Why has Lockdown caused so many issues and how can community help?
Neuroception is our unconscious reading of the body language and facial expression that tells us we are in a safe or unsafe environment. With mask-wearing and lockdowns we are deprived of this and it causes distress to many of us.
During lockdowns we feel the threat and anxiety but are prevented from our traditional ways of regaining comfort and safety. Consciously working in community to reestablish this is enormously helpful.
read more on the effects of lockdown
It's easier to change than you think, we can become very inventive and in doing so we can find, safety, joy, a sense of exploration, a sense of excitement, and a way of living where we feel supported by the ones close to us.
At home, at work, in communities, in politics – powerlessness make us unhappy. So we need to build agency in our lives, and the ability to organise to shape our collective future.
We as a community are able to do many things and there is no need to wait. Right now we can make those connections and relationships, and feel we belong and are loved.
Who knows if we need to go through another Lockdown but it doesn't need to break our spirit it doesn't need to break our connection, as a matter of fact we can choose to maintain and strengthen our community at any time.
Who is going to help with these issues?
It's not only going to be the government or all the available services that are currently in place. They have not been designed to deal with such an influx of people needing help. The current services are already experiencing overload.
Connection, relationship, belonging and love are the most powerful healing forces on the planet.
You don't need a degree and you don't have to be a scientist to be able to help people in your own local community. We all know how to do this!!
Data across 308,849 individuals, followed for an average of 7.5 years, indicate that individuals with adequate social relationships have a 50% greater likelihood of survival compared to those with poor or insufficient social relationships. The magnitude of this effect is comparable with quitting smoking and it exceeds many well-known risk factors for mortality (e.g., obesity, physical inactivity). Click for link to research.
The definition of "A Random Act of Kindness" is giving your best self to others without requests or promise of return on investment. It’s simply doing something nice for someone else, without them asking and without you doing it for anything in return.
This is a very powerful way of connecting with others and helping each other after and during traumatic events.
How easy it it?
How can gardening help?
Start a street gardening project where everybody grows something edible. Even if you do not have a large garden and have never grown anything before, everybody can grow something and usually you will have too much of the same. 10 lettuces, lots of tomatoes, too many oranges. If we all grow something, we can share produce. I can have some of your lettuce and you can have some of my tomatoes. It's a wonderful way of creating community and it's a wonderful way of children to be able to connect in the community and to the earth. It's also a way of showing children the abundance in nature, you grow 1 pumpkin, eat it and have seeds for a large crop next time. There is never less but always more!
It's also great for the environment and the way to participate in self sufficiency. There are some amazing examples of this one of them is the village Todmorden in England. link and more on gardening
How can we find others wanting to be part of this?
Promote this website. Make your own merchandise, yes just use a red texter on any white surface and draw the logo on anything and wear it. No need for perfection, let the kids have a go.
On your t shirt, as an armband, on your hat, umbrella, car, house, mailbox, stroller, backpack, anywhere (legal)!
It's great to see the connection and many people wanting to get into community and it's a great conversation starter.
Letter drop in your own street, block or suburb.
Put it on your facebook, twitter, or use a free community apps like Tribe.
Viralkindness is a website set up to help people connect and become active in the community
It starts feeling safe if many show they are actively seeking community.
From disconnection to belonging, our epidemic of loneliness isn’t just disastrous for health. It undermines empathy and can make us vulnerable to extremism even.
So we need to feel like we belong to a larger collective, but one that’s radically inclusive, not defined in terms of them and us.
more on connection
What has made this crisis different?
Generally speaking in the past crisis's have often united people against the common enemy. I remember stories from WWII, where people worked together and protected each other.
During this pandemic it has however been obvious that there is a great polarisation within our communities.
This has been evident in every layer of society, Doctors, politicians, teachers, parents, policemen and women, religious organisations, scientists, etc.
This polarisation can tear the fabric of our community.
So why has this happened?
Social media platforms use powerful algorithms to push viewers towards content that maximises ‘engagement’ by fanning fear and outrage.
It's quite clear that they have been a main contributor. Through clicks they feed us what we want to hear and connect us with people that have the same opinion or a more polarised version of our own opinion.
We are in an echo chamber & no longer connected to the rest of the world who are out there and become the enemy.
The documentary "The Social Dilemma" on Netflix gives a broader understanding of how this has come about. More on social networks impact.
People are also inclined to doom scroll or doom-surf, this is when they are looking for what they fear most on the social media platforms for hours more bad news and more bad news!!
Try scrolling the kindness pandemic on facebook instead.
We also have a limited "Media Diet" which we can consciously change to take in a broader understanding.
When fear and anxiety become central to life, polarisation is the result and flight mode results.
But when community and safety returns it changes the whole situation.
Feeling safe and supported by community, leads to openness, connection, relationship belonging and love.
more information on Fight Flight Freeze response and suggestions on how to counter this.
When we are polarised we can only see a very limited view.
These two groups if they meet feel the other is completely mad and has no sense of what is going on.
This is because they have a limited view.
If they would be able to truly put themselves in the others perspective they would be able to see their standpoint and find truth in the others viewpoint even though it contradicts their own.
They could find a bigger picture something that incorporates both views and synthesis these.
In this case the outcome would be a cylinder, with a round top and a rectangle outline looking from the side.
So with this very limited view, when we are in flight-mode, we cannot see the others viewpoint.
We react rather than respond and are not listening to understand them.
We can learn to overcome biases that distorts our view of the world. And we can reduce the polarising impact of news media by learning how to change our ‘media diet’.
read more about media diet
Our collective self-awareness will determine whether we can stay calm and reflective or slide into self-amplifying threat perception and polarisation.
Our collective sense of agency will determine how much we are able to take control of creating a future that we actually want and that works for all of us.
Our sense of belonging, and of whether we belong to a Larger Us or not, will determine whether we come together or fall apart.
Read more about what we can do about this
So if we are going to heal we will need to find a way of regaining the ability to have that dialogue in our community with those who have a different opinion and broaden our information base and understanding and work with each other in a compassionate way.
None of us are idiots or sheep, or tin foil hat wearers. We all have a partial truth and a lack of knowledge at the same time. We are all traumatised and when we don't feel safe, we are defensive and see the other as the enemy.
It is impossible to be defensive and open to new ideas at the same time, so keeping this in mind, and taking “winning the argument” off the table, can help making a dialogue possible.
So setting aside our own opinion, staying calm, and hearing what the other has to say leads to compassion, understanding and collaboration.
Curiosity, goes from the perception that you don't know the answer and allows us to step into the others shoes and see their point of view.
read more about sensemaking
Doing this on a local level creates a World Wide change!!!
A strong community is where we are safe, community is how we can help each other heal, and community is where the strength of our humanity is found.
It is based on seeing the others pain and helping each other with compassion and a helping hand, to recover and reconnect and give us a sense of agency and influence on our collective futures.
Right now, we’re at a tipping point where breakdown and breakthrough will occur.
A breakdown would see us fragment into multiple smaller groupings, with catastrophic results given our global interdependence and the scale of the challenges we face.
Breakthrough, by contrast, would see us jump to the much higher level of working together, a cooperation giving us agency and direction for the future, for all of us and for generations to come.
The most important thing that will change the balance is our attitude and ability to reconnect with each other, creating a radically inclusive society.
Realising our interdependence and building a community to help all of us to heal, with no one left behind.
Many strong communities make a strong country, and a strong world, that can and will overcome any problem.
By providing the information contained herein we are not diagnosing, treating any type of disease or medical condition, or giving medical advise. It is advisable to seek the advice of a licensed healthcare professional.
Some services to reach out to if you're feeling down at the moment
Some services to reach out to if you're feeling down at the moment