Darwin mentioned the word LOVE 95 times in his book The Descent of Man and he mentioned survival of the fittest only twice.
There is a cultural belief that is fed to us via media that says this, when I have the job, the house, when I get noticed, when I find the perfect partner, when my business turns over however many millions then I will be happy.
Unfortunately, this message has meant we spend much of our time in hot pursuit of these goals meaning we have invested less time in the things that contribute to the wellbeing of our planet and each other.
We lost our authenticity, creativity and meaning in life, we felt empty and alone and we knew something was missing but we didn’t know how to stop and ask ourselves the right questions, we just carried on, that was until the world forced us to STOP.
I was listening to a podcast of a famous writer, she said “I was totally obsessed with writing my book and I remember thinking to myself when I’m a published author I’ll feel good about myself. When it sells however many copies, I would feel a sense of achievement and I would be really happy”.
She worked tirelessly day and night, it almost cost her her marriage but she did it. Six months later she was bored and empty assuming it meant she needed to write another book. One morning she woke up, hungover, alone, tired and depressed. She had separated herself from those who meant the most, she was always too busy for them, apparently, she never had time. Bitter and jaded with life she had lost herself, her creativity and her family, all because the opinions of others and the craving to be recognised had driven her. How many of us can relate to this story in some way? I know I can.
You may be wondering so what does this have to do with COVID-19 and the recent lockdown?
I believe that the toxic definition of success is causing us to become self absorbed, competing against each other for money, for fame, for power. Pitting us against each other, its become the survival of fittest and its overpowering love. As Jimi Hendrix sang “when the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.”
The result of burying our head in the sand is that our world is falling apart, the saddest thing is we didn’t notice we were too busy being busy. We blame society and yet we are society. If lockdown has done anything it’s forced us to to PAUSE and reflect, allowing us to spend time with ourselves, hopefully uncovering some important truths that really show us who and what is important.
I decided to ask a few people about this, here’s what they told me; “I’ve found time to make a phone call to my grandma who I hadn’t spoken to in almost a year. I connected back to old friends that I’ve dearly missed. I finally got my bike out of the shed and have reignited my love for the outdoors, feeling particularly grateful to breathe in fresh air. I connected back to myself through prayer and meditation.”
Staying at home people learnt how to truly play with their children, they saw that home schooling wasn’t so bad, others like me said let’s do minimal studying and let’s learn about life and how we can make difference to our world and the people.
We came together as a global family whilst being physically separated and we finally understood that this is what we had been missing all along.
Unfortunately others lost people close to them, and this is devastating. I can’t imagine the emotional pain of losing a loved one and this is why it’s so important that we do not squander the lessons shown to us through this pandemic. This has been an opportunity to grow stronger, to grow wiser and we owe it to those who lost their lives to not run back to our old lives as though nothing really happened.
We’ve heard it many times – Happiness is not out there it is within and if we’ve learnt anything it’s this:
Happiness is that feeling you get when someone looks at you through grateful eyes because you took the time to listen, to offer hope, to offer food, to offer friendship.
It’s found in the twinkling stars, the new rose bud, the smell of baking cookies with your children, the wag of your dogs tail when he knows it’s time for his little daily walk.
It’s in finishing that painting or poem you always said you would. It is in dropping off cream tea through the kitchen window on Mother’s Day and seeing your loved one smile after a hard day of holding it all together in front of the children trying to be strong for them.
It’s the shared Zoom call where you all danced like no one was watching, even though everyone was watching because some crazed hacker got in on your fun. Or in the business meeting where you felt heard as others expressed the same financial concerns, and you didn’t feel so alone.
It’s in hugging that tree because your family live miles away and you just need a hug.
It’s in finding compassion for others because you experienced anxiety and depression for the first time in your life as you feared losing everything you held dear. It’s found in finding joy through lowering your expectations on yourself and others which allowed you to be much nicer to be around.
Most importantly it’s found in that moment you realised you had everything you ever needed and it was right in front of you all along.
Connection was the medicine that soothed our soul so let’s make sure we keep in touch.