The world is in shock, much of it in lockdown and curfew. After devastating fires in Australia, floods in many parts of the world, and a massive infestation of locusts in East Africa, we now have a global epidemic of coronavirus spreading exponentially. Much we’ve taken for granted is disintegrating and our way of life can no longer be as it was before.
Our current crises had to happen - we needed to wake up, for the way we have been living was unsustainable, and we are now at a turning point. But in the face of fear and uncertainty, how can we be hopeful that we will get through this turmoil? For many there is suffering, grief and anxiety; for others there are challenges of a kind they’ve never had to face before. They may be feeling despair rather than hope. Yet it is possible and necessary to make a conscious decision to be hopeful. We achieve nothing if we give way to despair, and hope is always available to us, however difficult the circumstances. We can choose to believe that a different way of living, one that is sustainable, fairer, more co-operative, and compassionate is possible.
Dark it may seem, yet the light is always there, and we all experience this as each new day dawns. We can see it also in the selfless acts of kindness that are happening spontaneously around us. Communities are pulling together and helping each other. Doctors and nurses are giving so magnanimously of their time and energy, risking their own lives as they care for those with COVID-19. Scientists are working tirelessly to find a vaccine.
Each of us can play our part by reaching out to others, whether by phone, e-mail or social media, and doing something, however small, to help, or simply to be a listening and positive presence. Forced to be with ourselves, unable to enjoy our usual external activities and social gatherings, we can also use the time to turn inwards, slow down, be still and reflect. We can be patient and wait, making it a sacred time, nurturing ourselves with daily rituals that are meaningful. We can cultivate inner resources that will sustain us through the rest of our lives, whatever happens. We can send out love to all who are struggling. We can also be grateful that we are alive and well, that we have family and friends, and that the sun is shining and spring is all around us (at least in the northern hemisphere).
We can summon up hope in these troubled times and it is tremendously powerful - we create the future with hope. Let’s trust that with all these crises, we are experiencing the birth pangs of a new kind of consciousness. In choosing to be hopeful, and understanding that we are all connected and interdependent, let’s all encourage and support one another in bringing into being a new way of living that respects all forms of life and the life of future generations.
Stay safe, stay well, and stay hopeful.