This crisis that everyone is in right now poses a range of unique opportunities for us as the dominant species on earth. This is the first time in human history that we as a sentient and conscious species have a three opportunities for growth as a collective:
- Limitless capabilities for (virtual) communication across time and space.
- A universal struggle shared by all people.
- A health vulnerability that affects all people and pays no mind to wealth or privelege.
He waka eke noa
Throughout history where something truly bad has happened to a large group of people – the great depression, the world wars of the last century. Or more locally the Christchurch earthquake or the Christchurch mosque attacks. People turn away from individualistic, opportunistic ‘me-first’ ways of thinking. Instead they realise their vulnerability, the vulnerability of others around them, the importance of looking after their neighbours – the people in their immediate vicinity.
By looking after our neighbours, our community, the circle of people who we don’t know but who we interact with in our local area, the people in our online neighbourhood – inside we feel better about the uncontrollable aspects of our world. Also we soothe others, making them feel stronger, more secure. This is a surefire way to psychologically heal ourselves and each other and make it easier to weather the storm together.
It’s good for the soul and good for your mental health to help others
It could be just leaving your phone number in the lobby of your apartment building on a piece of paper and saying – if you are feeling isolated, give me a call.
It could be smiling and having a chat with your neighbour and asking them how they are – from the requisite 2-3 metres of distance.
It could be putting the word out there on social media that you are here for a chat with your online friends, if they want to talk to someone.
I’ve noticed that when people ask ‘How are you?‘, or ‘How are you going’, in recent weeks, there is a genuineness, an authenticity in the question that didn’t exist before this crisis.
When I ask ‘how are you going?‘ and when others ask me – inherent in that question is a mutual feeling of concern, compassion and love. It is this, this softness, this love for people that sustains us all. This form of kindness, care and concern is the pillar of our society, the invisible glue holding us all together. Without it, we are simply just like animals living off instinct, easily swayed or manipulated by fear.
Look after yourself and each other. Namaste. Arohanui
A really inspiring podcast on this topic. Conversations with Richard Fidler and Sarah Kanoski