One of the sentences I've heard most often these days is:
I just want things to go back to normal!
It's understandable, of course. No-one likes to deal with a difficult situation, so we all want to go back to normal, to how things were before the coronavirus (CV, henceforth).
In the past few days, I have observed my neighbours go mental. People are fighting and shouting, everyone is beyond stressed. There is an endless line of people asking for emotional and mental support in the Reiki forums.
It is all very sad, however, I couldn't help thinking of my grandparents: my mother's parents.
They met in a concentration camp in Germany, during WWII. My grandfather Oreste was a partisan, and my grandmother Valentina was Russian. Their stories of those times are almost unbelievable to people like us. We wouldn't be able to deal with that kind of pain.
My friend Rob always says: Pain is relative. He's a smart guy.
We live in the first world, we're richer than most people in the world. We take for granted things like having a roof over our heads, food on the table, a warm bed, comfortable clothes, all kind of entertainment, running water, and so on. So, therefore, when our smartphone breaks, or someone steals our bicycle, or the internet stops working for a moment, it is a tragedy.
CV is a terrible thing, but I think it has a silver lining. It has shown us how spoiled, disconnected, and unprepared we are. It has taken away what we normally take for granted, and helped us becoming painfully aware of it.
It's difficult to find food (especially if you're vegetarian like me), and our freedom has been greatly limited by the travelling restrictions and the lockdown instructions. Many have lost a loved one, or maybe their jobs, and are now dealing with an amount of stress and fear that has gone through the roof.
Compared to all this, a broken smartphone doesn't seem the end of the world anymore, does it?
Another thing the CV has shown to us, is how selfish we have become as a society. There is no reason to stockpile anything, and yet supermarkets are almost empty, and online stores are collapsing under the weight of the current demand. People freaked out, and instead of having a reaction rooted in love, they acted out of fear. When fear is driving, there are only three people that count: me, myself and I.
Just for a moment, imagine all this pain we're experiencing right now, and multiply it by 1000.
That is the pain that is the "normal" of the poor people of this world. People who are lacking the basic things we take for granted. People with nothing. No water, no electricity, no access to a decent health system. No food, no education, no clothes, no warmth in the house. People living a war. People who risk their lives to illegally cross a sea to have a chance to survive in another country.
And of course, there are quintillions innocent animals and insects in this world. We have polluted the air, the water, the earth. And animals and insects are paying the price of our reckless livelihood. Their environment is constantly shrinking, we take it away from them to grow food for the animals we need to feed so that we can have a burger. We have put pesticides everywhere, so the bees population is now at risk (and when they're gone, we all go in a matter of years). Few fish left in the sea. Few birds left in the sky.
So no. Let's not go back to normal please. All this suffering I have described comes from us having to sustain our "normal".
Instead, let's move forward. The world needs changing, it needs a huge shift. Everything needs to change, there is no doubt about that.
But there is no way to change the world directly. We need to first work on ourselves. A better me means a better family. A better family means a better community. A better community means a better city, and so on and so forth. A better region, a better nation, and finally: a better world.
It all starts with us. We need to change. We need to turn our attention inside, and embark on a journey of discovery of who we are. We need to become aware of what it is inside of us that prevents us from being content. We need to see our voracity, our greed, our anger, fear and worry. We need them to come to the surface, so we can deal with them. It's not about judging. We all have the potential to express and experience these things. But we also have the potential for love, compassion, solidarity, kindness, common sense.
No need to remove any of that potential, it's impossible anyway, but we need to understand what type of behaviour and mindset we are nurturing. That has to change. Not the seeds, but which of them we are watering.
So who is going to change the world? You! Only you can change the world. So you better start now! Don't wait for everyone else to start! You go, right now!
Sit on your butt and practice. Find your thing: meditation, Reiki, yoga, Thai chi, prayer, it doesn't really matter what you choose. The important thing is how you use it. You need to dig very deep, and whatever comes to surface, don't judge it, acknowledge it, and decide what to do with it. Do you want to keep watering that seed in yourself or not?
Change is not easy. It takes time and can be painful, but it's the only way forward. So find your path and walk on it. And make a better world.