Columns
May 26, 2020
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Mind Body and Spirit

Steven Campbell
Four ways our world is better
May 15, 2020

Let’s pause for a moment and consider the blessings happening all around us.

We are paying attention to what really matters. 

Here’s a paradox: it is not until things break down that we start appreciating them – or even remembering that they exist.  

I have had seasonal asthma for 50 years and am profoundly grateful for air and breathing. When I was young, I was in a hospital for a year and walking became – and still is---a wonderful privilege. 

An unexpected inability to move can trigger a wave of friends and relatives offering their help. 

It is from these mishaps that we come to remember our loved ones, and create or renew rituals like car-pooling, long walks with friends, or having meals together, even if it is on Zoom. 

So COVID-19 has made us far more mindful of our health and thankful for our bodies.  We are reminded of all the vulnerable populations in our societies and how much we care about them. 

Most crucially, we are now reminded that we have, and that we are, a global society. 

Cooperation is spreading on an unprecedented global scale. 

Before the panic, the western world was already facing an epidemic of anxiety, loneliness, mental illness and rising uncertainty about the future. 

However, COVID-19 has become an antidote to this. 

As we are all focusing on what matters most, the vital importance of coordination and cooperation has become a reality again. 

The media is now reporting how people are patiently waiting their turn and taking precautions to protect the weak, along with ongoing acts of kindness among strangers, friends checking in on each other, families spending time together and volunteers delivering food. 

On a much bigger scale, world governments are now coordinating preventive measures with a degree of cooperation never seen before.  

We are finally slowing down. 

COVID-19 is helping us surmount our penchant for overworking.  As social distancing measures are being implemented around the world, a sharp increase in life-saving air quality has already been documented from China to Italy, with carbon emissions reaching new lows each day because of reduced air travel.  

At this point, most of us are already living in conditions of enforced slowness and distancing that are finally giving us the opportunity to work less, spend time with loved ones, and find the time to chat, read, play music, cook, go for long walks, and engage in all the pleasures we had forgotten to cultivate as we were chasing the futile goals of our accelerated, anxious lives.  

In other words, COVID-19 is reminding us that while the very social fabric that once made us strong has been broken, we are finding ways to fix it.

We are finding meaning and connections, even in isolation. 

Striking that balance between slowness and isolation will continue to be a challenge in the weeks and months to come.  

We are learning to take cues from our health authorities to help protect the vulnerable.  Our thoughts and prayers are going to those who must remain away from their loved ones for now.  

However, we are also learning how to use the longing we feel for more connections as a reminder and celebration of the importance of our connectedness.

A summary

There is a wonderful passage in the Bible from the book of Ecclesiastes. 

“There is a time for everything.” 

“A time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.”

Ecclesiastes reminds us of the simple things that make us whole: spending time with loved ones; eating good meals; sleeping, feeling the sun on one’s skin; watching the sun fall and rise again, and feeling at peace in the knowledge that it will rise again.   

So perhaps…just perhaps…we are becoming grateful that these troubled times have brought us closer together. 

The sun will rise again.

Wow!

 

Steven Campbell is the author of “Making Your Mind Magnificent.” His seminar “Taming Your Mind, Unleashing Your Life” is now available on line at stevenrcampbell.teachable.com.  For more information, call Steven Campbell at 707-480-5507.