With the current pandemic, other issues including polarization, inequality, racism, family violence and more have come to the forefront, accompanied by calls for change. (File photo)

With the current pandemic, other issues including polarization, inequality, racism, family violence and more have come to the forefront, accompanied by calls for change. (File photo)

Column: Time of upheaval also an opportunity for positive change

Opening Our Eyes by Nan Dickie

By Nan Dickie

Contributor

For the past three long and complicated months, the coronavirus has been a fierce and formidable teacher.

We in British Columbia have largely paid heed to its warnings, which has enabled us to keep ourselves and others safe. And now we are learning how to engage anew with others in the retail, business and services sectors in our community.

We are indeed moving along, slowly, carefully.

What a wake-up call this virus has given us, individually and collectively.

We’re not out of the woods yet, but perhaps we can take a deep breath, and consider the future, as uncertain as it is. At the same time, we can ask ourselves, “How have I managed the pandemic so far?”

We have progressed from the initial and frightening question three months ago of, “What if?” to the broader and more long-term question, “What now?”

Read more: Column: Distancing, not isolating, and handling our fears

Read more: Column: Running a long marathon no one asked to take part in

Now is a good time to ask ourselves whether experiencing the pandemic has led us to living in psychological lockdown, or can it actually, paradoxically, be an opportunity to open us up? It’s fair to say that, individually, we may feel closed down in some respects, and opened up in others.

This is a never-before time, and hopefully a never-again time, in which thoughts, emotions and behaviours have run the gamut. We have never been tested before as we are now. And we weren’t trained ahead of time for the immense challenge we’ve faced.

Now is a good time to ask ourselves what attitudes, habits and ways of living might we shed, so that, as we continue to experience this crisis, we become fuller versions of ourselves and not smaller, more frightened people?

We are at the point in the pandemic where we need to acknowledge that we must to let go of ways of being, individually and in the world at large, that cannot be sustained. It takes courage for each of us to step outside our comfort zone during this global pandemic, to make well-informed decisions, and to act wisely for the benefit of all.

Add to the current pandemic the other “viruses” of polarization, inequality, racism, family violence and more, that loom large to threaten the future well-being of the entire world.

Some of these issues are coming to the fore right now, so perhaps this is our opportunity to address some of them alongside the pandemic.

There is a burgeoning will for positive change around the world, just as there is global will to defeat the virus.

It’s at times of great upheaval and change, such as we are now going through, that mankind has the greatest opportunity to better itself.

Are we prepared to commit to that?

Nan Dickie is an author, speaker and former facilitator of a depression support group in Salmon Arm.

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