We are living in unprecedented times, unprecedented being the keyword right now. This morning, Mothering Sunday in the UK when I write this post, I woke up with this unbelievable feeling of needing to ration what food I have, and it really made me consider and honour how much I do have. Like many I have probably been living a ‘poorer’ way of life in the sense of not having a lot and having fewer choices. So, while I have not lived on the street, I understand what it feels like to really cut back and having to budget, but I know many people may be facing this for the first time and it must feel really hard.
In the UK, on top of this terrifying pandemic, we seem to be having some big food supply issues, even though there is supposed to be enough for everyone. Supermarkets put on limits too late and panic buyers are still managing to get around systems in place and buying food like locusts, sweeping up what is there. So like many, I have enough right now, but I am aware that I am unsure how easy it will be to get my next lot of food shopping, especially when it’s bought online and many items are already out of stock, basics like milk and eggs etc…
And it makes me really aware that my housemate and I have never wasted food, with very little food waste in our recycling box, but knowing this and knowing what is happening and could happen in the next few months, I know it is important to scale back, to reduce what we eat, have smaller portions, be creative even more so. And doing so is really making me appreciate what we do have.
I think so many of us, especially in the west, take for granted the easy supply of food and the choices that we do have. We live in a society of fast food, ‘I want it now’ mentality and we have become complacent and too used to it. If you drive, you can hop in your car and pick up a lot of food or anything you want in a heartbeat. Most of the time everything is at our fingertips.
Appreciate What Little You Do Have
The scale of this pandemic and how things will unfold is unknown, is uncertain and yes, is terrifying for many people. Yet we can do one thing during this time of uncertainty and limits, both on our freedom and limits on what we can eat or have. We can appreciate what we do have, appreciate that most of us often have far more than others in the world and sometimes far more than we actually need, and we can make the best of what do have. We can become more creative, we can scale back what we eat and for some who may be struggling due to obesity, this will be more of a challenge but necessary.
My housemate is on limited lockdown now because he is over 70 in the UK. He is a pretty healthy man. He can still, for now, walk around the neighbourhood, but we both know that soon more limits will be put in place on our personal freedom like many, because I feel the UK is quickly gaining pace on Italy’s Covid-19 cases and so I imagine we will have a full lockdown in the near future.
On my walk in the sun today I appreciated the sun, I appreciated the birds singing. Nature doesn’t know that anything has changed here, but it is evident in other countries that nature is making the most of human changes. One example being dolphins returning to the Venice canals which is a wonderful sight to see, and skies are becoming clearer because the pollution from aircraft and excessive car use is slowing right down.
So, there are many plus points to what is happening right now. We get to appreciate the beauty in the simple in life. We don’t need to drive, buy lots of things, go on vacation to escape our lives; we are being encouraged to live ‘here now’ and embrace our lives.
During Adversity We Can Still Sing, Laugh and Dance
In my local area I used to be really frustrated because I wanted so much to live in the countryside. I still do, but for the time of this pandemic, for the first time, I appreciate what I have here. Being in close proximity to supermarkets that I can walk to if my online shopping doesn’t give me much, having my small urban garden, being blessed with access to great people via the internet and social media, the ability to meditate, dance, sing and still laugh during adversity are all valid reasons to appreciate, when ordinarily it may feel very limiting.
And to appreciate we also need to trust. Trust that what is happening, what we have or don’t have is perfect, it is all a part of life unfolding. Our gratitude comes from witnessing in deep acceptance what is ‘here now’ and to welcome the good we perceive and the bad we perceive, because in the reality of life and existence nothing is good or bad, be it life, death, limits, freedom, all are part of life. A plant may look limited wedged between concrete slabs on a pavement, but it still grows.
And so, through this experience and appreciating the small and what may have seemed insignificant before, we can still grow, still transform.
We Have the Inner Resources
We all have enough inner resources to ride this wave of challenge; we have enough resources to be strong even in the face of fear. We have enough resources to perhaps for the first time see blessings we could not see before, because we must. We must because whatever is taking place, life needs us to look for the perfection in it all, see the life and love in the small.
Be grateful to everyone, because everybody is creating a space for you to be transformed – even those who think they are obstructing you, even those whom you think are enemies. Your friends, your enemies, good people and bad people, favorable circumstances, unfavorable circumstances – all together they are creating the context in which you can be transformed and become a buddha. Be grateful to all. To those who have helped, to those who have hindered, to those who have been indifferent. Be grateful to all, because all together they are creating the context in which buddhas are born, in which you can become a buddha. ~ OSHO
I know that right now, people are worried about having enough food to eat and to pay their rent or mortgages, but others are finding it tough that their lives may go from being abundant and materialistically free to being limited and having less. With no vacations, no meals out, no socialisation, no celebrations in the ‘normal’ sense, I can only image it feels tough to go from one extreme to another extreme.
Personally, my life is possibly not going from one extreme to the other, because I’ve been quite isolated for a long time and not had a lot of choice in the financial sense to have vacations or a buy lots of stuff or satisfy my cravings and desires, but I empathise with those people who may now feel the struggle with this.
At this time, it’s important to recognise that we are not limited. We may have less outer choice, but we are not limited.
A man or woman can be in prison and still feel free, because freedom has nothing to do with what you can or can’t do. Freedom is a state of mind and this may well be what this time is here to teach many of us. To feel free, no matter what is taking place around us.
Some will not be able to accept this, and this is part of their path. Others will recognise how much there is to appreciate, especially considering the circumstances. When we may feel hungrier due to possibly less food, this is when we may resist what is happening, but again we can make the best of it and appreciate what we do have.
This is not all a ‘doom and gloom’ scenario we are living now. It is far more transformative if we decide it can be. We can see the losses, we can see the limits as painful and wrong and resist them over and over again and because of this we will suffer OR we can see the losses, embrace them with acceptance of natural grief, fear and look at other areas of life that are still abundant, still flourishing, still beautiful and we can find our own inner and outer balance.
What are you choosing to do?