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  • Writer's pictureRenee Shearing

Beauty from the Ashes

Updated: Jun 25, 2020

Artwork Sharon Boonzaier

For many of us, the Covid19 pandemic has made us feel that our worst nightmares are coming true. What we thought we could be sure of and what we considered predictable is no longer so. The structures that have held us and directed us through our daily lives are falling away.

We find ourselves in a time when everything we know is being threatened:  

Our lives

Our jobs

Our finances

Our community

Our family

Our education

Our activities

In this state of flux we fearfully ask:  

Will things ever be the same? Will I survive? Will I be able to cope?

Here we sit locked away in our homes, left with only ourselves and the four walls around us. So many of us are wracked with fear, scared of what might come, scared of what we might lose, scared that we won’t survive what is to come.

Adapt and thrive

We fear the loss of what we know as we are pushed into the territory of the unknown. The only sure thing that remains is ourselves.

The pandemic has pushed the big red STOP button. We are being asked to be still, to stop moving, to stop doing. Even the part of us that wants to help, to do something, to make a change, has been asked to stop. There is nothing to chase, nowhere to go, no one to see.

The directive right now is to do nothing, be still and wait.

Artwork Sarah Heinamann

So what happens in that space of stillness? What opportunities does it create for us?

Of course it can invoke a lot of fear and panic. Fear and panic are designed for our survival, to ensure that we don’t die.  In the face of a threat, our bodies are designed for flight, fight or freeze. If we come across a lion, one of these three options might be a useful response. But it does not help us in the situation we face today.

The pandemic and its consequences aren’t something we can fight, aren’t something that we can run from and we most certainly can’t afford to freeze. The only option is to move to another possible response to crisis, and that is to adapt and thrive.

This time calls on our resilience as human beings.  Our old patterns and ways of being just won’t cut it anymore.

Artwork Sarah Heinamann

Sometimes being forced into a dark scary corner, which offers us no chance to fight or run away, forces us to find the resilience we forgot we had. We can see possibilities we refused to see before, because we were addicted to the status quo.

If we stop and take a deep breath, we can also see that we’re being offered a moment of reflection, a moment to face ourselves. For once in our lives we have an opportunity to push the reset button.  Life as we know it has stopped and we have a chance to re-evaluate and ask: Is this the life I want?  Is this the life I choose?  Is this who I want to be?

We now have an opportunity to look change and fear in the eye, and say, “Okay, let’s do this, let’s face and embrace this change.”

Welcoming the unknown

The word responsibility takes on its true meaning -- the ability to respond.  That is what we are all being invited to do now: to access our ability to respond. We are being forced to take responsibility for our lives, to notice that things are changing. Instead of putting our heads in our hands and saying “I don’t know what’s going to happen”, we have the opportunity to throw our hands in the air and sing, “I don’t know what’s going to happen!”

Isn’t it wonderful and exciting that we don’t know what will happen?!  This means we have moved from the world of predictability and sameness to the world of possibility.

Artwork Sarah Heinamann

And in order to access that world of possibility it is important that we are not operating in fear.

Our brains are designed that in such a way that we cannot do those two things at once. When we operate in fear, our creative mind shuts down.

Now, more than ever, it is important that we learn to deal with our fears appropriately and to access our limitless and creative selves. It is time to be heroes in our own lives.  To take the ashes of what we have and create something beautiful.

Keep an eye out for my next piece, Resilience in a new world.

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