Despite its confusing mortality rate and the greater threats from global warming, famine, diabetes and autism, Covid-19 has mobilised energy and deployed worldwide actions never seen before in human history.

Estimates of the average death rate for Covid-19 range between 0.1% (based on the control group provided by the Diamond Princess Cruise ship) and 0.5% . 

For reference, the autism rate in the UK in 2013 was estimated to be 1.1% and current projections suggest a doubling of reported cases by 2023.

Yet autism mobilises virtually no funding and no interest from governments or the WHO.

Interestingly, statistics about compliance at the start of lockdown showed that it did not correlate with the level of discomfort imposed. Poor, overcrowded quarters did just as well as the affluent ones, while people in the countryside did their best to resist the urge to seek fresh air and other healthy pursuits with equal determination. Regrettably, this much civic mobilisation was offset by the (minor!) side-effects of increased domestic violence, suicide and alcoholism but the near 100% increase in the demand for food-banks, although regrettable, was largely waived against the obvious benefit: we stayed home and we saved lives! an easy slogan to chant to the cadence of weekly self-congratulatory clapping which could be heard resonating all the way to emergency rooms across the land.

What strikes me the most about the current crisis is that, although the measures imposed may have brought us together and even given us a sense of united purpose at first, ultimately, it has accentuated differences between those who have and those who have not; I am not only referring to financial wealth, but physical health, mental resilience, spiritual faith, social support networks and access to basic rights such as clean water, fresh air and nutritious food.

Those who have will undoubtedly come out of the trauma better off than the less fortunate amongst us.

Predictably, economic necessity is catching up with the severity of the measures imposed; political solutions now have to juggle the obvious contradictions between the initial deadening messages used to get us to stay home and the necessity to break the lockdown to recover essential life-supporting income.

While the conditions of our release are being crafted to reconcile the dread of the outside world with our human needs for exploring and connecting, the younger population is feeling the strain of an open-ended social sacrifice essentially aimed at the elderly.

The time has come to step out of fear into our future but strict adherence to the rules has been replaced by confusion, and mistrust of social interactions whenever venturing outside the safety perimeter of home.

As I am preparing to return to a semblance of pre-Covid life and planning my post lockdown practice, I am confronted by a few home truths:

  • Extreme uncertainty is forcing me into the present. Uncertainty is one of the hardest things to accept. The brain is wired for action and finding solutions to problems: survival depends on it. When faced with uncertainty we can rebel and fret or we can let go and let God (trust). We all have an individual tolerance threshold for inaction. The ultimate surrender is when stress is so great that we can neither fight nor flight and we freeze. For the past few months, un-able to look forward to those punctuating events we need to create fresh memories, we have been flirting with our freeze response and we had to dig deep into creative resources, trusting they will keep us safe. Practising peaceful surrendering has helped me become more present.
  • Mental resilience is as much about cultivating healthy thoughts as it is about physical care: the connection between discipline and self-care has been brought to me into sharp relief in those chaotic times; nonetheless self-mastery is the foundation for meaning in life no matter the level of confusion and pain. There is no small victory when it comes to those acts of discipline and self-care!
  • Love casts out Fear: Fear has become the new ruler of our lives and added a layer of social suspicion I find profoundly disturbing… yet the love that has also poured in to support me is nourishing my hope that love overcomes no matter the level of unrest and discord around me. Love in action heals the wounds previously made by our fears and I am not short of opportunity to practise love in action at the moment :-)

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