“Death is always news.” – African proverb
When Malcolm X wrote “there is no better than adversity. Every defeat, every heartbreak, every loss, contains its own seed, its own lesson on how to improve your performance the next time,” he was in effect challenging us to arise out of every ash, stronger and better, and a lot more determined to make our humanity triumph. Such is the opportunity lying before us now as we battle the mad, raging coronavirus. It may have gotten us on our knees, but it cannot break us. It may have drenched us with worry, but it cannot take away the coolness in the breeze carrying the smell of change and a new beginning for us.
The virus has awoken within us a call for change. But is this call a walk through the motions, or our emotions taking a walk with the hope that the pandemic passes away so as to enable us return to our normal way of life? Time moves life forward, and so we know we will triumph. Nonetheless, we need to understand that when life moves past this pandemic, we ought to shred our old ways as well.
It is what we used to call ‘normal’ that got us into this situation in the first place. It was our ‘unlovingness’, our ‘each-one-for-himself, God-for-us-all’ attitude. It was our perception that some other peoples’ problem was only theirs and theirs alone. It was the competition between individuals for laurels, between organisations for profits, and between nations for supremacy which prevented us from curbing the virus during its initial onslaught.
This poor attitude of ours was what made us refuse to act fast and right when the virus made its entrance. As we wait for this ‘craziness’ to pass by, we need to appreciate the fact that all the calls for change are meaningless unless, individually, we change our attitudes about what life really is and what it means to have life and have it abundantly. The change will not happen overnight. It will be of a journey, one that will involve a significant shift in thinking, in perceiving and in taking actions. It will be tough, and it will feel like starting all over. But that is alright, because we have crash-landed and we need to pick ourselves up – just as we reboot our computers when they crash. It is not as scary as it sounds, but the workload will be daunting.
All in all, question upon question has arisen about our dominion. We have had to learn the hard way that life is not merely about making choices, but entails going the extra step to ensure we are more conscious of our choices and ready to pay the price when it arises. We have got to be ‘born again’ in order to free our minds, hearts, souls, and spirits. We have to change our thoughts, words and actions. We have to learn to use our time in different ways – self or individual time, family time, work time, recreational time and so on.
We have to re-learn to appreciate handshakes and hugs, re-learn to be grateful for smiles that are not hidden under face-masks, and cherish the company of others. We have to re-learn how to smell the flowers, to count the trees, wiggle our toes in the sand on the beach. We have to re-learn how to open the door for others, and learn how to take others into consideration when we are making decisions.
When all is said and done, we have to cherish the air we breathe and strive to create new memories. It will take time – and thankfully time is on our side. And so, as we go through the woods, let us be pause for reflection. Let us think through the things that we have to control – our desires and impulses; the attitudes that we have to alter – the ways we talk, relate and work; and the evils we have to delete. This will empower us to hold down the control, alt and delete in order to reboot our lives.
We know nothing good comes easy, and so many will give up along the way. But those who persevere will re-learn humanity’s morals and nurture a strong sense of ethics that will allow them to do right even when they do not feel like it. They will find their paths, and come to the realisation that that life is extraordinarily rich and full of wonders which grant us remarkable pleasures without having to pull anyone down, nor measure yourself by what others do. They will come to appreciate and embrace diversity and harness the power of collaboration to generate the mosaic effect life actually needs to thrive…
Kodwo Brumpon is a management consultant and a life coach who inspires individuals, groups and corporate bodies to think and feel that which is true, and helps them to positively respond to that which is beautiful while nudging them to let goodness govern their actions. Comments, suggestions and requests should be sent to him at email@example.com