Breaking out – What have we learned from Covid-19 and lockdown?

Are we out of jail? 

People tell me that being in lockdown has been like being in jail. Well, having worked in the prison service it has not really been like being an inmate more that some of out basic freedoms have been lessened. For about the last eighteen months we have been locked down, that is isolated, restricted and confined due to and because of the infective nature of the Covid-19 virus. This process of feeling trapped and having little control and then finding the sensation of freedom as lockdown is lifted is very much like the process we have been going through over the last ten podcasts. The Ten Steps of the Live In The Present book and course are all about letting go of negative past, establishing positive experience in the present and then creating what it is that we really truly do want in the future. 

Positive: The one thing that lockdown has given us has been the time to reflect an review where we are up to and what it is that we might like to do next. For so many people this has been a ,I’ve changing experience.

Why did this happen in the first place?

People have differing ideas as to what this virus has been about. Some people tell me that the lockdown has been a genuine effort by the authorities to limit the spread of a deadly disease and save as many lives as possible. Reducing the pressure on the NHS and other support services to ensure that those in the most serious need are attended to.

Others tell me that we have all been duped by an attempt to control ‘us’ by ‘them’. Who the ‘them’ is seems to vary depending on who I talk to. It is either a bid for global domination by forces that are sinister but hidden. A plan by the Chinese, the Russian or whoever to dominate the world.  A plot by big pharma to control us and them make even more money. A bid to take control of the planet and enslave us all. There are those that believe that the vaccines are seeded with micro chips that will lead to our brains being controlled by whoever, that varies as well. It goes on…

I have my own ideas as to how the virus started and also why we have responded in the way that we have. But, however and whatever we think about Covid-19 it is here. It is a pandemic that is mutating, it does kill people and it is very infectious. The world is full of viruses there have been the many millions that have gone before and millions that will come in the future. In my own lifetime I have seen the devastation of small pox and polio. As children we queued on the council estate to get inoculated. 

Positive: We have an amazing medical system. We have amazing scientists and unless this is all one big plot they are here to help us all at this time of crisis. 

At the moment we are looking at the freedom of leaving the jail of lockdown and moving back into a world of normal behaviour. I guess the world that we are coming out to is quite different to the one that we left behind when we went in. Businesses and jobs have gone, shops have closed and the way that we shop, interact and live will probably never be the same again. At the moment we don’t know how it will go, when it will be really safe to go on foreign holidays, cuddle people and party with friends. We have yet to learn about this new world and how we will interact with it. Some people will rush to social venues and party like crazy while some will sit back observing with fear and trepidation and may not socialise gain for years if ever.

Positive: The pandemic has made us review our relationships and the importance of community. Families have reconnected and communities come together. The incidence of people showing that they care bay raising money and sim pole acts of kindness and caring have been everywhere – amazing!

I am not sure that anything that happens in life is accidental and suspect that the universe works with intelligence. I would suggest that the things that happen in life are, to the awake mind, learning opportunities that we can benefit from. To the asleep mind they are just problems. When we encounter problems or obstacles in our path the awake mind finds solutions, learns, grows and moves on. The asleep mind seeks to find something or someone to blame, holds grudges, protests and embeds their minds in bitterness and seeks retribution.

This all leads me to ask a few questions. These questions have been the subject of much of my therapy work undertaken over these last 18 months. This has been a process of people needing face themselves and their relationships including their relationship with themselves and how they will deal with their future. Some people have, in response to the pandemic, contracted and drawn into themselves or into groups of nationalism  or even smaller groups of identities of colour, race, creed, belief and so on. This attitude only serves to create mindsets of ‘us’ and ‘them’ leading to further antagonism, unhappiness and the continued fracturing of humanity. On the other hand others have chosen to expand their attitudes and horizons and move outwards. They have found ways to support and help others, ensuring that people’s needs have been met. People have been fed and looked after.  Ultimately these people are ensuring that those who need and desire the vaccine have access to it wherever they are in the world rich or poor.

If we all look after each other we will all be okay

Q 1) What was your Jail?

The jail of lockdown never really existed it was and is in our heads. Thoughts become things. I get it that some people have had, what I call, Covid burn out but over all kit has been an easy ride for most people. We have been housed, fed, been warm and flooded with entertainment. Unlike previous generations who during pandemic and wars were totally confined with no resources and no ability to communicate or to know what is going on we have been able to keep in touch with loved ones friends and family and the world at large through our amazing technology.

Positive: Our technology is amazing. I am writing this on an iPad. I don’t know how it works and in many ways I am in awe of it and it’s abilities. On this eleven inch screen I can watch films and TV, listen to the radios, music, audio books and podcasts, I can play games, talk to friends anywhere in the world. I can work, see clients anywhere in the world. I can find new recipes and even plan what I will do when this is all over. 

I know that many people will now say. ‘Well what if we didn’t have technology or were too old to understand it and use it?’. I get that. I was so happy to see people repurposing their unused tech for families that did not have devices allowing kids to attend school online and the families to get connected. Perhaps our learning in this might be that we should ensure, where possible, that older people do have the opportunity to become tech savvy. One interesting idea that this realises is should the internet be treated as an essential service just as we do with electricity and water?

Q2) What does it mean to you to be out of jail?

What will you do now? Will you return to your work place? Will you rich to the restaurants and pubs, head for a holiday, meet with family and friends?

Just as animals come out of winter hibernation into the new days of spring we are coming out of the darkness of lockdown into the light of freedom, albeit in increments. What does this mean to you? What will you do next?

Many of us have being doing the Covid 10K. That is not the run it is the 10K that we have put on in weight by being inactive, eating/drinking too much and not moving enough. 

Positive: you do not have to recreate Groundhog Day, you have choice. Some choices you may not have realised before lockdown. Now is the time to start again and decide what you do next. If you go back to the Ten Steps Course the issues is what do you really, really, really want? That takes me to my last question…

3) What have you learned?

Learning is an ongoing process. So, even if you feel unsure of what lockdown has taught you now maybe the time to sit and review it. What has been good? What has been bad? What could you have done better?

Life is about learning. 

When we stop learning we die either actually or metaphorically. 

I have worked with many people who have used this time of lockdown to review and audit their lives. This has led to decisions to change their lives from finding a new job, selling a house, ending a relationship, starting a relationship, deciding to retrain or go back into education, taking on new interests and hobbies, exercise regimes, weight loss programmes and so on.

Positive: This is the most important part of human consciousness, we are learning machines, it is just that we don’t realise it. Through consistent and persistent behaviour we can become whoever and whatever we want to be. As you read this you are the sum total of all that you have learned since the moment of your birth. What you decide to learn now will create what you will become in the future. The only limit is your imagination.

The world is what you make it

So the world has changed and we can now choose to work together, support each other and create a better world to be in. Or, we can slip into recrimination and bitterness that has, too many times, driven the human race to wars, suffering and destruction. 

As you come out of lockdown we have choice. You can adhere to rules and limit infection or forget the rules and see how it goes. The choice is yours to make.

Whatever your choice be happy and smile and enjoy your freedom

Take care

Sean x

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