2020 – The Year of Revelations
By Natasha Oklobdzija
Personal, interpersonal, micro and macro Individual and collective shadows rising
No longer suppressed or denied
The fires are burning
All of the secrets, shame and inequalities we seek to hide
Burning away all that does not serve us.
It’s lighting up the buried treasures; faith, creation and innovation
Never before has the sense of self, the identity been as fragile as it is today
Nations questioning who they are and the legacies they are built upon
Foundations of self disintegrating as ignorance and false ideals give way to painful truths and revelations
Impossible to turn away, this is the gift of the Global Pandemic
The disconnected self is no longer so easy or possible to maintain
The nature of humanity is on display
A call to arms, to rise in love
To live in service to each other and all of life
The heart is waking up, the illusions of separation are no more
Humanity will rise, and remember their place
We are of the earth and to her we will return.
Reflective explorations: 1 –The devolution of human kind?
What does it mean to be human in 2020? Or at all? There are as many different perceptions as there are humans to perceive the question. And so many facets and continuums of feeling, behaviours and understandings. Our life experiences may offer an opportunity to deepen our understanding and our perspectives as we grow and evolve. So too, there remain many aspects of the human condition or shadows of the human condition as well. Often pushed aside, denied and repressed, they simmer under the surface. Easy to miss, or dismiss amongst the busyness and distraction that fill our day to day lives. Identities externally created and valued, we are so consumed with consuming, working and all that being a productive member of society entails (and contributes to our sense of identity), we forget, we ignore and we disconnect from our inner wisdom, our inner guide and our inner knowing. Our internal worlds are often neglected in favour of external achievements, successes, goals, favourite TV shows and our other distractions, I mean activities. Illusions built upon illusions that create our individual and insulated worlds. Along comes 2020, and without warning, the coronavirus destabilises the fragile and illusory foundations society is built on. No area of our lives and society is untouched. Life is challenged and changed in unimaginable ways. Otherwise previously neglected traits now rise to the surface, as to thrive one must be adaptable, resilient and creative, our characters are suddenly on full display. Restricted freedoms drive more and more people online to communicate and fill their time. The coping strategies that are typically tucked away, kept personal, known only to us if known at all, are becoming increasingly visible. Some of us are expanding, opening up to a new way of living and being, a new understanding. Embracing the uncertainty that arises when the illusion of control and knowing falls away. There’s an immense freedom to be found in the space of the unknown, in the nuanced and deeply personal connection with an immediate presence and peace, that is born of ultimate acceptance (not agreeing or liking, simply choosing active acceptance) and for some, faith. Faith is often synonymous with religion yet it is so much more. Faith in oneself, humanity, the earth, the universe or some type of higher power. And within the continuum of life, there are also those who are contracting, breaking and unable to fathom the current situation. There are those who are drowning in fear. Fear that on the surface has arisen from the uncertainty, yet it’s always existed, dormant and under the surface. Uncertainties and fears we have previously buried underneath our 9-5 jobs, our daily routines and our attempts to control the uncontrollable. The language and the very nature of many flows of communication online appears to be steeped in rigid opinions born of narrow mindedness and ultimately uncertainty. Humanity has long struggled with paradox, nuance and complexity. Reductionist ideas are increasingly the norm, as social media gives us sound bites, threads and posts specifically designed to reinforce our existing opinions. The consequence; everyone feels well informed with their ideologies reinforced and Google at their fingertips. From my place at the end of the world, I observe the changes in Victoria, the emotional roller coasters being experienced and I feel waves of grief wash over me, while compassionately feeling for everyone. I see the online conversations and I see the lack of tolerance, the lack of empathy, and the lack of cooperation in the perspectives being shared, and I grieve for the state we are in. That we may be so caught up in our own way of thinking and the echo chambers we create on social media and the internet, that we forget our interconnected and shared nature as a part of humanity. No space or time to even consider another perspective. The physical comforts of our first world life are increasingly resulting in an inability to sit with discomfort, to feel and just be uncomfortable. Physically, mentally and emotionally. Cold? Turn the heater up, don’t like that person’s opinion(s)? Unfollow them. That person upset you? Block them. Perhaps that’s happening for you now, as you read my thoughts. Pause and take a moment to check in with yourself. What are your physical responses to this? What emotional or mental reactions are you having right now? And why? Reflecting and understanding our own perspectives and what’s behind our ideas, opinions and values is so incredibly imperative, to live and move in the world in a way that’s truly aligned with who we are, and not simply a result of our social and cultural conditioning. There is such power and evolution in listening and considering another perspective, not agreeing, just listening. Listening to understand and listening to try and learn from another way of viewing the world. Putting someone else’s glasses on, to see how they view the world. To see an argument or discussion and approach it from a place of detached curiosity. To temporarily put our own opinions to bed, to see the other dimensions and possibly even recognise there is some value in another’s position (again without necessarily even having to agree)! We can transcend agreement or disagreement for the sake of learning, understanding and appreciating. Knowingly and unknowingly we adopt and absorb the social and cultural conditioning of our time. How often do you question the origin of the thoughts you think, and the opinions you have? Are they yours? Or what you’ve been led or encouraged to believe? The inherent beauty of paradox, is that we can both agree and disagree with aspects of a situation, idea or belief. We can feel and hold multiple perspectives on an idea, opinion or experience. I invite you to practice this. Let me give you an example, from Chile, where I’ve unexpectedly spent the majority of 2020… (a 3 month visit turned into an indefinite stay as our world altered in previously unimaginable ways thanks to COVID-19!) I see the protests here in Chile for the proposed new salmon farm. I agree 100% with the protesters position and fully support their resistance to another salmon farm in this sensitive region, especially as it is going to be the largest salmon farm in the country. I do not agree with their way of protesting, without masks, and standing close together while we are in the middle of the pandemic. Accepting and acknowledging paradox, I am disappointed and upset that this salmon farm is being built and destroying the fjords, while admiring the commitment of those protesting, while also disagreeing with their manner of protesting. As I share these thoughts, it seems that perhaps ultimately what I am pondering is maturity. I hope that humanity reaches a new level of maturity through these challenging experiences. I hope we birth new ways of being and living, able to see the multifaceted nurture of all things, choices, actions and beliefs. I hope we get comfortable with being uncomfortable, with being accountable and holding others to account. I hope we get committed, passionate and care enough to bring about lasting change. Let’s invest our energy in moving towards the world we want, instead of focusing all of our attention on what we don’t. And in feeling into these ideas, relationships inevitably arise, as we are relational beings…but that’s a reflection for another time.