WARNING: This blog is written to bring light and and positivity, but the subject matter begins quite tough.
A few weeks ago, Corey, the 16 year old son of some friends, took his own life: a shocking, sad and unforeseen event. His family are certain that if it weren’t for coronavirus and the associated challenges of this year, it would never have happened. I am sure there are many other not dissimilar stories that send shockwaves of sadness through families and communities.
We live in uncertain times, an era that for many brings unprecedented suffering and adversity. Many are being pushed out of comfort zones, confronted with challenges, forced to change habits and to look within; to ask questions about survival and resilience, about values and priorities. We are wading in a sea of uncertainty. Many face fear, anxiety, depression and other difficult emotions as a result.
These difficult emotions are rarely experienced on such a large scale as induced by this pandemic. However, when difficult events occur at a global level like now, there is a bizarre duality within it: certain aspects that we really struggle with like fear and uncertainty and lack of human physical connection, but also a sense of relief in the slower pace and reduced pressure to always be doing and moving. I am a firm believer that in the ‘darker’ side of the duality, in that difficult stuff of life, lies an opportunity. If we can face the bleakness with a brave courage, and share our vulnerability, then it strengthens our connections: both with our own emotions and with others. I experienced first-hand through my own spinal cord injury and paralysis, how friends, strangers and communities rally to bring light, strength and support. The great gift in the challenges of life is that human spirit shines through. Even in trauma, there is light, and the story of my friends and their son Corey is another great example of this https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2020/nov/12/it-could-be-any-child-amid-their-grief-a-family-reach-out Corey is devastatingly gone, but how many more lives is the family and community’s traumatic loss going to save? Good emerges from bad.
It is now more than ever we must dig deep within, and work to focus our attention on the emotions that can lift us, and on how we can lift those around us. We are connected as humans like waves on an ocean. Our thoughts, feelings and actions ripple out, affecting somebody, somewhere. As practices of mindfulness teach us, we can notice and observe these feelings but we do not have to embody them. We can strip back the apparent complexity to the simplicity of being alive, being grateful, and being kind.
In my coaching work the theme that constantly arises is how unkind we can be to ourselves. We tell ourselves things and put ourselves through suffering that we would never wish on anyone. So if you do one thing differently as a result of reading this, start by being kinder to yourself, and know that will spread like a wave into the world around you.
I’d like to share my word for the year with you too. ICE. ICE is a great remedy for physical injuries, and this version of ICE is a tonic for our emotional strains.
Remember to remember the ICE in you.
INNER GOLD – you are strong, special and capable, with unique gifts and abilities
CONNECTION – being you can affect & inspire those around you
ENVIRONMENT – respect and enjoy nature to make the world a better place
ICE emerged as the core values of our team as we plan to create the POLE OF POSSIBILITY at 79 degrees latitude and longitude in Antarctica. 79 being the atomic number of gold and a number that’s become special to me through winning the 79th medal and gold in the Rio Paralympics and the Quest 79 project. More at https://pop.karendarke.com