Whatever you give attention grows
Day two of the total lockdown here in The Valley of Happiness is a fact.
This morning it looked like it would be raining all day. We prepared, lit the wood stove and candles. Music in the background and at work.
Around 10 am I drove to the village to do some shopping. In the store, people waited very disciplined for their turn. Stayed a meter apart. Everyone was extremely friendly. We are in this together, so why not!
Yesterday we saw the horror images of empty streets, closed cities and roaring sirens via television, which we normally hardly watch. Fighting people in supermarkets. Texts like "horror virus", "corona hospital" and "corona paralyzes the world" were flying around fast. Like a jack-in-the-box, there is a virus that causes a crisis and we are all forced into a fearful mindset. Because yes, there is fear. Yes, there is isolation, there is illness, and there is even death. Bankruptcies and layoffs are imminent. Horrible if it concerns you or your family or friends.
Mass anxiety is a bad advisor and can lead to mass hysteria and panic football.
The other side of the coin is that in Wuhan, after years of air pollution and noise, the birds sing their songs again. The air after a few weeks of rest is cleaner than in years. A friend from Belgium sends me a video of her granddaughter. The toddlers in her class sing from outside to the elderly who are forced to sit inside. In front of their bellies they hold drawings with big red hearts: "We love you" is on it.
Churches, synagogues, mosques and temples let you know that they are open to all people. That they provide shelter for the homeless, sick and people who are gripped by that other virus. The fear virus.
Back at home I go to the roof terrace where the sun is smiling exuberantly.
I hear both messages; that of fear and that of connection, solidarity and new opportunities. Both sides of the coin are truth. Whatever you give attention grows. So after the pain and grief, the fear and the feeling of not having control, only one thing remains. And that is choosing the positivity and the opportunities.
A similar dichotomy occurred in Spain about 1,000 years ago. Yes, three cultures lived in Al- Andalus. And yes, every culture had its own way of thinking, doing and living. And yes, there were times when fights took place. Our history books mainly focus on that piece. The other side of the coin was at least as true. These cultures each had their specific knowledge and wisdom. By making mutual use of this and inspiring each other, a flourishing society was created. Both the inhabitants individually and the entire society, but later also all of Europe benefited from this. In old Al-Andalus they understood that well. Focus on the positive without being naive and disconnect from reality. Work together, find the connection, do not exclude dissenters, take care of each other and the earth. Everyone is doing well.
Or as the late soccer player Johan Cruijff said: "for every disadvantage there is an advantage".
On to confidence, creativity sense of reality and good health, in these challenging times.