What a year this has been. A year marked by a virus that touched everyone on the planet. For some it caused great hardship, for others the loss of a loved one. When we were instructed to stay at home for fear of infection, we became aware of all the little freedoms we took for granted. When we don’t have something we tend to wish for it. We often don’t value something until it is taken away from us.
For this new year, let us take nothing for granted. Not the air we breathe, not the ground we walk upon and, above all, not the preciousness of life itself. How easily we forget and give no consideration for what sustains us. This pandemic has underlined our shared vulnerability and mutual dependency. It has shocked us out of our self-centred individualism and casual indifference. It has asked us to re-assess the value we place on the people we need to keep our society functioning, from care workers to nurses, from cleaning staff to garbage collectors, from food delivery to the people who stack the shelves in the supermarkets. Let us not take for granted all the invisible people upon whom our everyday life rests.
Whatever our individual preferences, we are fundamentally social beings. We have evolved to support each other. Considering a time when we most likely shared a cave with a sabre-tooth tiger and death was a daily possibility, being part of a group was essential for survival. Despite the popular understanding that only the fittest survive – Darwin much misquoted – those who survive and thrive are, in truth, those who are most nurtured.
Nurturing is by definition a shared experience. We need to be in community to gain the benefits of support and nurturing. Our natural instinct is towards collaboration; we have a deep drive to help each other. We all have a need to belong and feel safe. Altruism, kindness, benefits us all.
Consider that we are given gifts in this life. Is not life, itself, a gift? Without any strings attached, without judgement, life force is an unconditional stream of energy endlessly flowing, continually renewing and refreshing. It is a creative force that I cannot help but consider as deeply loving – an essential vibration of all that *is*.
And, just as the energy of life is essentially creative, we also are given creativity.
We tend to think of creativity as belonging only to certain people, artists or musicians perhaps. Really we are all busy creating all the time.
As I write these words, we are in lockdown. We cannot meet in person the way we could a year ago. If I react with fear to so much change and upheaval, then I am not paying attention to the life and gifts that I have been given. Fear contracts and separates. To be gripped by fear means to lose touch with others and ourselves; we become blind to all that connects and supports us.
When fear arises, what choice do I have? I can take a breath, ground myself in the physical sense of my body and come into the presence of this moment. Fear loses its hold as a space opens up inside me and I remember that I am not alone. And if I’m feeling lonely then it’s time to reach out and connect… with someone, with nature perhaps. When we reach out it is our natural curiosity and creativity expressing itself. Simply helping others or being helped brings a sense of community and we experience a greater sense of possibility and abundance when we share with others.
Let us make space for deeper connections with each other and for the earth that sustains us.
Here’s a conversation that brought a smile to my face:
“You seem so optimistic. Everything is so messed up. What do you think 2021 will bring?”
“I think it will bring flowers.”
“Really… how come?”
“Because I’m planting flowers.”
What choice are you making? What seeds are you planting today?
Let us work together as we navigate these challenging times. Let us make space for what nourishes us all.