Connection in the midst of isolation
It's been a strange few weeks, as Covid-19 seems to tighten its grip on parts of the world.
I don’t want to dismiss the global wreckage the virus has caused, or oversimplify its impact in places like Italy as no more than a lesson for Australia to learn from, as if it’s all just an example of what could happen to us comparatively lucky few if we don't wash our hands and stay indoors. I’ve been seeing a lot of that; people taking to Instagram to remind us to simply stay inside: to read, journal, take a bath, bake a cake, exercise, watch a film, and, basically, just be present.
I'll be honest, I’ve struggled with this kind of messaging, especially when the initial pain of watching the world engulfed by a pandemic was so overwhelming and horrifying. People are scared – for their health, their source of income, their general wellbeing. I was angered by those suggesting that yoga and mindfulness could treat a problem that, to me, seemed so vastly untreatable. I didn't want to be present, I wanted to escape, I wanted to get mad, to cry, to scream, to do something.
Eventually, though, I came to understand something important: there are some things which we cannot control, and this is true of all situations. We can’t control the amount of toilet paper on supermarket shelves, we can’t control how long this will all last, or how other people are going to react. But there are some things that we can control: we can control our own social distancing practices, we can control how much news we consume, we can control how we follow official recommendations and regulations. Most importantly, we can control our kindness, our patience, and our grace.
Yesterday, I sat at the park on the end of my street and called a friend. The afternoon air felt good in my lungs and the sun felt good on my skin. I realised then that all the things that we cannot control and all the things that we can speak to something bigger, something fundamental: connection. Through it all, we’ll learn connection with the environment, with others, with ourselves. We’ll learn connection through pain, separation, and distance, but we won’t do it alone.