I'm thinking about...
These are deeply human-centered times.
Despite physical distancing in our immediate environments, there is growing global social connectedness and sharing of the most personal of human experiences. Paradoxically, in many ways it has been and continues to be an entirely personal experience. We can't assume we understand what's happening for others.
Grief - Loneliness - Anxiety - Fear - Joy - Doubt - Overwhelm -Living with Paradoxes and Questions (you can add your own here...).
For some it's been an "exciting" time, embracing opportunity.
For me it's been a part pause, part re-design and re-frame time. Living with the paradox of needing to work and the desire to embrace this opportunity to pause and consider what a better, kinder more collaborative future might look like and how I can add value in turning those possibilities into realities.
On a personal note, it's also been a time of intentionality - managing my own emotions and anxieties. Nineteen years ago, during this same period, our family were in isolation in a different way - supporting my eldest through his cancer treatment bone marrow transplant. It was a roller-coaster ride and after a five-year journey Jahan lost his battle and died in 2001. In just a few weeks would have been his 27th birthday. These days, as a volunteer hospice biographer, I am around grief and the dying a fair bit. It's not an uncomfortable subject for me. Now, as I remember and reflect on the nature of grief, my grief intermingles with the grief of others, unknown to me personally, across the world. Part of me wants to run away from the suffering and part of me knows that this is important, I can learn from this and I can use it to help others to have a voice.
Today, on ANZAC day, again we remember together. There were no parades or formal gatherings, but there were gatherings of a different sort - bringing together thoughts and experiences of the deepest and most personal nature across our nation.
Quite a few of our neighbours woke early to pay their respects together. Like others, we stood at the end of drives in the pre-dawn darkness, in silence. My husband, Tim played the last post on his flute and someone nearby was playing it on a trumpet, which ended up being like a sort of echo. In the darkness, it was really poignant - especially with our recently widowed neighbour on her drive across the road in front of us. Grief right there staring at us. I got up to record Tim and ended up having a totally unexpected special reflective experience.
A deeply personal yet collective experience. It would be remiss of us not to take some space, in these unprecedented times, to pause and reflect and really consider what a better, kinder future might look like.
We know there is much that is unknown - any and all models are incomplete and subjective - but we know the future will be different. In part, we can choose what that might look like and whatever that might be - I am confident "collaboration" is going to be integral to moving forward. I am also aware that some people are thinking, let's wait until we are all together, but that might well be some time away and we would be missing a unique opportunity. My take is - let's prepare together now, so we are ready to deliver a kinder, better, more collaborative new future.
A wise person I know said recently, "People will be remembered for what they did during these times" - what do you want to be remembered for?
What we do now (as ever) - matters.
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Nazanin Jenkin is a Persian Kiwi - a Persian by descent and a diaspora by circumstance. She lives in New Zealand; along with her husband of thirty years and two surviving, adult children.