I have always been a fan of the Chilean author Isabel Allende. Intelligent, beautiful writer, profound and compassionate. Recently she was asked about her fear re the virus. Her remarks echo my thoughts in my last blog on friendship. She said she realised who are her true friends and the people that she wanted to spend time with. She went on to say that the current epidemic had put life into context and hopefully it will teach us – (globally) to sort out our priorities.
Me Too – maybe we could extend the Me too to take this on and learn from this experience and come out with a new mindset and not just go back to the old normality.
To quote Allende and I think she is definitely worth space on this blog.
“The virus invited us to design a new future. What do we dream for ourselves as global humanity? I realized we came into the world to lose everything. The more you live, the more you lose. First you lose your parents or very sweet people, your pets, some places and then slowly your own mental and physical faculties. We can’t live in fear. Fear stimulates a future that makes living in the present a dark experience. We need to relax and appreciate what we have and live in the present.”
I needed to read this and put my life into context. I had allowed myself to become a little too self-indulgent and the old adage ‘can’t see the wood for the trees’ is a good description of how I have been feeling over the last week. So, thank you Allende.
I wish too that I could share her take on death. She said that after the tragic death of her daughter Paula who died 27 years ago, she had lost her fear of death.
“I saw her die in my arms, and I realized that death is like birth, it’s a transition, a threshold, and I lost my personal fear. At this moment if I catch the virus, I belong to the group of the most vulnerable, I’m 77 years old and I know that if I catch the virus I can die, and this possibility at this point in my life is very clear, but I look at it with curiosity and without fear. What this pandemic has taught me is to free myself from things. It has never been so clear to me that I need very little to live. I don’t need to buy, I don’t need more clothes, I don’t need to go anywhere, or travel, now I see I have too much. I don’t need more than two dishes! ”
Tod also died in my arms, but I still fear death.
I do though share her feelings about not needing stuff. I have everything I need and more and apart from a new roof and central heating. And maybe a light weight vacuum cleaner. Its moulting season and our house is covered in white dog hair. Yesterday I took her to the park to do some grooming and am feeling a little guilty and embarrassed as sections of the park are covered in Izzy’s hair. “Oh said,” one woman, “it’s your dog. I thought that some poor animal had been savaged by a fox.”
So, NASA’s newest Mars rover has begun its journey to hunt for alien life. Not enough that we have messed up our own planet we need to go and mess up another one. A 2012 World Wildlife Fund report apparently estimated that by 2030 we would need the equivalent of two planets in order to sustain our current lifestyle. But maybe the answer has come in the guise of COVID 19. I am not talking about a post-pandemic utopia, but it is giving us a real opportunity to shift our culture in a way that will benefit both climate change and nature. Sadly, though with our current world leaders I am not that optimistic.