When Fear Replaced Love

Last Friday I was in the post office and what I witnessed has left an imprint. It was like rush hour and there were people everywhere. This lady was near hysterical trying to keep her distance while exclaiming, “I don’t have the virus. I’ve been tested every week because I have these diseases (she listed her illnesses). I can’t give it to you.” No-one made eye contact, people kept their heads down. No-one smiled. People jumped as if startled if you were too close. I looked at this lady, smiled, nodded and softly said “It’s okay.” But it clearly wasn’t for her. The feeling in this space was awful.

My Local Area

In phase one of the pandemic the Baw Baw Shire hadn’t had any spread of the virus and those who came home from overseas went into isolation, doing the responsible thing and didn’t spread it to another person. We have been completely free for over eight weeks (until this week). But the look on people’s faces doesn’t reflect the fact for us here.
By the time I had done my four tasks I was keen to return home. Not because I fear the virus, I don’t. It just didn’t feel nice out in the world. The usual friendly, welcoming vibe I love about my hometown has been replaced with fear and hysteria.

The media’s drama making, sensationalism, has spread faster than the virus.

Normal isn’t normal anymore

Even normal actions are being tainted. I was buying food and I went to avoid walking into someone as they too moved to get out of my way. How many times has that happened in the past? So many, and it’s usually greeted with a giggle and a rolling of the eyes and we almost did it. There was this lightness in the other person and then a flash of fear darted as I could see them remember, that we are meant to be socially distancing. In that moment I heard my brain say ‘I’m not trying to move away from you because of the virus. I’m just being normal.’ Whether I like it or not I am being impacted by the virus story because I want to justify my actions.

Freedoms

It’s not easy being human. We have ideals we want to live up to but can’t always manage to do. Freedom is a great example because right now the concept of freedom is being challenged on all fronts. The freedom of movement. The freedom of speech. The freedom to work. The freedom to express ourselves. Even the freedom to give a hug to someone.

Of all these freedoms, it’s the freedom of speech that I find the most fascinating in how it plays out. Being the sensitive soul I am, the intent, motivation and energy that comes with people’s words has just as big an impact as what is being said. The emotive attachments to people’s ideas whacks hard. The judgement that those who don’t think like “I” do in people’s posts on social media adds to the negative energy floating around out there.

Terms like ‘idiot, selfish, stupid’ are mixed in the information posts and all it does for me is make me want to stop checking in on social media. I know I’m not the only one as I’m seeing more and more of my friends posting their intent to opt out on social media for awhile. I’m not wanting to avoid opinions different to my own – I’m fascinated by how people think – I want to avoid the fear, the drama, the judgement, the name calling, the bullying and the hysteria dripping off this virus induced reality.

I know I have a love affair with harmony, balance and peace. I also know that I want to show up in these times expressing love and compassion (and I’m finding that a challenge). My logical mind loves facts and I want only the facts to be named. The best thing is I’m allowed to be like this. And the truth is if name calling, bullying, judging, drama and being hysterical is the best someone can be and who they are in the deepest recesses of their soul then I can hold a space for their truth.

How are you showing up? Is it the best in you or merely the best you can do?