There are lots of opinions floating around in a bid to try to make sense of this massive global shake-up which is happening right now (well, if you’re reading this in 2020). From my point of view, there are two types of people sharing their thoughts, which I’ll refer to as This Type and the Other Type.
There are the fear mongers and naysayers who believe that by scrolling through posts and watching way too much news, they have rightfully become an expert on Covid-19. These types will accost you during your hour of exercise or while innocently out and about with your tribe, in an attempt to scare you into being fearful like them. Yes, that’s right. Behind all that chatter is someone who doesn’t like change and is feeling rather uncertain, like their lives are spiralling out of control. Rather than facing what’s really troubling them, they’re focussed on putting a damper on the Other Type’s brightness. We all know This Type. Often frantic, self-centred and obsessive, these people keep themselves busy with a choc-a-bloc schedule or plenty of ‘friends’, or both. They can’t slow down, reducing life to practical milestones in order to hide behind their to-do lists as a form of distraction. This Type are either unwilling, or wanting to avoid at all costs, or simply lack the consciousness to sit with what lies beneath all that noise i.e. themselves.
The Other Type are also very much affected by the uncertainty, yet unassumingly so. Interestingly enough, they are often the ones who are worse off, falling between the gaps when it comes to governmental support or any support for that matter. But they’re not phased, instead they assert non-victim mentality and abide by Einstein's adage: “In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity”. The Other Type are very much in touch with themselves. They’ve learnt through dealing with hard knocks, to take responsibility for their own choices in life and as esteemed author and playwright, George Bernard Shaw so brilliantly put, “being a force of Nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.”
Before you try to work out which Type you are, I’ll cut to the chase. It boils down to this - glass half empty or glass half full. Damn straight, it’s all about perception. There is no wrong or right in how we regard a situation. Perception is our interpretation. And interpretation is cemented by gaining validation from those around us (so choose wisely who you associate with).
Ever noticed when something or someone we once felt frustrated by, is no longer a bother? A person whom we’ve once loved or hated, becomes indifferent? Voila, that’s a change in our mindset i.e. perception. Let’s take stress for example: stress is a perceived state. Simply put, it’s what our minds (and therefore our bodies) define as a stressor. A marathon runner will not perceive a 10km run as stressful, whereas I sure as hell do! Our friends may coo at our crying baby but with no sleep and not enough hours in the day to manage it all, we might perceive the crying as rather grating.
‘Creative gratitude’ is the art of gratefulness when the appreciation is not so clear and the happiness not so obvious. The Buddhists have a wonderful proverb which sums up the idea of creative gratitude perfectly: “The lotus flower blooms most beautifully from the deepest and thickest mud”. Being creatively grateful is acknowledging the challenges, the obstacles we’ve encountered, the things we didn’t succeed in, the suffering we’ve endured. It is changing one’s perception to appreciation for the nasty encounters in the schoolyard, the handicappers in the office or the cowardly bullies who won’t relent. At times, in order to practice creative gratitude, we need to lighten up and not take ourselves so seriously. Only then will we be able to see the silver lining. For example, losing out on the dream job but welcoming instead, the time available to spend with those who matter. Or, not having offspring in this life and valuing instead, the freedom to be without dependents.
Living purposefully has a huge impact on our perception. You might side with Fatboy Slim and his philosophy of eat. sleep. rave. repeat (even if you skip the rave part, and add in work or play), but I reckon if you’re reading this, you know there’s more to life. Why are we here? What drives us to behave the way we do? Our inner most desires?
Our purpose (or why) goes beyond our daily routine, our have-tos, and to-do lists. It shapes everything from relationship and career choice, to where we live and how we choose to spend our spare time. It is the very reason for which we exist, and the forces that drive us beyond our personality. In fact, knowing our purpose is essential for contentment because if we don’t have an endgame, we can feel like a hamster running on a wheel, relentlessly keeping up with life’s demands. Boredom and apathy can set in, which can make way for more serious mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression. Knowing and understanding our purpose provides a deeper connection and quenches our innate thirst for meaning.
Aligning ourselves with the intelligence of the universe means coming to understand our life’s purpose and living our lives in such a way that we are manifesting this purpose through all aspects of our lives. Our long-term happiness depends on our ability to fulfil our purpose.
So, how do we find our purpose?
- Naturopaths believe cleaning out the body is essential to a healthy body, mind and spirit. How can you delve deep and ask yourself purposeful questions when you’re addicted to stimulants or prescription medications, for example? I penned in Aussie Body Diet, “many religions feature a period of purification in their calendars: Judaism has Yom Kippur; Islam has Ramadan; Jesus fasted for 40 days and nights, inspiring Lent.” In 21st century speak, I believe we cleanse the body for clarity of mind. Clear out the garbage and we’ll instantly pave a way towards our intuitive self. Try Cleanse Me and Lighten Me as naturopathic support for the next cleanse.
- Find things that you yourself are passionate about. Not what your best friend or lover is into, but something which ignites a fire within you. It might mean being an environmentalist or an animal activist. It might be inventing something or a creative pursuit. It might simply be some type of fitness activity, cooking, learning a new language or cultural expeditions. But it is almost always to do with something that we love or invokes warmth inside us. Even better if it makes us feel part of something higher and makes us feel loved.
- You can’t think your way into finding your purpose; you have to take note from Nike and Just Do It. So instead of falling into the inertia trap of procrastination, overthinking or second guessing yourself – Am I good enough? Will this work? Should I give that up? What if I don’t like it? What if I don’t make money at it? What if I fail? Instead, accept that with change comes resistance. Begin with small steps toward your goals, try new approaches and ask for assistance wherever you need. The more consistent our actions, the more we get clear on things, as well as overcoming ‘monkey mind’. It is through persistent action and at times breaking down before breaking through, where you’ll find your purpose.
- Reading Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield at 21 was a game changer for me, so much so that I purchase multiple copies at a time and gift them to friends to help through difficult times. One of the most poignant things I’ve read is from this book: “We humans have always sought to increase our personal energy in the only manner we have known, by seeking to psychologically steal it from the others--an unconscious competition that underlies all human conflict in the world.” So, surround yourself with people who lift you higher and not those who want to take from you.
- Every cell in our body is changing every second, so why should we hold onto ways to think and act from the past which no longer serves us? Let it go (thanks, Elsa!). Release any tension or build-up of mental, emotional and spiritual energies in your space with HALO range.
When we fully commit to living a purposeful life which is in harmony with the bigger universal picture, it’s almost as if the dirt slips away and we can see all the hidden gems. Everything just flows. As Shaw described it, “being a force of nature.”
I will leave you with a message from White Eagle of the Hopi Nation delivered on 16th March 2020, which inspired me to write this thought piece:
“This moment humanity is going through can now be seen as a portal and as a hole. The decision to fall into the hole or go through the portal is up to you. If they repent of the problem and consume the news 24 hours a day, with little energy, nervous all the time, with pessimism, they will fall into the hole. But if you take this opportunity to look at yourself, rethink life and death, take care of yourself and others, you will cross the portal. Take care of your home, take care of your body. Connect with the middle body of your spiritual House. Connect to the egregor of your spiritual home. Body, house, medium body, spiritual house, all this is synonymous, that is to say the same. When you are taking care of one, you are taking care of everything else. Do not lose the spiritual dimension of this crisis, have the aspect of the eagle, which from above, sees the whole, sees more widely. There is a social demand in this crisis, but there is also a spiritual demand. The two go hand in hand. Without the social dimension, we fall into fanaticism. But without the spiritual dimension, we fall into pessimism and lack of meaning. You were prepared to go through this crisis. Take your toolbox and use all the tools at your disposal. Learn about resistance with indigenous and African peoples: we have always been and continue to be exterminated. But we still haven't stopped singing, dancing, lighting a fire and having fun. Don't feel guilty about being happy during this difficult time. You don't help at all by being sad and without energy. It helps if good things emanate from the Universe now. It is through joy that one resists. Also, when the storm passes, you will be very important in the reconstruction of this new world. You need to be well and strong. And, for that, there is no other way than to maintain a beautiful, happy and bright vibration. This has nothing to do with alienation. This is a resistance strategy. In shamanism, there is a rite of passage called the quest for vision. You spend a few days alone in the forest, without water, without food, without protection. When you go through this portal, you get a new vision of the world, because you have faced your fears, your difficulties ... This is what is asked of you. Let them take advantage of this time to perform their vision seeking rituals. What world do you want to build for yourself? For now, this is what you can do: serenity in the storm. Calm down and pray. Everyday. Establish a routine to meet the sacred every day. Good things emanate, what you emanate now is the most important thing. And sing, dance, resist through art, joy, faith and love."