Over the last few months, the entire world has been grappling with a serious pandemic that has brought entire systems to a screeching halt. During this stressful time, we may not even realize the many things that we have had to give up and the effect that it has had on us. We may be dealing with personal loss of a family member or friend, with the loss of our incomes and financial security or with the loss of our personal spaces and freedoms. Whatever it may be, we must acknowledge our losses and give ourselves the time to grieve.
We are all experiencing the effects of social isolation on our mental states, our economies and our relationships with one another. This is no easy thing. Through this article, Kalden hopes to give you a different perspective to look at and acknowledge the collective grief that we are all facing together.
Letting Go Of The Old And Focusing On The New
Man has always been a social animal and we have depended on each other for survival. Now that we have had to isolate ourselves from each other it has become more and more evident just how much we rely and depend on each other for our everyday lives. But we must face the harsh truth that our systems have been changed forever as a result of this pandemic. We must uproot our old ways so that we can nurture and grow a more thoughtful and caring system for all.
Understanding Our Grief
For those of you who are not familiar with the various stages of grief, Kalden has elaborated below the different stages that we go through when processing a loss. Each of us grieves in our own ways and take our own time to go through the process. If we become aware of it, we can help and support each other as we go through this experience collectively.
The Seven Stages of Loss:
- Denial: Here we do not wish to acknowledge the loss that has happened. Denial is often accompanied by fear, shock, and confusion. As a collective, we have experienced the shock, confusion, and fear that came with the outbreak.
- Anger: The second stage of loss is usually accompanied by increased levels of anxiety, frustration, and irritability. Once the fear and confusion have passed we may begin to feel angry about the state of things. As a whole, we have expressed our anger with unfair systems, the lack of medical equipment and the ways in which the less privileged are being treated.
- Depression: Once the initial shock and anger have passed, those of us who have been in our homes for three and four weeks, may feel a real dip in our emotions. As a collective, we are all experiencing a deep sense of helplessness that can be quite overwhelming to deal with.
- Dealing: The fourth stage is one where we try to deal with the grief. One way to do so is to reach out to each other and to give and receive support. Now more than ever we can truly empathize with each other. This can really help us feel supported and give us strength.
- Acceptance: Embarrassing as it is, we must admit that we have to treat each other and the world without consideration. We must accept that the old systems are the same ones that have put us in this position. If we want to create a better world, we must accept that the old systems are broken and that we cannot and should not go back to them!
- Letting go: If we have honest conversations with our inner selves we will be able to identify and act in ways that are not just self-serving but serve the larger purpose of humanity. When we start this inner dialogue we will be able to let go of our old ways and patterns and think and act in kinder ways.
- Mindfulness: In this final stage, we begin to practice mindfulness and acting with intent. If we question our intentions and motivations we will be to see how much we are contributing to both ourselves and society. Practicing mindfulness will help maintain clarity of thought so that we do not get distracted by the chaos of everyday life.
As we all go through these whirlwinds of emotions let us try and remember the bigger picture. We must make drastic changes in our systems and these changes can only be brought about if each of us makes smaller changes within ourselves. We can start in small ways, such as donating 5 to 10% of your income to a cause, being mindful of the people we elect into power, and remembering not to trade our long term sustainability for short term comforts.
Some of us may think that we can go back to life as “normal” once this is over but if we do so we will only find ourselves back here again. We have to change our ways, keep our homes and surroundings clean and hold corporations and governments responsible for the actions that they take. Wars, nationalism, religion, discrimination, greed, and hate will not serve the purpose for the new normal that is coming towards us. Let us lay the foundations of a New World, one filled with empathy, care, thought and intent, with the help and support of each other