Settling Into Our New Normal

We’re on day 40-something of lockdown. I’ve lost the desire to count. My reference right now is that it’s longer than Lent.

How naïve we all were to think that things would suddenly be ok after 30 April. Covid-19 is not our biggest problem, it’s a catastrophic ‘distraction’. We have to contain the spread of the virus, urgently, but it’s only a catalyst to our changing reality that will have long-term effects.

The virus has come to highlight our iniquities and like Lent, is giving us the opportunity to cleanse and renew. The Universe always sends the lessons we don’t get until we do. When we continually ignore the gentle nudging, it never ends well. It usually crescendos into chaos that, if we’re still not awakened, has us asking, ‘why me?’.

This time our Source has given us a collective awakening. It strangely gives me comfort; there’s a spirit of togetherness in our pain and trauma even though we’re social distancing.

One of our biggest stumbling blocks to spiritual growth and peace is acceptance. Come, let’s all take a deep breath in. Hold it for 5 seconds. Let it out. We’re in this for the long haul.

In this relatively short time of lockdown – yes, it’s not the lifetime it feels like – a few things are clear to me.

  • There’s no correlation between money and stability

For the first time in my life, I’ve seen how money can lose its value as a means of transaction.

If you or your child has the coronavirus and you have access to private healthcare, but there are no medical professionals or hospital beds available, your money will not help you.

If the grocery stores have no supplies and you have money, you will still not eat. All the money in the world can’t protect you or your loved ones from the virus.

You know the cliché, ‘money cannot buy happiness’. Lockdown has come to give us the live tutorial. Your peace and stability are not linked to money. It’s all within.

  • Your home is your sanctuary

Those close to us know the difficulties we’ve had with our house. From the building through to the various security and other issues over the years. It has felt like a burden many times.

Lockdown has brought a new perspective. Our house finally feels like home. It has been the best place for our family to #StayAtHome. A bonus is our boys are even closer than before.

Covid-19 has come to show us that our homes must be spaces where we can safely retreat from the world. Not because we have to but want to.

This is a basic human right, unfortunately, denied to millions of South Africans. My prayers are with all those who are forcibly huddled in inhumane, and sometimes abusive, circumstances during an already stressful, anxious time.

  • Every life matters

Talk about bringing a slogan to life. If things have always happened to ‘those people’, if you didn’t care about what happened in Diepsloot, Khayelitsha or Umlazi, now you do. Or at least, you should. This is a masterclass on the interconnectedness of humanity.

When our government pulled out the harsh tactics with such ferocity and precision, and billionaires threw their stash on the table, it reaffirmed what I’ve always known. We can solve poverty and inequality. Overnight. We’ve just lacked the inspiration.

May this crazy time bring us to the realisation that indeed, every life matters. And let’s behave as if it does.

Ok, enough of the heaviness…

  • The new ‘stuck in traffic’

Isn’t it amazing how we’ve all taken to online meetings like we’ve always been doing it? This has to be my favourite development from lockdown. No more having to find a suitable outfit, allowing 30 – 60 minutes to get to a destination, potentially in rush-hour traffic, for a meeting that, if it was well-planned, could have taken all of 15 minutes online or even an email.

This has brought about a variation of being ‘stuck in traffic’. That struggling to connect to the meeting, arriving 5 minutes late.  This happened to me this week. On an international call. With a client I was being introduced to. It was attributed to the ‘bad connection in Johannesburg’. The ‘dark continent’ stereotype. I was mortified.

  • There is still a work dress code

I’ve expressed my joy about online meetings and clothing. Now I need to qualify. When I look at myself on video calls, I fully appreciate the importance of lighting, hair and make-up, colour and so on. Working from home really does not mean that you have to look like you are at home. Note to self.

Above-the-keyboard dressing is the new black. So far, I’ve only seen one person who is getting it right. There’s a different style of headgear at every meeting. Neo, we’re waiting for the Zoom lesson please.

It could be fun. I guess. For some of us it means going the extra mile, these things don’t come easy. Pre-lockdown, dressing up would be a nice pair of shoes, heels perhaps. Superfluous these days.

We’re living through profound times. This will not merely be a dot on a historical timeline, it will define this era.  

Let’s settle into our new normal with a huge dose of empathy, smothered in kindness with oodles of patience. And don’t hold your breath for anything. Unless you’re practicing mindful breathing.

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