Memory of a peaceful morning stroll in Dungarvan, Ireland
I have been wanting to write for a while, but my tanning and weaving adventures take over a lot of my time. I have jotted down pages of blog entry ideas and I am eager to share with you all about a podcast interview and exhibitions I have participated in recent months. However, with the news being filled with all-things-Carona, I have decided to write an entry not related to my work and creativity. I felt led to write a little something on the importance of healing thoughts, and try in my very small capacity to spread a little encouragement to the few who will read this.
As of late, there are a lot of words being spoken on the media that is taking away the feelings of joy and peace. What was once considered a luxury, staying at home is now associated with harsh words such as "lockdown", "social distancing" and "social isolation". Fear, anxiety and panic are spreading through phone calls, texts and emails; in a way, just as contagious as the virus. I don't know about you, but each day my phone is lighting up every few seconds with messages from friends and relatives about the latest news on the virus, which supermarket has run out of potatoes, which church services are closed down and multiple how-to videos and diagrams on how we are to 'properly' wash our hands and wear a mask. Being aware and warned is great, but the spread of panic and anxiety, not so much.
I am not trying to make light of the virus that has caused x-number of deaths or of the necessary quarantine measures that are being placed in each country. It is important to listen and put into practice hygienic habits that will lower our chances of getting sick, and more importantly from spreading any form of the virus to those who are more susceptible and have a greater chance of not being able to recover. Since we are currently in the thick of it, I have noticed the decline of mental wellbeing from a few friends and relatives, which sparked a need to write something. I think it is important to remember that we can only do so much to help with stunting the spread of the virus through cooperation. Everything else is beyond our control, and we need to be okay with knowing that we cannot control the results and to take everything day by day.
I have been reading a lot. Mainly articles on immune systems and healing. From my readings, I have discovered that attitude seems to influence the course of illness. According to science journalist Jo Marchant, who wrote a book titled "Cure", she (along with a number of scientists and physicians) recognised how "our mind can play an important role in healing our body -- or in staying healthy in the first place":
"There are now several lines of research suggesting that our mental perception of the world constantly informs and guides our immune system in a way that makes us better able to respond to future threats. That was a sort of 'aha' moment for me -- where the idea of an entwined mind and body suddenly made more scientific sense than an ephemeral consciousness that's somehow separated from our physical selves." (This interview with Jo Marchant can be found here: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-science-of-healing-thoughts/)
I have no medical background, so do take in or throw out whatever information feels right to you. But when it comes to the power of positive thinking, I deeply feel and believe that maintaining joy, kindness and even generosity in the face of uncertainty is important during this pandemic. It's a simple thought, but our attitude may be a key element in our preservation of health. Instead of considering being homebound as a 'lockdown', treat it as an opportunity to slow down. Enjoy the extra time with family. Who knows? This quiet time might also ignite some amazing, wonderful creativity! This may be the time to start writing that book that you've been planning to write for years. Or fix that bike that's been sitting in the garage. Or start up a new hobby like weaving, knitting or painting. The creative possibilities are endless!
A friend on Instagram shared this tweet from Paddy Cosgrave, an Irish entrepreneur, that I found to spark encouragement: "In 1665, Cambridge University closed because of the plague. Issac Newton decided to work from home. He discovered calculus & the laws of motion. Just saying." How about that?
Life is Janus-faced. With darkness, there is always light. We just have to make a bit of an extra effort to discover the light switch, to turn on the light, and then to keep it on.