Can We Find a Silver Lining in the COVID-19 Lockdown?
The infamous 2020 has taught us that 2021 will bring something - anything - better than the year we’ve lived through.
By Kay Sexton, Contributor
That’s a controversial statement as we shrug 2020 off our shoulders…
In amongst the personal limitations, upsets, doom-scrolling and separation from loved ones, many of us are starting to see that we’ve been freer, more open and grown more this year.
Lockdown = loss of liberty … or liberation?
When the Collins Dictionary picked ‘lockdown’ as the word of the year for 2020, they tapped into something we’ve all experienced. Lockdown is defined as “the imposition of stringent restrictions on travel, social interaction and access to public spaces.”
Image credit: Karsten Winegeart
As a travel company, we really recognise that definition as a limiter! And yet meditation, staycations, long walks, open-water swimming – all these have become a feature of daily life for millions in lockdown. And they’ve also led to something else – a liberation from the constraints of the daily grind. No commute meant more time for contemplation. Quarantine gave us a chance to explore our local surroundings, maybe just even our own garden or local park. Inner space was at a premium and we discovered we had more expansive and more exciting trips to take. Those of our consciousness.
We surrendered our coffee shops and restaurants, our cinemas and weekends away. In giving up those precious experiences we found others: self-reflection, mindfulness and inner awareness. We found flow in slow walks, we concentrated on small moments and found them rewarding, we discovered that we could be a part of something much bigger when we turned inwards, than we’d ever imagined. It had been in front of us all along – we’d just been too busy to notice.
“Our consciousness is almost completely preoccupied with memories of the past and expectations from the future.”Alan WattsBritish-American Philosopher & Writer
British philosopher and writer Alan Watts encapsulated it for us when he said, “We have no present. Our consciousness is almost completely preoccupied with memories of the past and expectations from the future. We do not realise that there never was, is, nor will be any other experience than present experience. We are therefore out of touch with reality.”
Reality came and found us in 2020, and we didn’t like a lot of it, but alongside our stress, angst and fear, we found that we could obtain inner peace regardless of the news. And we found that conscious decisions brought more than peace – they allowed us to join together even when separated, that deep thinking linked us to great ideas and great movements and that being present helped us understand how we wanted the world to look for ourselves and others.
2021 – the year of conscious interactions
We have an unmatched opportunity to celebrate and develop ourselves in the unexpected future that 2020 has delivered to us. We’re able to use our new consciousness – through technological innovation – to share our individual experiences, to create bigger and more mindful actions and to gather together to build a new language around mindful, individual, conscious living and its positive impact for the planet as a whole.
2020 is nearly over, its lessons, however bitter, have been understood. Now we can distill that potent learning into a future that contains the desire to develop ourselves, the ability to help others to grow and the realisation, hard-earned but well learned, that every journey doesn’t just begin with a single step, it starts with the thought that it’s time to get moving.