This has been a week like none other.
The sun’s out, it’s Friday evening, and part of me is thinking, at least it’s the weekend and I can have a break from all of this.
But of course I can’t.
Because of Covid-19.
Because my business has been impacted.
Because my life and that of my loved ones has been impacted.
Because I can’t go anywhere to get away from it for a while.
Because I’ve a to-do list as long as my arm that I haven’t even started on because of all the juggling this week.
But mostly because of everything in my head.
There’s a lovely quote attributed to Mark Twain “I’ve lived through some terrible things in my life, some of which have actually happened”.
Whatsapp messages, phones pinging, homeschool ‘schedules’, terrifying predictions, well-meaning suggestions, public service announcements, screaming headlines, evidence of incredible stupidity and selfishness, fears, worries, job losses, deaths, pleas from those at risk, stories of bravery and courage, community spirit, offers of help, and fears; huge scary undefinable, breath-stopping fears…
My mind doesn’t have a fitbit linked to it but if it did the numbers would be off the scale this week.
And it takes its toll.
I am well. My family and loved ones are well. But we are all at risk of being suffocated with information.
We can’t control Covid-19. We can’t even control our automatic reaction to it. The fact is the human body is designed to Fight or Flight. That’s what has kept the human race alive till now.
But exposing ourselves constantly to anxiety-provoking information is something that we’re doing. Not Covid-19. Us. Me.
And the irony is that if we don’t mind ourselves, we are putting ourselves at risk of a lowered immune system, and increased susceptibility to the very thing that’s threatening us all.
Whether I like it or not, it’s as important as washing my hands and keeping my distance. I need to rest.
And that I can control.
So, yes, it’s an absolutely gorgeous Friday evening, it’s the weekend, and I am going to have a break from all this.
You can too. You just have to choose it.
Mind yourselves, nx
So with the news that St Patrick’s day parades are to be cancelled country wide, what does that mean for us now? Are we any less Irish without a parade, a pint of the black stuff, a jig at the crossroads and a “Top of the Mornin’ to ya”? Ah, I think we’ll be ok without a parade or two(!)
But the St Patrick’s Day thing got me thinking. There are very few places on earth that are unaware of this ‘Paddy’ Power of ours. We’ve got something special. We have a way of seeing things, of feeling things, of expressing things.
We’ve known hardships as a nation. We’ve known tough times. We’ve known starvation, separations from family, job losses, homelessness, poverty, deaths. We’ve known conflict, distrust, worry, despair. We’ve made tough decisions to emigrate, to shut down businesses, to stay, to fight. We’ve done what was necessary to keep our families safe, to keep things going as best we can. We do survival.
So is that it? Our grit, our ability to just get through it? That helps, but it isn't everything.
This time two years ago we were coming out of the cold grips of the Beast from the East. It wasn't easy, but what do we really remember though? Brennans bread. Talking to neighbours you hadn’t seen in months. Helping each other out. The jokes that went viral. The connection, the Irishness of it all.
This is what we do when we’re at our best, our most Irish. This is when we face our reality with heart, with passion, with connection, with a real grá for life and for each other. It's what reduces the panic, makes things easier on us all. And this is what shines through. It’s what gives us the music, the poetry, the stories, the memes, the witty black humour, the “wait till I tell you”, the “jaysus, did you hear the latest”, the “Sure this virus won’t last long, it was made in China!”, the “I used to cough to cover a fart, now I fart to cover a cough!!”, the “are you all right, love?”, the “can I get you something when I’m down in the shop?”, the “I’m really sorry for your troubles, I’m here for you”, the “look, we’ll figure this out”.
And it’s this connection, this grá, that will help us with what we’re facing now. When we unleash the full power of our Irishness in all it’s glory we get kindness, conviction, purpose. We get determination, focus, pride in how we do things here. We get a “Come On You Boys (and Girls) In Green” for all the health service workers who are doing incredible work at their own personal risk. We get a “Shoulder to Shoulder, We answer Ireland’s Call” from the healthy and abled to make sure those in need of extra support and protection in our communities get it. We get to support Irish Cancer Society through text donations instead of the traditional Daffodil Day (Text Cancer to 50300 to donate €4). We get Empathy and community solidarity rather than stigma and fear. We get Rory’s Stories, and #selfisolationhelp, and daft-but-possibly-better-than-the-real-thing notion of Twitter Parades instead of the real things. We get to laugh at our own ridiculousness. We get to help and smile and love life, in spite of the terror and anxiety and panic and pain. We get to survive. We get to help ourselves. We get to hope. We get to live.
We do things our own way in this country. We can choose to do this virus the Irish way too, to gain control over the uncontrollable that way - the VIrish way, if you like.
So me? How can I do my bit?
Well, I’m pretty good at helping people find direction, clarity, a way forward when they’re faced with change and challenges, so for my part, I would like to offer free 1:1 online coaching sessions to business leaders who need to reduce their anxiety and stress and boost their resilience in the face of this current crisis. I am also offering free sessions to healthcare workers who are facing overwhelm and overload. My hope for anyone who avails of this offer is that they will be in a better position to support their employees, their customers, their families and their communities, and those people then will be in a slightly better position too. I can’t fix the Covid-19 problem but with this offer I hope to spread small ripples of kindness, comfort and peace of mind at a time when it is sorely needed.
Please share this message so that those who need the support can avail of it.
Share how we’re more than this pandemic, this panic, this worry. Notice how a focus on action helps you feel better, helps others feel better. Share facts and empathy rather than rumour and stigma. Notice what's working and do whatever you can to fix what's not. Share how you are showing up and are part of this courageously focused, seriously funny, community minded, desperately caring nation of ours.
Survival we know how to do, survival with bells on and maybe even a laugh thrown in?
That’s our way, and we don’t need a parade to prove it.
#gombeirimidbeo #Resilience #Covid19 #Coronavirus #washyourhands #kindness
I will provide as many sessions as I am able to facilitate - simply contact me by DM or by email for further details.