As I write Russia has embarked on what it calls a ‘special military operation’ in the Ukraine. Europe, and The USA call it war.
In France and the UK, the two countries I am most connected with, the restrictions people have lived with for the last two years in relation to the Corona virus are starting to be lifted. There is an air of ‘normality’ returning to our lives, and yet, nothing is ‘normal’. We have each of us lived through a very strange period in history, certainly within our own lifetime’s history. The experience of living with Covid has affected us on many levels and we each have our stories to tell. It is often only with hindsight that we can make sense of experiences and this will be no different. The perspective with which we choose to view ‘Covid’ will affect the way in which we live our lives going forward. Some down-time after a period of stress is important. We need to reflect, to re-group and to re-evaluate what it means for us. We have been told many things during the last two years by governments, the media, organisations, our friends and our neighbours.
Some have lost family or friends to Covid and many have been ill themselves. We have been told what we should do and what we should not do. When to cover our faces, how far apart from each other we must stand, how much physical contact we should have with other humans, how many people we should see at one time, when we should leave our homes and what we should put into our bodies. This is unprecedented and I think there is value in recognising what we have been through, and in doing that, to try and discover our own thoughts on it all. How do we feel now? Would we do it all again? What was it all about? Questions and a degree of reflection are important I believe.
Sadly it seems we are not to have the opportunity for the ‘down-time’ to grieve, evaluate, question and recuperate. As we are all too aware our attention is now directed towards The Ukraine and Russia, and in particular President Putin. The level of fear has been raised a few notches.
How do we cope with these feelings of sadness and fear? It almost feels too much for some. The television, radio, newspapers, and even our conversations with each other, all work to increase the levels of distress we feel and can lead to us feeling helpless and hopeless, not to mention terrified.
So is there anything we can do to mitigate these feelings while continuing to be caring, compassionate human beings? I would suggest that yes, there are many things we can do.
Firstly we can choose to reduce the amount of time we listen to the television, the radio and read newspapers. In doing this we are looking after ourselves; we are building a layer of protection. We are not being uncaring. The situation will not change because we haven’t watched the news every hour, or every day. It does not make us bad people. Our brains see the images and suffering on television and react as if we are there. No wonder we feel sad and fearful.
Secondly, we can decide to do something practical – or not. Both are OK. We can decide to take some action. This may be extremely practical action directly related to the current crisis in terms of doing something to help the people suffering. It may be writing letters, campaigning or setting up a support group for refugees. It could also be any other action that we feel to be positive and good in the world, hence the title of this piece. “Give to the world what we want the most.”
If we want the world to be more peaceful, then we can begin by being peaceful ourselves. If we think there should be more love in the world then we can be more loving in whatever way we feel that can be expressed. There are numerous ways in which we can put ‘good stuff’ into the world and it will make a difference. It will make a difference to ourselves as we begin to feel stronger in our belief that we can make a better world. It will make a difference to all those people with whom we come into contact as they experience the positive actions we are taking and it will ultimately have a wider effect as we add into the positive energy in the world. We never know the impact our small actions have. We do not need to feel fearful and helpless. Those of us that are religious or spiritual might like to pray or meditate, send peace and love and light to the sad situations that exist. All is of benefit to the world.
It is also OK to do nothing – by choosing to do nothing we are doing no harm. Maybe we need the time to look after ourselves; that is a good thing in itself. We do not have to respond in the way everyone else is. If we don’t want to fly a Ukrainian flag or change our Facebook page or do whatever the things are that people are doing to show they care, then we do not have to. It doesn’t mean we don’t care about the suffering of people in the world. If we know in our heart how we feel that is enough. We should not underestimate what we have experienced over the last two years. It is OK to give ourselves permission to take a break – especially a news break – when we can.