It seems to me that the Coronavirus pandemic entered our collective lives like a wave. Time has been speeding up as the wave has taken it’s form. We all knew that our lifestyles were unsustainable and the planet was taking strain under it. Many of us had been expecting some kind of a wave for decades. Yet the wave took a yet powerful gentle emerging form, it was a quiet emerging ghost of a wave, invisible to the naked eye.
I guess tidal waves are not always dramatic, they just come in like all waves do, the only difference is that they keep coming for much longer and they just suck everything in with them as the power of the ocean overflows it’s bounds. I was most relieved to find that this has been a metaphorical wave. Living by the sea on a wetland, I have been fearing a real one for the 14 years we have lived here.
I did the same in 1994 when South Africa had it’s first free and fair election. That time, people were braced for war, those who had the budget were stockpiling fearfully, hoarding like squirrels preparing for winter. (Echoes of the recent event,) I received many warnings as I set off for Cape Town from the Karoo via the Garden Route. I stopped over in the marshlands where I met prophets, gypsies and dreamers. They warned me emphatically that a massive wave was going to wash up against the slopes of Table Mountain in the next few weeks. They told me that I should not go to Cape Town or I may not survive. I believed them, but I went anyway. I prepared myself to face it full on
The night before the election I sat alone on Campsbay beach all night watching the sea and waiting for the wave, just in case. I wanted to be the first to see it. It was a peaceful night. No wave came, the moon just reflected on the water as she always has. In the morning, sleep deprived, I went and stood in those amazingly long cues of excited people of all walks of life as the real people of South Africa came to vote for their new president. It was like a dream. Everything felt new. In the cues, there was a sense of community. A sense of being part of something special together, of being witness to history being made. Everyone was celebrating, even the street people pushing their shopping trollies of cardboard and plastic to sell for a few pennies at the dump. There was a windfall of political placards to collect. Mandela was chosen. After that, people seemed to walk taller. Specially African people. I noticed a change in body language. There was a shift of consciousness. It was a positive wave, even if the high didn’t last forever.
This wave of Coronavirus and lockdown came sweeping through like a strange silent mist has brought up many issues to be cleared and shown up. The poorest of the poor have always been the most vulnerable to the changes when they come. The ones living on the edge are usually the ones who fall off when things are shaken. This time there has been much covert manipulation beneath the covers, it seems. Opportunities have been created. No one knows quite what is going on in the misty masked malaise of lockdown days. Much has been hidden and much has been revealed. Truth and dare creating much fear and withdrawal. Many theories have been formed in the rumination behind closed doors.
The “#Black Lives Matter” conversation came up to be discussed during the lockdown by the world at large on their collective screens. It was triggered by an American incident of racist police brutality illustrated by a disturbing video, (which went viral, so to speak.) A picture and a video shown at the right moment to an audience can change history and policy. We saw it with the Syrian refugees, when a photograph of a child’s body on the beach created a shift in consciousness and turned things around. When people see pictures of people instead of facts and figures emotion changes behaviour and influences policy. It was not long before boarders of Europe opened up and they allowed the fleeing refugees in from their leaking dingy boats into Europe by the million. It was a necessary humanitarian act, even if some sacrifices had to be made. (Fun fact: Cape Town has had a constant flow of the same amount of refugees that entered Europe on a sustained basis for an extended amount of time – years- all fleeing from war and famine in the rest of Africa-figures unavailable at time of writing.)
There are millions of violent incidence like George Floyd’s, occurring all around the world all the time. But this moving picture was worth a thousand words. (The victim said he “couldn’t breathe,” while a cop sat on this throat) and set the locked down world up in arms on social media and in the streets. It was another wave: a positive wave of awakening forcing an awareness and a facing of shadows taking responsibility for a certain broken mentality. Ironic, how the fear of suffocation being so heightened at the time of the Coronavirus may have caused such a reaction of empathy towards him. It amazes me what it takes to shift perspective. How long have these songs been sung? Since the days when black people were treated like chattle who could be bought and sold, as if they were not human, and could be owned like live-stock? What were they thinking? This is unfathomable, yet the fact that this conversation has to be had, means that deeply rooted belief still needs to be shaken out. It is not just about police killing a black person… it’s not just about race. It’s about bullying and hurting someone because you believe you have the authority to do so. It is not okay to abuse anyone for any reason ever. It’s not okay to abuse a woman or a black man or a white farmer or an old person or a young person. There is no excuse for ever hurting another being. The world needs kindness. This is the time for shaking out old beliefs that have never been true. It’s a good thing. We have to free and heal the collective trauma, by acknowledging the shadow stuff and apologize for the arrogance of our ancestors.
(I am sorry, please forgive me, I love you, thank you. That’s Hoponopono prayer. (Peace Please is a blog I wrote about this healing mantra from Hawaai.)
Recently, I met a man who tried to chat me up about my sexy mask outside a bootlegging coffee/beer shop. (Beer/coffee- alcohol has been banned for most of the lockdown in SA.) In his inebriated state, he admitted something mind-blowing to me. He was of that generation of white South African men, who were conscripted automatically into the army after school in the 80’s and just went along with it. They are a generation who have been mentally traumatized by the things they were made to do in the army, and have never processed it for various reasons, (too tough, etc) and as a result, many have become addicts and alcoholics and are living with PTSD.
Never one for small talk, I asked him how he had handled the curfews and rules of lockdown. He told me he had been arrested for jogging on the beach, thrown in the back of the police van and treated with complete racist disdain by the Indian head -cop. He was fined and given a criminal record as a penalty for breaking the rules. The criminal record threatens his business as a medical supplier. He said that for the first time as a result of that experience, he completely empathized with the #blacklivesmatter movement. He now fully understood what it must have felt for all those black people who were constantly harassed for the colour of their skin during the apartheid era. Well I am sorry for his traumatic experience, and how unreasonable the cops used the petty rules to abuse their power unreasonably, but the conclusion he came to is a spiritual breakthrough. I salute him for articulating it to me, even if his tongue was oiled by the beer. To me, this shows how this Coronavirus lockdown wave is causing all kinds of situations which cause the scales to fall from ones eyes. It’s helping to show up so many things in so many unexpected ways The veils of illusion and the old stories and old beliefs we have clung to for too long, are tumbling away. When old beliefs are dropped, room is made for new behavior.
Stories of what we want and need have changed. Stories of who and what matters, stories of why we do things and don’t do things. When something touches the soul at a survival level, we wake up to our feelings. Suddenly there is heart, there is understanding, there is care for one’s fellow human being. We are all going through this together.
There is always the opportunity to listen to ones heart instead of ones head. There is always the choice between fear and love. I was lucky to be able to escape into nature in a sacred place for two months. Nature has had a chance to rest and the air has cleared. Everything looks cleaner. There is spiritual help surrounding us from the many who have come to help from the heavens.
Lockdown laws globally have forced us to go within. We can choose to go within and ruminate fearfully on all the “What if’s”, or create a new reality which is heart lead. Heart-led love based reality takes us to connection with community and supporting those less fortunate and therefore benefitting from the opportunity to share ideas and save lives. Perhaps the story of integration, of co-creation and of interdependency.
Head-led fear-based reality takes us into deeper isolation and disconnection and fear of an outside enemy which is on the loose and ready to pounce. This Caronavirus Lockdown has exaggerated everything. Casting huge contrasting shadows: especially the fear story of separation that makes us go into trauma and anxiety and panic. There is so much to trigger fear at this time. However, when we remember that we are part of nature and not separate from it. We can breathe again.
We are all made from the same flesh and blood. The virus does not mind which creed or colour you are, nor what sexual or religious orientation. We are all in the same boat, (although some have a more comfortable position than others.) We are all being forced to remember our priorities.
Time for some spring cleaning now. Deep spring cleaning as we emerge from the dark winter of the soul. No longer can the skeletons remain hidden in the family closets, they are tumbling out to be revealed, along with the dust under the mat and all the other hidden things, we thought we could avoid looking at. We have to keep working on those things. One step at a time, no matter how uncomfortable they are, and how unromantic.
There has been a lot of stress. The is a lot at stake and we are all dealing with our own fears, which can cause critical voices to be triggered. The wicked voices in our minds, criticizing and judging and sowing seeds of doubt and self-loathing. These are to be stopped in their path. It’s an old story, an old belief that holds you back and creates pain for your children. Especially if you don’t break the pattern…those are the voices of our parents telling us off in our own childhood. One has to realize that if you don’t transform them into self love, you pass them on. “Chew on the bark of the Pepper Tree and spit and say “Ridiculous” to those wicked voices that sit in your gut and cause anxiety and ulcers in your system.” Peter VonMaltitz – a wise Sangoma of the White Path told me. “In this world, there are two kind of people: people who bow to outside control, and people who find power within by following the source of their spirit guidance.”
Everything is being shown up to the extreme in the starkness of the new normal. What interesting times we are living in. It has been a long wet winter, but it’s nearly over. The darkest hour often comes before the dawn and when dawn comes it’s even more beautiful than ever. This is promising to be the most beautiful spring in years. The rain has brought new growth. There are blossoms everywhere. Whole valleys and fields of them. Mother nature feels a bit better.
You can run, but you can’t hide!