Friday, September 3, 2021

Fearless Friday - virus thoughts

I've had a few conversations this week that have things swirling in my head and I wanted to sift them out the best way I know how - here!

Life at the moment is weird - if you wrote about it, an editor would tell you it was unbelievable and you couldn't write it!

In Australia, Covid had a big impact in early 2020 when 'fear' of what this virus is and what it can do was high. We were all locked down for some weeks. And then things became less fearful and more open, however the threat of the virus didn't go away.

Actually, I should start pre-virus, the bushfire season of 2019/2020 is what scared me in such a profound way, I made massive (for me) life and thought changes. So the virus was something I managed much easier than the fires. I had had my existential crisis and I knew where I was now headed.

So, we got through 2020. And then the Delta strain hit. We saw awful stories from overseas and lamented at how awful it all was (we'd become good at this because we're an island and could contain). And then the strain arrived in Australia, and took off (in Aus-terms) in Sydney.

It's 11 weeks since Sydney and surrounds locked down. All my families are up there, so we can't see them. No matter what hardships they're experiencing, we can't help. And that hurts me.

We're all in lockdown now, all of NSW.

Unfortuantely, again, the virus has got into those communities that society wanted to protect (aged, children and Indigenous). Not to mention that it's infected places where people cannot leave - hospitals and prisons. (If I got into my thoughts on this, I don't think I'd be able to stop, so I'm not going there today).

The impacts of the virus are highlighting inequalities with society. Rich school students have received the vaccine before much of the vulnerable communities. City folk have huge vaccination clinics set up, while rural and remote communities have limited supply (I'm still on a waiting list). Home schooling and work from home are putting huge strains on families. Hospitality jobs have pretty much ceased to exist, with little aid in this lockdown. So many small businesses are out of action, receiving little assistance, while many big corporations are profiteering and abusing assistance packages. Female sports have been largely abandoned, while male sports have continued even when it means massive financial input and huge location changes. I coudl go on, but I won't.

So... what are we as a society doing when these inequalities are exposed? It hits the media, then it's gone. Or it hits the media in a way that somehow seems less, or that is spun in some way to make it seem 'unavoidable'. We're bandaiding over the inequality. 

Let me just go on a personal segue here.

I contracted Ross River Fever in 2005. It's a mosquito-borne virus that has varying impacts on different people. For me, it wiped out an active person and turned them to someone functioning at a bare minimum. I could shower, but then I'd need to rest before I could get dressed, and sometimes that rest was a 2 hour sleep. I could sleep for 18 hours a day - and I had no choice about that. My body would just cease to function. I went from working in a new demanding job, sometimes 12 hour days, to sleeping more than I was awake.

Everything I thought I knew about myself had shifted and changed. I lost things that I thought were vital (eg good health, robust body, a career, work that gave me financial independence, the ability to travel at a whim, do things without thought). 

A little tiny virus I never saw, reduced me to nothing. I had to re-evaluate my self, my life, my values, my fears, my prejudices, my responses to things.

Slowly I regained health, and then it slid away, I regained and it slid. Honestly, it was like a bloody rollercoaster for years as I battled. I'd get better, 'do too much', and get worse.

What was 'do too much'? It could be anything at all, and that was the frustrating thing. I never knew what would set me on my arse again.

Slowly, I made my way to 2019 when the bushfires stared me down. I had some moments in those months where I faced difficult things inside of me. My rash offers of help to anyone. My fear of losing everything. My fear that humanity was a failed experiment. My inability to leave a lasting legacy of which I was proud. My pain at loss of animals and environment. My love for those who helped in any way, big or small. My horror at the media portrayal of everything.

One morning, I faced a choice. Did I want to live through this, because it was going to get worse and I would be alone? I didn't answer that straight away. I took time to think about it. What did 'worse' and 'alone' mean? Let me tell you, I never went close to this! But I elected to live through this. I wanted to change, and help bring about change.

Life has flowed since then. I participated in an Ho'oponopono course that helped me face so many fears that had been buried inside me - personal fears and ancestral fears, hurts and pain. To sit and talk about these things was incredible. Yes, totally woo-woo, but hell, nothing else was making sense in this bat-shit crazy world (before it all went nuts!).

Which brings me back in a circle.

There's a virus in our world that's affecting everyone on the planet and exposing fears, hurts, inequalities. What's it asking us? 

We've been so quick to develop a vaccination to mask the problem and keep going as normal. But is that what we should be doing? 

Should we be taking this time to look at all the fractures/inequalities/holes/forgetten parts in our society and do better? Should we be dismantling what doesn't serve us all, and replacing with a different system?

It's easy to be in the 'comfort zone' of the usual. But if the usual isn't working for you, should we be propping it up?

Society (as a whole) isn't working for me. The system and I have had issues since I was a kid who didn't fit in. I tried to fit in, for years, but I ended up sick and forgotten by a system that really doesn't care. I've worked my way back to health, but I'm damned if I'm trying to fit in again.

We rail against the Middle Eastern and Asian cultures with their strict rules ensuring society plays by the powers that be ... but are we any different? 

I can't change everything, but I can change me. 

I can make choices. I can do due diligence to find out what's hidden behind stories. I can change my life, my world, my self.

I'm finding joy in nature. I'm trying to buy from companies that have a good ethos. I'm trying to make connections with people who share my views. I'm trying to emit love, joy and happiness instead of fear, and panic. I'm trying to keep human connections in a society where lockdowns are thought to be beneficial for people. This is not to say I'm breaking the rules. I'm following as best I can, but I'm also making conscious choices to do what I can to stop these rules abusing my humanity.

People need connections. People need to talk to each other, hug each other, care for each other in the ways they know. Isolating people is a great way to breed fear and keep control ... and I don't want to be controlled like an automaton. I'm here to live a human life, with other humans, and have a positive impact on the world. I'm just not sure how I can do that at the moment.

But I am not alone. 

You are not alone.

No matter how difficult this time is, reach out to others. Help others. Shine light and love where you can. Smile. Love. Live.

I'm not sure that I've solved any problems here, but my poor tired brain is settling down and not so tangled now. Thanks for the space to express my thoughts...which is another thing. I need middle ground discussions in society - where we can talk out things and air views and think how we might change our views or hold them more closely. The climate at the moment is so polarised - if you're questioning anything you're deemed crazy. It seems that there's toe-ing the line, or nothing. I work in the grey in-between. I want to see discussions (but not arguments or vitriol) and gently air my views, so that I can formulate and jostle things in my head to see where I fit. This has always been a safe space for me to do that. I hope we can have more safe spaces for discussions.