As with many on the road, while driving alone, many thoughts can be triggered as things happen around you. On this occasion I was on my way to pick up my daughter from school during this period of abnormality dictated by the pandemic. At a number of intersections there are always people begging, selling something or trying to get you to pay them for something you did not ask for like washing your windows. With all of this you sort of develop different strategies to avoid them like looking the other way, not coming to a complete stop or gesturing that you don’t have money etc. I guess we each have our own strategies.
Stigmatisation is the action of describing or regarding someone or something as worthy of disgrace or great disapproval. When we are judgemental we often form opinions, usually harsh and critical ones about people. Why do we stigmatise others so easily? Is it because of fear, the unknown and or not knowing how to care for one another? Do we stigmatise because we are judgmental or is it because we don’t know and make assumptions? Imagine having to deal with negative attitudes or discrimination when dealing with a mental illness, health condition, or disability. Then there are also social stigmas that’s related to other characteristics such as culture, gender, race, religion, and sexuality.
It is said that our health is our greatest asset. Without our health nothing else matters. During this time the focus on our health has been amplified. At times we hang the heavy weight of our health over our happiness. The pandemic brought about fear and our fear for our health could spiral out of control. I thought I’ll share the following story that was kindly shared with me.
Have you ever wondered why we all so different, yet we also very similar in nature? Do you wonder why we react the way we do, why we look the way we do..? I for sure know that our genes play a role, our genes inherited from both biological parents and these genes, in turn, are expressed by specific traits. I started writing this blog a few days before my birthday and it made me ponder about who I am, why do I behave in certain ways and why do I have certain traits?
I’ve read an article that was truly interesting and wonderfully insightful. I felt the urge to share and thank you to Professor Theo van Wyk for graciously giving his permission to do so. Enjoy!
Donald Trump called the WHO a “pipe organ for China”. Why would he pick such an instrument?
We find ourselves amidst a whirlwind of world-altering circumstances, severe health concerns and greatly challenged days. Lately, our buttons are being pushed beyond what many of us have experienced in our lifetime and many of us are responding from knee-jerk reaction. Often we catch ourselves in an unpleasant emotional state. We want to make sense of the world and our place in it. I, for sure, found myself in this space during this time and everything seems a bit much. The key is to acknowledge our urge to react and to hold it at arms-length. We cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We may not be able to change the external circumstances but you can transform the way you feel and respond to what’s happening. This can but only help us to figure out how to comprehend our chaotic world.
Some of us have no fear of heights and others like me have to build up the nerve at the sight or thought of high places. I’m thinking of this and having a good chuckle at myself. I am looking at a picture of myself, sitting on top of a cliff, pretending to take in the spectacular view. I remember getting up there feeling the discomfort of fear and eventually calmed myself down as I soaked in the beauty of the magnificent gorge. This adventure was a challenge for me, but the amazing views and the sense of achievement was my reward for overcoming fear, even if only for that moment. As Prasad Mahes said, “The mind is like water. When it’s turbulent, it’s difficult to see. When it’s calm, everything becomes clear.”
Throughout this period, we are constantly bombarded with the impact that Covid-19 has had on the whole world and for some of us it has been devastatingly close to home. Pondering on the impact I also wanted to get a personal perspective from someone that contracted the virus. The following story was graciously provided by Hansel and Gretel (pseudonyms) as told by Gretel:
Wearing face masks, practicing social distancing and frequently washing our hands may help limit the transmission of the pandemic. What are we doing to prevent the virus affecting our mental state? It’s normal to experience traumatic stress, anxiety and depression following such disturbing events. It is not necessarily limited to the people who are directly affected by the event. We’re all flooded with horrific images of tragedy, suffering, and loss almost the instant they occur anywhere in the world. We all react differently to these events but it is important to acknowledge our emotions and feelings in order to regain control of our lives.
By now I am sure that many of us has seen iconic buildings lit up in red to bring attention to the plight of the live events industry #LightSAred campaign. The live events industry range from artists to freelancers, theatres and venues, equipment suppliers and various companies and businesses that have been unable to work since the blanket ban on all events due to the Coronavirus. Similar initiatives have successfully taken place across the world where buildings, monuments, landmarks, structures and empty theatres have been illuminated in “Emergency Red” to highlight the enormous challenges facing live events, music and performing art sectors.