There are now two worlds that we will identify in our lifetime- BC (Before Corona) and AD- (After the Disease), and I’ve heard talk of calendars almost going back to 1 from April 2020. This may not happen physically, but make no mistake the world as we knew it is over, and we face a new dawn.
One of the opportunities of this time is to re-evaluate our life, Mindfully consciously. The reason why the present is called a gift is because it’s the only moment we have. There are only two unimportant days in your life- one is yesterday, and the other is tomorrow. We can’t make any impact in those moments- yet it’s so interesting how much time we spend feeling guilt or regret about past, or constantly worrying about the future, as the present moment is the only moment where we can make an impact.
If we don’t pay attention or are always on our phones, then we miss that moment. In my presentation, I tell a story about a professor at UCT, who in 2008 had to, unexpectedly, take his 18-month-old child to school. His wife typically took the child, but this particular morning she had a meeting. This father was so busy thinking about his day, and the child had fallen asleep in the back of the car that he drove straight past the nursery school. He parked his car in the lecturers’ car park at the University of Cape Town and went off to deliver his lecture, forgetting about the child in the back of the car. Two hours later, the alarm was raised!
People rushed to the vehicle where the child was found dead in 46-degree heat in the back seat. It is an awful story of someone paying the ultimate price for mindlessness. When his students were interviewed about the lecturer, they commented “He was always busy, always rushing” “He was very forgetful and always busy.” There were signs that his life was out of control before this awful incident happened.
I believe that life is like a dashboard, where just as your car dashboard communicates when you’re running out of petrol or your tyres are running low, life whispers to us as well. If we pay mindful attention to those dashboards, we notice things before they become full-blown crises. I’ve realised through this work that we don’t lose our health overnight. When I did this presentation for a group of cardiologists, they told me that no-one has a heart attack without having a symptom at least a year before. That symptom is often heartburn or reflux. We don’t lose our marriages overnight- we don’t go from being in a happy, fulfilled relationship to an unhappy, miserable marriage over-night. There are signs along the way, and if we are mindful, we can act before these problems become insurmountable. You don’t get resignations from someone in your team overnight- that person has probably voiced their unhappiness/dissatisfaction before. When we chose to ignore these life whispers, then life starts to shout- if we’re still in denial, then it starts to scream. That scream is often in the form of a health issue.
Living a mindful life is often more challenging and requires bravery, as you are mindfully paying attention to all the elements of your life- the good, the bad and the ugly.
“An un-examined life is not worth living.”
I would agree.
To become mindful means to change your perspective from a black and white movie scene to living in full HD and replacing denial and dissociation with conscious choices and greater awareness. This is the gift from COVID- it’s an opportunity to re-set.