I know that I can cope with uncertainty. That has been part of my nomadic experiment over the last two years. But, that was my own uncertainty. What is different now is that whilst I was fine 'making it up as I go along' when the rest of the world was relatively stable, in the last 6 months the world has been so shaken by the Covid pandemic that it no longer feels like there is solid ground to stand on.
Whilst I was in lock-down in rural Wales for 5 months I was actually doing really well. I found a combination of activities that really worked for me. Time outdoors gardening, new challenges of working remotely using zoom, creative work, writing and making films, and forming and nurturing connections with people around the world. Old friends and new. I was, of course, very aware of the struggle and suffering that many others were experiencing, but for me I was managing well, and in many ways thriving.
In recent weeks my circumstances have changed as it became more possible to re-engage with the world. The experience has been really challenging. Being in a town and then a city has been a real assault on my senses, and my energy. The pay-off has been spending time in person with family and friends. That has been wonderful. And, easy to forget we hadn't actually physically been with each other for so many months.
Back in March we were entering the unknown. The word 'unprecedented' was constantly being used. It was uncertain what would happen but it felt like there was a plan. We'd have lock-down for a couple of months and then emerge and continue with life. I know I wasn't alone in my hope that this period of enforced 'pause' would help us all take stock and re-evaluate how we live on this planet.
Today, the uncertainty feels greater than ever. In some moments life feels perfectly normal and very familiar. Then, suddenly, I see people wearing face coverings and my senses are alert to a threat. Or, I catch the news relaying dire predictions about the economy, and fears and conflicts about the imminent reopening of schools in England.
What is true, what is not true? How are we meant to behave, and who says that's right? Who do we trust? Who can we trust? I feel the conflict and tension when I am out in the city. Will I get used to this 'new normal'? I certainly don't want to. What is it that I can do other than getting under my duvet and hoping when I emerge all will be well in the world?
There is much conflicting advice and opinion at the moment but I am wondering what it is that connects us? Underneath, what is it that matters to us all? And, how can we stay connected to that part of being human and show kindness and compassion to each other as we each navigate our own unique experience of this time?