I feel like I have been surfing the undercurrents of this whole illness-anxiety phenomenon called the covid-pandemic for nearly 2 years now.
It is not exciting or pleasant surfing. I am not even sure I have figured out how to surf it – surfing just sounds good for a title, but really what I am doing is floundering, flapping, freezing up, resigning, lying dead in the water, hoping the dark shapes of beasts and monsters will pass me by, to then start thrashing about again.
I keep trying to figure out how to surf it. Because I have to.
The waves have not been bold and beautiful, crashing in long lines of gorgeous blues, turquoise and white.
In the undercurrents of our collective consciousness the waters are dark, heavy and muddled. They suck at you, pulling you deeper, spiralling inwards into unbearable pressures to then suddenly push you off into new directions, into different waters, different pushes and pulls. It feels suffocating and disorienting. It has felt lonely and scary.
It has been difficult to find focus, to find language, to find connections, to make sense.
I have been moving between desperately seeking people and words to help me feel connected and then withdrawing into my despair, into a smaller world where all that matters is to keep breathing, keep loving and keep trusting.
The questions that come at me from the deep darkness continue to be:
What is really happening?
What really matters?
What does safe really look like and feel like? Is it real or an illusion?
What is freedom, free will and choice?
What is pulling humanity? Where is it pulling us? And why?
What kind of world do we want to live in?
What is more important than avoiding suffering and death?
How can I live, co-create and be the world I want to live in?
Slowly more people and more words are surfacing. It seems I am not the only one who has been surfing the undercurrents.
The undercurrents are so difficult because you cannot see who else is there. You are being pulled and pushed and fighting for air, for light, for forms and textures to become clearer. There is no sense of up or down. No sense of what lives there. No sense of the other minds who wander these waters.
But slowly, slowly the trawling I have done is bearing fruit. The endless hours spent casting out nets, throwing faint lights into dense woods, screaming myself hoarse in empty rooms and grasping for fragile threads that break at my touch. Something is happening, something is coming into focus. Not sure what it is yet – and maybe I am just kidding myself, desperate for hope.
The stubborn conviction that I cannot be the only one who thinks that what is happening is maddening – and that I am not mad for feeling a sense of urgency and despair.
From early 2020 I felt in my bones that the real threat was not the virus, illness, death or loss but our – collective and individual – response. Our behaviour, our thoughts, our words – our ways of relating.
Choosing how to respond to the virus/illness, to fears, to the rhetoric and propaganda floating about and to the political decisions being made. Choosing carefully, choosing with awareness…
I have a strong belief that controlling, war-faring responses can only get us a very short distance before they create distrust, polarisation and disintegration. That is how it works on a personal internal level, and that is how it works on a macro level.
So what is it that is needed? Really needed?
What are the values and the attitudes that we can nurture that make life worth living and death less scary?
Because we will all die. We will experience illness, decline and fragility to varying degrees. We will experience loss, pain and suffering.