Making a decision

How do you decide?

How did you used to decide?

Have you changed your decision-making process? If you have how has it changed. What made you adopt a new strategy?

We find ourselves in the grey area between lockdown and not yet in the new reality without physical restrictions. Businesses need to adapt and change through this ebb and flow of changing guidance. As individuals we are faced with moral decisions that weren’t part of our everyday previous experience. Do be aware that this continuous need to make decisions can result in decision fatigue.

During Lockdown, many people enjoyed the simplicity of their life.  Being told to stay home, stripped out many decisions – how to travel, where to eat and what to choose to eat from a menu of options. It was simple, lunch would be something from the kitchen.

This gave bandwidth for some of the bigger issues. What do you want to do with your life? Am I happy? Am I doing what I want to be doing for the next 5 years? How is my lifestyle affecting the planet? How can I make changes in my life to create a more sustainable future?

Decisions are an opportunity for us to say something about who we are and what our values are. We become the authors of our own lives.

As philosopher Ruth Chang explains in her excellent TED talk on how to make hard choices:

Far from being sources of agony and dread, hard choices are precious opportunities for us to celebrate what is special about the human condition, that the reasons that govern our choices as correct or incorrect sometimes run out, and it is here, in the space of hard choices, that we have the power to create reasons for ourselves to become the distinctive people that we are.

How do you make a good decision?  Think long-term: who am I to be? If you know what you want in the future, you have a direction for your life. This is your vision for you and the world you want to live in. When you decide, how does it enable this reality to come in to being for you, your community and the planet?

If you are unsure of the destination for the next part of your life, get in touch with me. A complementary 20 minute call and I can help you to clarify your next steps.

It’s impossible to know whether the choice you’re making is 100% correct. We can only decide with the information we have at that moment in time.  Instead of feeling powerless, remember that your gut can be just as powerful a reason to make a choice as all the information and opinions you’ve already gathered.

I don’t just use reason to make a decision. To weave the life I want, I my values are the warp threads and I’ve learnt to listening to my gut wisdom. How will you make decisions in the future?

Glastonbury Feeds my Soul

About now I would be returning home from an amazing week at Glastonbury Festival. I spend a week volunteering. My job is in the Lockups. They are a safe place for people to check-in their valuables, so they don’t have to leave them in a tent or worry about misplacing them.

Glastonbury is like nothing else I have experienced. It is it’s own little world for the week. Some of the usual culturally accepted ways of doing things on the outside don’t apply.

People are friendly.

Anyone will help anyone at Glastonbury. There is a real sense of community and kindness. If you are a bit lost, just ask. If you want a recommendation, just strike up a conversation with a stranger.

It is liberating

You can wander where you want to see what you want. My soul relishes the creativity and freedom. If you like something you can stay, if you don’t you can head off to find something else. This makes the Glastonbury crowd very discerning. If they don’t like it, they will just leave. There are too many other good things to see and do.

You are a life-long learner

There is so much to visit and learn. Information is interesting and challenging. It is presented through many different forms of art – theatre, spoken word, talks, clever graffiti art in huge installations, exhibitions, VR, music and more. You can learn so much trying out new experiences about yourself. Your views of the world and how it “should be” are challenged.

Getting creative

You can learn new skills in Green Crafts area. There is an opportunity to have a go at making a stone or wood carving, stain-glass, willow weaving, blacksmiths, sewing, leather workshops and many many more. I made a bone ring inspired by Viking archaeological finds. By doing the workshop, I was stepping closer to the experiences of my ancestors and their lives.

The earth is revered

The festival raises money for charities that stand up for the rights of the earth. There are no single use plastic bottles, no plastic cutlery or plates. All the food waste is collected, sorted and composted. The wasted is sorted to make sure all the recycling is taken out. Beautifully painted colourful bins all around the site are labelled so people can take responsibility and sort their waste.

There’s lots of information about the state of the planet and what people can do to make a difference. We can always make a difference by our individual actions. With information we can hold decision-makers to account and be clear that we want change. We want to look after our home, our planet for us and future generations.

Diversity is celebrated

No one will have the same experience at the festival. You just can’t get round the whole site in a weekend. The site has a rich diversity of food, music and experiences. The international cuisine is incredible. I miss my dinner to the best fresh falafels I will eat all year. The huge diversity of music all over the festival. There are huge stages and little intimate gigs, all with something different.

The circus and theater areas are filled with entertaining street artists walking around. Block 9 is the gay scene, and everyone is welcome. The Unfair Ground is the shadow-side of the festival. Shangri La is a huge art installation, it’s like walking round a film set. Every year it has a thought-provoking message – such as Corporate-Hell. I love the challenge, the wake up. We do just become complacent, not challenging the ideas our society is built on. This work brings those challenging perspectives to many thousands.

Community

We are all there to enjoy the experiences of the festival. Music, dancing, creativity, learning, making new friends and may be going for a healing session in the healing area. People dress colourfully, you will see some great fancy dress costumes. One year I saw a Top gun squadron out for the night in their cardboard fighter jets – genius! We are all there to connect and enjoy.

You will see all ages from little babies to the elders. There is no age limit on enjoying yourself!

Being in nature

For a whole week we eat, wash and sleep in nature. Camping, noticing the weather and adjusting to the situation day to day. We camp near an old oak tree that often has a kestrel nesting in it. We hear the blackbirds dawn chorus. Walking for miles across the site every day and dancing. Our bodies are happy.

Every week can be Glastonbury!

Listen to your heart and do what makes you feel good and free. Don’t waste your life, thinking I’ll do it tomorrow. Do it or do something better. Live your life!

I weave these elements in my life because it makes me happy. I try to be helpful and will give a lost looking tourist a bit of help. Kindness makes a better world. We are part of one race – the human race. Let’s build our community and support each other to build a better world. Let’s celebrate our rich diversity, it what makes us unique, it is not a threat.

Being in nature is good for us. There are plenty of scientific studies to show this. I love being out in nature and I am distressed that I am picking up so much litter after my fellow humans. We need to look after our planet and act responsible. This isn’t just about our hedonistic life, this planet needs to support future generations. We will need to modify our lives if we want humanity to continue. There are lots of things we can do and learning is the first step. Become aware of how your actions affect the earth and others through what you consume and choose to do.

We all make a difference. Each one of us is a logo piece. We can come together and create a beautiful giant structure or we can choose to isolate ourselves. At home we can volunteer in our communities, bringing our skills, passion and expertise to create a better world. Covid has shown us he creativity and resourcefulness of people. We need to continue to be creative and resourceful as we build a better world so we don’t slip in to old toxic ways. I believe we have been reminded of our own agency to be kind and build a better world. I believe we can do this if we want to.

Have you been to Glastonbury?

What are your take-a-ways?

Is your brain too busy? You need nature

This only takes a few moments but finding stillness in your busy brain will allow you access the creative side of your brain. You will be able to ponder on a question and find answers from a new perspective. Innovative solutions to problems will come to you as you go for a walk in nature.

I like to be outdoors, in wild places connecting with nature. Nature grounds us, it brings our brain waves back into a natural rhythm. When we are in this natural rhythm our minds aren’t so busy and our bodies physically relax a little. It doesn’t matter what the weather – rain, sun or wind.

The important thing is to be observant in nature. See the bigger picture around you, if there is a view, drink in the magnificence of the view. If your view is more restricted, such as a small garden or the park, do your best and look at the leaves at the top of the trees. Take in the expansiveness of nature. It helps us to switch off from our busy minds and human concerns.

By focusing your bodily senses, you will really start to nice the enormity and detail in nature. The thousands of leaves shimmering in the wind. The complex song of a blackbird. The wind and sun on your skin. What can you smell?

Taking ourselves out of our brains and focusing on the bodily sensations allows our brain to quieten. If you find somewhere to sit or stand, just be still and notice. Now you focus on the detail of one thing such as a leaf or a flower. Really notice it, find new ways to look at it and explore it. This focusing of the mind stops any remaining chatter in the brain. Reconnect with your child-like wonder. See the world through a child’s eyes – be amazed at the things you find and see, hear, smell, touch and feel.

I recommend stopping and going outside for a bit. Just noticing, being still and allowing your brain to quieten. You don’t have to push hard to find the answer. The easy way is to be still and allow the answer to percolate into you.

Give it a try and let me know how you get on.

Change can be profound

Change can be profound

Profound change requires a dismantling of the old. The belief system under the behaviours needs to change.

As I watch the current civil unrest in America, I am proud that people of all skin tones are stepping forward and saying this racist belief system needs to stop now.  It isn’t just a dilemma for people of colour it is a problem for us all. This is fundamentally about how we treat each other.

We have been asked to think of each other during the pandemic, to restrict our liberty for the greater good of all. Choosing to isolate from other people to stop the spread of the virus, so we reduce the mortality rate. Our sense of community has been renewed through this challenging experience.

No longer complicit

When the #Me Too movement started to gain traction, I was grateful. I wondered what was enabling this change? There were perpetrators, there were victims, there were accomplices and those that chose to look the other way. Sexual abuse has been going on for thousands of years, it was accepted in society. I wondered what had changed? Women in power, those in Hollywood were now sticking up for each other instead of saying “shhh, don’t make a fuss” or “that’s how men are”. They were no longer going to be quiet and complicit. They spoke out and said this is not acceptable. It was time to change how we treat each other. This was a fundamental change in our belief system, women’s bodies were their own, they were not the property others.

What is acceptable in our society?

The fact that police officers think it is acceptable to publicly kneel on George Floyd’s neck, shows us that racism lies in our society’s hard wiring. This is a societal belief system that needs weeding out. Society is made of individuals. That means we are all accountable. We each need to look at our values and beliefs and act accordingly.

In the UK, a man of colour is more likely to be pulled over for no reason than a white man. A friend told me he had a dash camera in the car so he could record the conversation if the police stopped him. I am a white woman and I have never been stopped by the police while driving “for a chat”. He had been pulled over before by the police. This is not America’s problem. This is a cultural problem created by our colonial ancestry.

Challenging racism

Collectively we are challenging racism again. Can we do it properly this time? Can make the profound changes that move us to a better world? Do you see humans as equal value or are some more important than others? We each need to understand our own software programmes/ beliefs. These are created by the place you live, institutions, the community and your family. These beliefs are the systems that run in the background and they create our thoughts and actions. Take time and understand what you believe.

Neuroplasticity shows us that we can change our brains, which means we can change our belief systems. You are able to change the way you think and act. You just need to start the new way of being and correct yourself if you fall back into the old habit. The new habit will take root and flourish as the old habit withers. This is how we change ourselves and society.

We are the force of change

It’s time to stand together and clearly say that racism is not acceptable. When we stand together, we are showing that we want a new societal norm. It is time for change. That means each of us needs to call out racism where we see it at work, in social settings, any racist comments etc and say it’s not acceptable. We are the force of change. Wherever you live you and your actions can make a difference.

Endings and Beginnings

It is the end of the old racist world. We are standing together to destroy racism. It needs to be weeded out of our minds, institutions and society. This an established belief and it will need a force of will to change it from the bottom to the top of our current structures. We have supported each other through our actions during the Pandemic. We have shown we value our fellow humans. This is the next challenge. Do you choose to stand side by side with others to defeat racism?

We need to clear the ground form something new to take root and flourish.

Let’s create a world where we value each other equally, we celebrate the commonality of our human experience and our rich diversity.

How to make a future full of kindness

I’m a gardener and love to grow trees, flowers and vegetables. Whatever you grow, the principles are the same – to thrive they need sun, water and soil/nutrients. When I think about the future, I know a new world is going to be created. There’s no going back to how it was. We will co-create the future, our choices and actions will decide what sort of future it will be.

I don’t know exactly how things will look in the future, but I know what is needed to create a better future. Each and every one of us can create it using these three ingredients:

Kindness, Balance (doing what is right for the long-term) and Quality.

If these principles for each and every action are adopted as we build a new future, these foundations will look after us as individuals, communities and the wellbeing of the planet. If we individually and corporately look at every step we are taking, checking it against these three guiding principles, we will make better decision for the long-term and our health and future generation’s health will benefit. We need to be bold, break with tradition and carve a visionary future. It’s time to live by our values and create a better future for everyone and everything on the planet.

Mental Health Awareness Week (18 – 24 May) is encouraging us to share our ideas on how we could build a kinder society. What are the principles you would like to build the future on?

Rebuilding our society with kindness

What is the kindest thing that someone else has done for you during the past couple of months?

The pandemic has affected individuals and communities all over the world. Having been in this transition phase for a few months, our old way of life gone but the new way of life not yet formed. Many of us have been stopped dead in our tracks, not allowed to go out and be busy, we have been re-evaluating our priorities in life.

This has brought many people back to their communities. People have been creative and inventive. We have observed physical distancing, but we have found new ways to connect and support each other. The vulnerable are being supported. Doing what is right is obvious. Helping make more PPE, supporting neighbours mentally and physically through doing little chores, encouraging people to plans seeds and grow their own vegetables, there are too many examples to list. Volunteering for our community makes us feel good. We have a purpose which is creating a better world by our small actions.

We are planet made of up communities. Will people continue to give time to do the right thing after the pandemic? We are the masters of our own destiny. Will we support our neighbours and volunteer in our communities? Our actions can lay the foundation. Through Kindness, Balance and Quality we can build better stronger communities.

What is the kindest thing that someone else has done for you during the past couple of months?

How can you pay that kindness forward tenfold in the future?

Reclaiming kindness for ourselves

This is the first in a 3-part series on kindness. It is Mental Health Awareness Week (18 – 24 May) and I have been thinking about being kind: to ourselves, in our society and thirdly how do we want to build a future which is kinder? Let’s start with how we treat ourselves and address the other two questions in further articles.

How are you feeling?

How are you feeling at the moment? What is the kindest thing that you have done for yourself over the past couple of months? Is that an easy question to answer or is it difficult? Are you someone that gives yourself a tough time? Do you expect yourself to be achieve many things each day? Do you have lists, goals and more goals? Do you feel invigorated and focused by your goals or warn-down by them?

Finding balance

It is good to have goals, but we need balance in all areas of our lives. There can’t be continuous growth, it isn’t the way nature works and we don’t work that way either. There’s spring, summer, autumn and winter. Winter is the death, the dormant phase in this cycle. We also have natural cycles and we need time to rest and rejuvenate. These are times of being not doing. Being is especially important, it allows us to listen and get creative. We need this time to listen and get clear about our direction before we head off into doing and action. Without being, listening to your inner guidance you end up doing a lot of things that you realise weren’t in your best interest.

Be your own best friend

Our society is obsessed with busy. Looking busy, feeling important because they are being busy, its not about effective, it’s business. You can be much more effective if you spend time being. Then your doing is in alignment with you. Be kind to yourself and allow yourself to be. Don’t hassle, push and prod yourself. You live with yourself 24/7. Who wants to live with a bully? Be your own best friend. Show compassion and allow yourself to rest when you need to rest. If you move with your natural energy cycles and be active when you have energy and feel creative. You will be far more productive. Rest when you need to and you will truely look after your own health. Be kind, be compassionate and just do your best. Being kind to yourself will change your life.

Connecting to our Power

I am thinking about the future. I’m asking people what sort of world do they want? Because I don’t believe the future world will be made by other people, it will be created by us. Each of us will be a part of shaping this new world. Our world will be shaped by our actions and our inaction. What things did you ignore, close your eyes to and continued to hope someone else would do it? What future do you want our children to have?

These are challenging questions, but I notice a difference in people now and it gives me great hope for the future. In my street and all around the country people are looking out for each other. An example is a household that can get shopping delivered, is now putting an elderly neighbours order on, so they don’t have to go to the shops. They can stay safe because people are looking out for each other.

What has changed?

I admit that there always were members of the community who have put a lot of their personal time and energy in to making a better world. They know that if you want something doing, crack on and make a start. Actions make a better world. But this hasn’t felt true for everyone. Many people have felt disempowered, unable to affect change in any way in their own lives or the lives of others. This is reflected in the numbers of people turning out to vote.

People have been so busy making a living they haven’t had time to stop and think, look at where they are in life and what they are doing. When we are living according to our values, we are living with integrity. Do you value money over family or is family first? Do you need more money for more stuff, gadgets and distractions or more quality time each week with your family and friends? Where does your time go? What do you prioritise? What are your values? Are you living life according to your values?

Strengthening Communities

The “Great Pause” has made us all stop to some degree. We are faced with a huge challenge; the pandemic and our actions matter. Everyone is being asked to act responsibly, to think of the greater good which is in their own good. The focus has moved away from the individual, our busy lives, our personal aspirations of success to the community we are in. Our lives, our safety depends on us working together and following the Government guidelines. Although we are physically distancing, we are also becoming closer as a community. Communities can be geographical, households living in the same area, but there’s also a strengthening of communities of interest. People are coming together, learning together, sharing their wisdom and supporting each other online. We are being tested to our very core, our beliefs are being challenged, this can make us feel unstable. Reaching out to others helps us in uncertain times. Community is important, we are social animals.

 

Powerful acts of kindness

I see people all over the world acting from their hearts, helping members of their communities online and locally. Because at some level we realise that when we do good deeds, they benefit others and us. Volunteering in our communities, kindness, the act of giving, makes us feel better. We are being helpful and we’re building a better world. Our actions make a difference. The difference is we are all remembering this, we are consciously connecting to our power, our power to make a difference. We can each make a dramatic difference by our actions and our words.

All our little actions, virtuous deeds make a huge difference. We have the power to change the world. Can you feel your power? That knowing, like a little flame that has been fanned in the Great Pause. Our power and our passion are coming back to life.

Can I make a difference?

What do you want to create? You have the power to make decisions and carry them through with your actions. It only takes 25% of the population to adopt something and it comes a new norm. David Noonan’s 2018 article quotes Arnout van de Rijt, who studies social networks and collective action “this is about a minority trying to change the status quo, and succeeding by being unrelenting. By committing to a new behaviour, they repeatedly expose others to that new behaviour until they start to copy it.”  “The other environment in which the 25 percent effect is particularly evident, Centola says, is online—where people have large numbers of interactions with lots of other people, many of them strangers.” If you are involved in online communities, this can be very powerful. The way you act, can draw like-minded souls to you. Your actions can change the world.

What does the new world look like?

Are you concerned about the state of the planet? What would you like the new world to look like? How do people act? How do you act in that new world? How do you want people to act towards each other? Do you want people to be suspicious, fearful of eye contact and smiles? Are people expected to manage in isolation? Or do you want to continue to build stronger communities, through kind deeds and smiles? Do you feel we should be involved in local and national decision-making structures? How can new decision-making structures enable people to be involved in a meaningful way? How can we bring our skills and expertise to our communities to help and support them thrive? What can you do to make the world you are dreaming of a reality?

How are you acting and thinking?

The old world was imbued with “my opinion and my actions don’t matter”. That world doesn’t exist anymore. Everything has changed so much over the last couple of months. Has your thinking changed? We have felt the power of our actions, our voice calling for action from our leaders. We’re still in Lockdown and we can influence what happens next. What we do influences the world we create. Our actions towards each other, our community our world does make a difference. We have been reminded of our power. Now you choose how you use it. Do you want a better world? How will you make a better world?

Share your thoughts about the actions you will take now and in the future. What have you wanted to do in the past, but not made time for? What will you stop doing? What have you learnt over the last 2 months? What do you want to continue to do in the future?

Metamorphosis -we are being called to change

Can you feel it? We are in the “Great Pause”. It’s a time to slow, a time to notice. We have been busy, working and following the rules. Abruptly our world has been changed by the pandemic. Many of us are still at work, but as we strive to work from home we are challenged with our emotions; uncertainty and unease, and new dynamics with those who share our spaces. We’re not working from home, we are working with home – children, partner, cooking etc. Work is not separate and given space, it has to coexist with our lives. I wonder whether what’s happening at the moment, this moment of readjustment, is actually a really good thing?

Our old life values

I hear people trying to be productive, wanting to write a long to-do list, and achieve so many things, so many new activities in this gift of time, but you know it’s just not reasonable. Because if you do only that, you shut out what’s important. You go back to shutting out how you feel. You go back to not seeing your partner or your kids or your pets all day. You buy food from somewhere and you don’t spend time with ingredients making food with love. You’re too busy for home care, for appreciating and loving the space you live in. You’re too busy to for a walk or a cycle and noticing nature and the seasons, you’re busy working and commuting. You look forward to Friday, instead of living in every day with joy.

We are in a transition

That was the old life. We are in a holding space, a transition to a new life. Life will never be the same life it was before. Just like 9/11, life will change, we’re not sure how at this moment in time, but we know it’s has changed for ever in some way. Social distancing has never been part of our global reality before. Will French people kiss each other as a greeting in the future? We don’t know, the new life has not yet started. We are in lockdown and so we are in a cocoon.

The midlife transition for women parallels this experience. Through life many women are shaped into what society wants them to be and to do. Their feminine gifts around nurturing and caring may be exploited, if they don’t have strong boundaries, a strong sense of self. They are expected to run the home, look after the children and have a job. Now we are in the Great Pause, many women are taking their foot off the accelerator. They felt exhausted, but unable to change, and now is a chance to pause, to slow down. They don’t have to dash from work to school pick up, to after school clubs, dinner, homework and on and on. There no external distractions or opportunities, it’s time to just be.

Now we can look back at our old life because we are not in it, with a detached objectivity. Was it all good? Did some things ******? Frustrate? Infuriate you? Why? What was happening at that time? What were you doing? How were you acting? Were you maintaining healthy boundaries? Do you want to do that again in the future or do you want to do something else? How could that look? Just choose what you want to do at any moment in time. There will always be an ebb and flow to work and life. We can’t separate the two, they are each part of our experience, but we do need balance. It’s important to not allow yourself to be pulled by one aspect too much – too much work or too much home, in either, you lose yourself.

Women’s midlife transition

Women’s hormones start to change in midlife and this is a good thing. It is a natural process which helps them prepare for the next stage in their lives. They are no longer willing to put up with the things they hid from themselves previously. This is the opportunity for personal growth, for knowing themselves on a deeper level and bringing more joy into their lives. This peri-menopausal transition is a cocoon. It’s a time when you can go inside and look at what’s happened in your life, what led you to now, what paths have you trodden so far on your journey. Either on your own or preferably in a Women’s Development Circle, you can work through your thoughts and emotions, find and allow yourself to drop the baggage you have taken on of other people’s views and expectation. Now is the time to cultivate wisdom and compassion, to reinvigorate your identity for the next phase of life.

A new life

Man or woman, we have choices. If we simply keep doing over and over, the same pattern, the same behaviours, the same thoughts and emotions, we have no opportunity to learn, we trap ourselves. We have improved nothing in our lives. Importantly we ruin the planet for future generations. Going back to the old ways is not an option. We need to find a new way individually and collectively. How will we thrive from this? There is a myth that you must be busy to be successful. What is success? Our views around money and success are being challenged. In lockdown, success is not getting sick and staying alive. Many people are feeling happier as they are spending quality time connecting with their loved one. Their priorities have shifted, they no longer take people or being alive for granted. They want meaningful connections with themself and others.

 

We are still in the loop of lockdown, in the cocoon. If you are a woman in midlife you also have choices. Do you try to conform to what society celebrates and turn back the clock or do you choose to look at society’s views? Do you take the time and decide whether they are views you want to buy into? What will you choose to believe? How would you describe post-menopausal women? Are they the way makers, they show the way to a better world? Are they beautiful and radiant? Visible, important and inspiring? Post-menopausal women are driving huge positive change in our society.

 

Be aware of this space, of this gift of the Great Pause. The world is changing. We are at moment like no other in our life. Our country, our community, our lives have changed. A moment to notice a fork on the road. Do you want to become the bitter old woman, clinging on to the past, blaming others? This is the toxic feminine. The other path is that of the Wise Woman who has worked through the hidden emotions, like an archaeologist of her life, she has looked in the depts of her life and found the hidden gifts. Gifts that have always been there, but they were buried. You know the Wise Woman she has the childlike joy, and the kids like to hang around her. She has a mischievous twinkle in her shiny eyes, she doesn’t want to be anyone’s enemy, but she is also no one’s victim. She stands in her truth and power. She brings wisdom and compassion to the world. Now is the time to choose your path and the world you want to create from that place.

“Your action, what you do, depends on who you are. The quality of your action depends on the quality of your being. […] So there is a link between doing and being. If you don’t succeed in being, you can’t succeed in doing.”
― Thich Nhat Hanh, The Art of Power

 

I invite you to join the Wisdom Queens Development Circle if you want to journey with other women who also choose to become Wise Women. The Development Circle runs online Sundays 7- 8pm 10th May – 21 June

Register here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/102890728940

How do you feel in Lockdown? Life of Pi

When we check in with each other at the start of Zoom calls, there’s a standard question: How do you feel? I wondered, how do I feel? So I have been internally scrolling through the emotions that the Pandemic has brought up in me and others, looking for ways to convey how these last couple of months have felt. It’s like a film rather than life. Ang Lee’s 2012 film Life of Pi comes to mind, rather than some end of the world epic.

If you have seen it, you will remember it has a peculiar story. A ship goes down and the only two survivors are a boy called Pi and a Bengal Tiger called Richard Parker, travelling together on a tiny boat, in a vast ocean, with no particular direction. In our reality, our homes are our boats. We are cast off from our social groups, each other, isolated by social distancing. We are individuals or small families in our own space, with the wide world outside, but one that seems strange and inhospitable to us now.

Some of us have supplies in the boat and some of us don’t. There are people who were very fearful, hording food and toilet rolls. They felt a need to prepare for the coming unknown. By buying lots of resources they were controlling what they could, in a world that felt out of their control. These unique times are triggering our fears at many levels. Showing us our subconscious thought programmes. We choose whether to act on them, go out and panic buy or manage our fears and reassure ourselves there will be plenty for everyone if we share. Every day we can make a new choice.

For some, it may not be possible to go out and get food. Some people’s sense of self is being challenged, something that challenges our very foundations. A friend, who never thought of herself as vulnerable and old, has had to grapple with this label, this identity that was imposed on her a few weeks ago. She was categorised in a way she would never label herself. To be labelled as old and an unwelcome drain on NHS resources, is brutal, when you see yourself as vibrant, creative and productive. These labels are being given to many, it’s not only about age. To be out mixing with people who may or may not be carrying the virus, for those with medical conditions, is putting themselves at risk. We are in lockdown to stop a surge of cases that the NHS can’t manage. We are staying home by choice to save lives. How do people who can’t be independent any more feel about the supplies dwindling in their boat? Do they feel more isolated, more fear? Do they feel powerless? Do they feel a burden on society? Are they grappling with their mortality?

In the film, Pi is on his own, in a small space, a boat, in an inhospitable environment trying to survive and share the space with something unpredictable, something that could easily kill him. Around us, Covid-19 is invisible. The fact that we can’t see this threat makes it more menacing in some ways as it could be anywhere. This results in people feeling very stressed, there’s a collective fear around the world. The mind repeats “there’s a threat!” all the time, “watch out it could be anywhere, be vigilant, be very vigilant.” Being full of fear for our own safety all the time is exhausting. We just can’t sustain it. The stress affects us negatively and results in our immune system becoming compromised.

The awareness of death portrayed in Life of Pi gave it an emotional depth, a tense quality. A sense of Pi wrestling with his views of God. Which god and what form did god take? How could God allow him to be on his own in such a harsh environment? Why was God testing him? In the film, Pi shows his ingenuity, he overcomes problems and grows in confidence and knowledge. At some points in the film he’s enjoying life and thriving, he’s adapted to the new life.

There are moments of extraordinary spellbinding beauty within the film. Nature is magnificent, fascinating and humbling. The light of the sunset on the water made me cry it was so beautiful. I see more people out walking, noticing spring, day by day as the leaves on the trees develop. People are slowing down and noticing, sensing and feeling the world around them. They are excited to see a butterfly or bumblebee. The notice the beautiful flowers, and they sense something has changed in them, they’re noticing the colours are more vividly. We are now in the moment, appreciating what we see and sense. We feel life, we are realising what’s important as the distractions are stripped away. We are really living life, not rushing past it.

Pi has to find a way to live with the tiger until they get to land. We too have to find a way to live with Covid-19. Being in constant fear will harm our health. We need to find a way to coexist on the planet. The virus like the tiger is part of nature. We need to treat it with respect and look after our own health and not get depleted by being constantly fearful. The lesson is do not live in fear,  live the best life you can. Each day has 24 hours, you can spend them feeling sad or happy, you choose.

My question to you is, how are you feeling? If you are uncertain, fearful, how will you manage your fears so you can live with the tiger and enjoy your beautiful life? If you or someone you know wants support with this transition, join me on Navigating Change and Strengthening Resilience. Friday 8th May 1pm register here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/102840903912

Sarah Nicholson