When you read this, South Africa will be at the start of its lockdown, following our European and Asian friends who have been in lockdown for some time. We have been called to fight a war against an invisible and silent enemy, by staying home. And, even if we do not want to admit it, most of us are probably terrified. It’s that feeling of constant disease in your stomach, a general unsettledness, a restlessness, an inability to concentrate – all of those things.
It is also quite natural, a primal response to an unknown threat. Our fight-or-flight response has been triggered. Our bodies are in a state of high alert. And for some, the financial disaster already at your doorstep is fuelling the fear. It leaves us tired and on edge.
We have a very new reality with many new demands. The world may ask of you to continue working from home, at breakneck speed, despite your children demanding attention. You may be called to re-invent yourself or your business. And while you have all this time at home, why don’t you spend it doing things you never get to do, like DIY? Or improving the social media ratings for your business? If not required by a boss, you may be putting such pressures on yourself. And this is just your reality. There are others who are alone, without family or home and who feel unsafe. You know this too, yet your determined gratefulness does not always make you feel better.
So really, how are you feeling right now?
What is your being calling for?
For thousands of years, there has been a natural rhythm of rest. Seasons forced humans to sew and reap in the summer and then rest in the winter. In some cultures, there were whole years of rest. Our modern society has completely ignored these rhythms and rituals. We believed that we were invincible. Until now.
Is this virus not calling us to respond differently?
It is time to rest. It is a time to hibernate and heal. It is not a time for high performance.
When we come out the other side of lockdown and when we are victorious over this virus, we will be called to action. We will be called to high performance then. We will need to be at our best.
Now is a time to rest.
27 March 2020