COVID-19 Response: 1 Week On
On 29 March 2020 I announced two initiatives in my own personal response to COVID-19.
These were grounded and came to life in the preparation for the live Community Dialogue. Now, one week on, I am taking this moment to update you on progress!
Most importantly, I want to thank everyone for taking the time to read and think with me.
Picking on our theme as set by Viktor Frankl’s “Search for Meaning” You have been the backbone of my Purposeful Work.
InnerSpace Mental Health Care Plan
The “Pay As You can Afford” initiative has been well received and is now in full swing and making its mark. What I have observed is not so much an emergence of new mental health disorder but rather an exacerbation of existing conditions and financial difficulty in meeting the cost of therapy.
While people continue to meet the demands of ‘normal’ life under the pressures engendered by COVID-19 what is presenting in a general sense, is an increase in the severity of:
Many who have previously found it possible to manage their own struggles independently are now searching for help for the first time in their lives. For those for whom therapy is a familiar part of their coping strategy, there is a need for more frequent contact.
Thank you to everyone for meeting the cost of this service to the best of your ability and to those who support them by continuing to meet the full or previously agreed fee.
Last weekend 12 of us met online to launch our first Community Dialogue!
The conversation was lively and varied as we joined to think together on the strangeness challenge and opportunity COVID-19 has set in front of us. I think that both similarity and difference found a voice in our virtual room. There was depth and concern in our gathering but also laughter, hope and determination as we realised that there is unity in both the difficulties we face and the ways in which we are each responding them.
Interestingly, fear of the virus itself did not come up as a significant feature for anyone.
We noted confidence in the measures implemented by our governing bodies. More so, concern emerged for the many collateral effects of isolation and social distancing:
Family Life and Personal Relationships
Employment, business, financial security and risk
National and Global economic downturn
Mental Health Impacts
In the conversation that opened up, we explored the qualities holding each of us up and found strength in responsible action, positivity, ingenuity, resilience and determination.
There were deep moments also when concern for others took front and centre stage. Here we reflected on our capacity to care. I think there was agreement between us COVID-19 has brought about a unique set of circumstances in which we are rediscovering inner resources and capacities. Sometimes the frenetic pace of life causes us to put finer matters of the Soul on the backburner. Now we are again thinking about Compassion, Kindness and Nurture. That can only lead to good outcome. Perhaps this is the message we are all meant to “get” from COVID-19.
We closed the meeting on a high note with plenty of laughter and good will. A great success!
A week on, I am heartened to tell you all, that feedback has been almost unanimously positive and constructive. I am confident, as we move towards our next meeting, that we can look forward to another productive and enriching gathering of hearts and minds.
We will pick up on and follow our progress in both the troubling and inspiring aspects we opened up last week. Our meeting room will open again:
When - Saturday 25 April 2020
Time - 4:00pm - 5:30pm
Mediated by - Sheila Wood
As I prepare to greet you, I would like to offer you this following writing to ponder on. A beautiful poem, written by a Maori psychoanalyst for these times; that it may guide our thoughts for our next gathering.
Nadine Anne Hura
Rest now, e Papatūānuku Breathe easy and settle Right here where you are We’ll not move upon you For awhile We’ll stop, we’ll cease We’ll slow down and stay home Draw each other close and be kind Kinder than we’ve ever been. I wish we could say we were doing it for you as much as ourselves But hei aha We’re doing it anyway It’s right. It’s time. Time to return Time to remember Time to listen and forgive Time to withhold judgment Time to cry Time to think About others Remove our shoes Press hands to soil Sift grains between fingers 🍃 Gentle palms Time to plant Time to wait Time to notice
To whom we belong For now it’s just you And the wind And the forests and the oceans and the sky full of rain Finally, it’s raining! Ka turuturu te wai kamo o Rangi ki runga i a koe Embrace it This sacrifice of solitude we have carved out for you He iti noaiho - a small offering People always said it wasn’t possible To ground flights and stay home and stop our habits of consumption But it was It always was. We But it was It always was. We were just afraid of how much it was going to hurt - and it IS hurting and it will hurt and continue to hurt But not as much as you have been hurt. So be still now Wrap your hills around our absence Loosen the concrete belt cinched tight at your waist Rest.
And we will do the same.