet, paradoxically, narrowing our idea of control could be accompanied by a bigger understanding of that which connects us all, globally. We can realise that our action – or inaction – could free up hospital beds, bring comfort in community, support local livelihoods and stop the death of an immune compromised person.
We are both powerless and powerful. This situation asks us to be more conscious of our own limitations and clear in our universal responsibility.
What does this mean for me?
At worst it could be a time to panic buy, create ‘others’ and isolate. At best, perhaps, it’s a time for reflection and discovering new ways of connection.
It is a time to take care of yourself and that doesn’t mean (necessarily!) chocolate, beer or bubble bath – it means deeply nurturing yourself with the best of clean foods. It means creating space for seeing and acknowledging the positive in this new way of doing things. It means not putting yourself in a compromising situation for your health. It means giving yourself a break from all the ‘shoulds’ and ‘musts’ in your life and finding time to refresh and renew to ‘be’.
‘Be’ quiet with yourself, in your most precious spaces and fortify yourself with calls to those who make you smile inside – and those that need to hear a friendly voice. Give up on when/what and if and make friends with the present. Surrender.
How do I best support others?
First, do no harm. Even if you feel fine, even if you’re not in any of the most vulnerable groups – don’t inadvertently become a carrier. Where you can, change your travel pattern – don’t travel unless you are an essential worker.
Don’t judge other people – or their reactions to this crisis. This will mean different things to different people – try and understand the impact from their perspective – an over-reaction to you may be a self-employed single mom wondering how to look after a child taken out of school and pay the rent when her clients are disappearing.
Find ways to help others. There are petitions in support of the self-employed. Lobby your service providers – banks, energy companies and phone companies to flex payments during this time – to support those unable to earn a living.
What can we learn as a society?
In Italy people are singing from balconies to one another. Communities are providing support to the aged. Air pollution is dropping. They say in Wuhan you can hear birds singing, again. We take so many of our social systems and norms for granted.
May this time give us an opportunity to reflect on what works and what doesn’t, what joyful means for each of us and look within for ways to design better societies.
What can we do to make things better, together?
What is it that we can do or create for you to navigate these times?
What do you need/want? Any other ideas of how we can support each other and others?
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Hope to see you on-line soon – meantime keep your hands clean and your heart open.
With love from all of us at She Leads Change