COVID -19

The Crisis!

A worldwide phenomenon towards introspection.

We cannot stop this virus because science does not have the weapons to fight it. It is novel – we are in completely uncharted waters.

The uncertainty of the unknown, the absolute helplessness, combined with the health risks and the added risk to life create the conditions for the perfect storm. We feel it swelling up inside of each one of us and around us.  Building momentum and gathering speed especially via well-meaning social media. Thankfully it is not as deadly a virus as we have seen in the past, but it is more contagious than we are accustomed to. If science cannot help us and if this is bigger and faster than we are, what do we do? What can we hold on to? What have we left to manage ourselves and our loved ones? 

According to all the “scientific” advice we are left with our own immediate spaces, our very own thoughts and beliefs. Cliché after cliché pops into my mind.

As above so below

Every little bit count

The mountain is conquered one step at the time

How to eat an elephant…

I have no power over others

One Day at a time

… And so on.

All of these are true yet when faced with this truly global threat like COVID-19 it seems all too simplistic. There is a possible permanent change ahead. We have no way of knowing if our norms will stay the same. And all we have left is to sit with ourselves in self-isolation, forced quarantine or in simple contemplation about these times we live in.

The changes we can make seem minute yet every institution in the world is asking us to do these very simple and basic, seemingly unimportant things.

Wash our hands!

Be conscious of what we touch and who we have been in contact with.

Be kind to others and think for the greater good.

Governments, The World Health Organisation, science, medicine, the pharma industry EVERYONE who we have put our trust in for so long is telling us the same thing.  “Manage this crisis on a MICRO- LEVEL.”

“What I do today in my home in my environment WILL make a difference.” That is what they are saying. They are in fact telling us to go back to basics and focus on the space we occupy right now.

So, what about my environment my thoughts and my beliefs?  We have been running in circles cutting our time short because we are obsessing about social media posts, work, finances and what the people on the other side of the planet feel is good, pretty and appropriate. 

This global crisis is indeed an opportunity. An opportunity to self-isolate on a completely new level. A chance to do some introspection about life here and now.  I challenge everyone to take this opportunity and for us to look at our own values, beliefs and environment. We no longer can travel and run away from our own environment. We can no longer flood our senses with distractions because everything is closed.  We are forced to use our waking hours to be truly present in the now.  This crisis is an opportunity to engage in a global prayer session. Turning our thoughts towards ourselves and that which we believe in.  Ultimately this is all that we ever had, we just thought that there was more, but when it comes down to the essence of a life worth living this is what we have.

The only way that we now can be pulled away from ourselves is by sending, reading, posting creating social media posts that promote anxiety and hysteria. No doubt, many of these posts are well-meaning. I too am guilty of exactly this overloading of information.

Know that fear-based posts are like COVID-19 infected door handles. A festering point of ill health. Make sure you clean your devices regularly, be aware of what you read and hear. Encourage the spread of positive interactions. Protect your thoughts and your beliefs from the infestation of the very contagious negativity. Consider the greater good and stop the spread of fear.

Crisis, a chance to change!

I have no doubt that this too shall pass, and we will find new norms. We will look back and remember a time before COVID-19 like we remember the world before 911. There will be many changes, we will get used to them and learn to live life with those changes. Eventually, we will go on and happily do life.

I ask you – what would YOU like to take from this crisis. What change would you like to make in your environment, in your beliefs and in your thoughts that can honour this crisis – this profound, novel and global crisis of biblical proportions?  

What can You do differently to change this world?

What is Your belief?

Do your thoughts haunt you or do they encourage you?

Behaviour is an expression of our deepest thoughts and beliefs. Behaviour changes when we allow our brain to consider new ways to be. The brain can only consider new ways of being if we change our minds about what we truly deeply believe.

More clichés bubble up:

Be the change you want to see| Are you part of the solution or part of the problem| Lead from the front| practice what you preach| Be the change…and so on

Stay safe, Stay healthy Stay positive as you turn inwardly to change the world one step at a time.

SOCIAL MEDIA: GOOD, BAD OR UGLY?

Young and old talking about Social Media

The consensus seems to be that Social Media might be a wonderful tool however there is this underlying fear of what seemes to be vast unknown dangers. Participants between the ages of 16 and sixty joined us in our last, “Let’s Get Talking”, discussion. Despite the age range it became obvious that everyone had struggles with healthy integration of social media.

Questions like …
“What are the benefits of putting our life story online?”
“How to manage teenage users?”
“Social Media wastes a lot of time and at the same time can be a source of great support”

… came from the participants and were discussed in detail.

The varied Social Media platforms can be likened to the estination that The trick is to learn about the “destinations” but also to learn how to “drive” … technology. A car is very useful, and it can be a helpful tool, however if we do not learn how to use a car properly we become a danger to ourselves and others. Similarly, if we are not sure where we want to go in our car we might end up in places that are not good for us. Technology and Social Media is no different.the vehicles of technology can take us to. There are countless different platforms, all have a slightly different mandate and target market.

Legalities

During our discussion we addressed some legal aspects of publishing in the public setting. Enforcement of laws are still a struggle for authorities however the laws themselves are very clear. Any public sharing and creating of content IS in fact publishing and falls under the film and publications act. There is much talk about holding the social media platform owners responsible for allowing offensive or illegal content. However, for now, it is the individual that is sending and holding such content that is also liable for it. In short saving, owning, creating, sending and sharing of illegal content is prohibited by law. And if you are found to have content like that or content that might be considerd offensive on your devices you can be held liable.

Feeling Connected

We spend most of our time together discussing ways to help families navigate and manage the time spent on devicesand on social media. First and foremost, we discussed the importance of connecting with each other in a “three dimensional”, “real-life” way and to use the two-dimensional social media as a supplement rather than a primary form of connection. If you or your members of your family start feeling isolated, try and implement a self-check and see how often you have connected in real life as opposed chatting with family and friends through social media. You might find that you are feeling isolated because you are missing real-life three-dimensional interaction with others.

Knowledge vs Wisdom

Some of the older participants disclosed their struggle with navigating through social media and found that “kids these days” have much more knowledge about technology, this often leads to adults “backing off”. We, adults, often forget that the youth might have the knowledge, however they lack life experience and wisdom on how to use things effectively. When we connect in real life with our kids over the topic of technology, we gain from their knowledge of technology and social media, while at the same time they receive guidance from us thorough our wisdom and life experience around how to integrate life.

Managing Social Media

One common denominator is “time management”. Both young and old feel that social media takes away too much time, in fact that it “steals time”. Referring to the metaphor of the car, we need to understand that WE are in control of the car, where we want to go and how much time we want to spend there – The same thing goes for technology and social media. “Remember that we are in control”, this is part of the wisdom mature adults can impart on the youth. Parents have the right and the obligation to set firm boundaries with regards to time spent on devices, which sites to frequent and content that is being spread. We discussed implementing things like having a device-free zones or times in the family home. Applying those boundaries to the whole family helps with real-life interactions. We also discussed substituting smartphones with simple call & sms only phones when kids are unable to monitor their own online behaviour adequately or when they find themselves in places without firm boundaries. This can help them with peer pressure too. Just to mention a few practical examples.

In the lovely setting of Sandi’s Bistro, we were served scrumptious tomato soup as we embarked on unpacking the web that surrounds Social Media.
Thank you to all who engaged and openly chatted about the “real-life” struggles that the ever-growing phenomenon of online living brings our way.

We hope to see you next month – 25th September 2018 – when we Get talking about “Tackling Tough Times”. Looking for ways to explaind difficult things like seperation, grief, Divoce and death to your kids and family members.