I’ve been hearing people half-jokingly use the word “apocalypse” to describe the Covid-19 situation, I always thought it was over the top. Although it’s said in a light-hearted way most of the time, it still felt a bit much. No need to over exaggerate what’s already pretty scary, right? But then I looked up the meaning of the word apocalypse. It is defined as “an unveiling or unfolding of things not previously known and which could not be known apart from the unveiling”. Apocalypse comes from a Greek word meaning “revelation”, which is defined as “a divine or supernatural disclosure to humans of something relating to human existence”.
Now it all seems to makes sense! To me it truly feels that within these dark, challenging and mysterious times, everything is being revealed to us in a very confronting way. It’s showing up exactly how we live our privileged lives, how we busy ourselves, what is necessary and what is unnecessary (non-essential travel anyone?), what power the government actually have (homelessness seems to be solved?), how much trust we have in our leaders, how much we value our freedom. We are aware of our vulnerability and health status more than ever. How we function under stress brings fourth our shadows. We become aware of how often we make decisions based on fear rather than love. Our fear of death gets magnified ten-fold, as though we never before considered the fact that we will eventually die. It’s putting us face to face with our own self-created realities as we are forced to stay indoors with our kin. We realise that although we enjoy the city, being trapped there is quite intense and claustrophobic and maybe something about having a home with a vegetable garden feels better.
“if you continue to destruct nature you will suffer, if you continue to eat animals you will become diseased, if you continue to live unconsciously you will endure great repercussions. You are a part of this earth and you are self destructing. You must stop or you will be stopped.”
All the while, nature has re-birthed and has cycled back around to Spring, which is now in full bloom. Nature seems to be our only solace in times when our plans are cancelled and intimacy is forbidden. When all of our resources and distractions are stripped away, only Nature remains. Whether or not the topic of climate change and the preservation of Earth has been on one’s mind before, this crisis has the potential to open up the conversation of our profound dependency on the health of the ecosystem. It also brings fourth the fact that eating animals is a leading cause to illnesses like these as well as others like cancer. If the food industry is the cause, then the food industry needs to change and only through our own personal choices can we do that. And in times when one’s personal action of “staying at home” has the power to save other lives, we suddenly become very familiar with how we are all interconnected and individually have power to make a difference.
It feels like, louder than ever, the Earth is saying “if you continue to destruct nature you will suffer, if you continue to eat animals you will become diseased, if you continue to live unconsciously you will endure great repercussions. You are a part of this earth and you are self destructing. You must stop or you will be stopped.” What we will do with this information will determine so much.
If we took the demands the virus is imposing on us as general advice for how to live as a collective – if we did choose to slow down, connect to ourselves and our environment more, care more for community and stop mass over consumption – many of the world’s issues would become less intense, some would be completely solved. This message seems like a revelation indeed, “a divine supernatural disclosure to humans of something related to human existence”, from the Earth. It is a request for us to enter again into communion with ourselves. To rekindle the awareness of our interconnectedness, to act as if our actions make a difference. Because they do.
We have been conditioned to think we are in the full know of how everything will go, while we are distracted from everything other than our immediate external. We have a false sense of immortality in this life. As a species we seem to struggle to comprehend the magnitude of the impact we are having on the Earth. Although, deep down, we do know, we just don’t want to face the music. We want to stay comfortable and continue to do everything we like to do. We want to eat out of season food on the go, we want to travel to interesting far away places, we want to have everyday comforts. I know I do. We want to control our lives as much as possible so we feel “safe”. We are now forced to sit with the Mystery, the Unknown. This virus has put us directly into the liminal space where the unconscious is being revealed, where all transformation takes place, and that is a terrifying place to be. No one knows what will come of this, but with this perspective the message seems very clear.
An apocalypse doesn’t have to be “something from the movies” that relates to zombies and the end of humanity. It can be a gift, a nudge, or a profound slap in the face from something that is far greater than us. It is something that must happen in order for our reality to fully reveal itself. It will unveil the mindless ways of being that bring so much harm to ourselves, to others, to Earth. It unveils the weakness of the systems we give away our power to. It opens up space and time for us finally to reflect, reconsider and create the change we want within ourselves and in turn within our society.
And this is the thing – We ALL need to dig deeper into ourselves than ever before and answer these deep existential questions from a place of radical truth. What do we want our contribution to be in this? What world do we want to live in, and do we have the courage to create it? Are we willing to step up, out of our comfort zone and try something new? Or something old, for that matter? To me, the idea of going back to the “old ways” seems like an intriguing path to follow. Food and essentials created by small interrelated communities. Spending our time growing and making our things, rather than working on a computer to earn the money to buy our things from elsewhere. More time on the land and in connection to what is around us. Having more space and time for the sacred. I don’t mean going back to the stone age, I just mean walking on the Earth a little lighter, a little more considerate and a little more empowered than before.
I do not think there is a chance to completely restore absolute harmony in this world – I think that’s a far fetched fantasy. We live in a world of chaos. The human condition is chaos. There always has been chaos, there always will be chaos, all we can control is how we react to that chaos. But this is a time of death of many ways of being and thinking in the world. And with this death comes rebirth, and with this rebirth comes the opportunity to really listen, to learn from what didn’t feel right, to move through life with the ability to make positive change in a way that feels intuitively true to ourselves. This is a choice we are blessed to have. And when it comes to the end of our life, we may have made our own small yet significant personal positive impact on our world. So if this is the opportunity that is being opened up in this challenging time of uncertainty, I welcome the apocalypse.
My thoughts and well wishes go out to everyone who is face to face with the pandemic, those with sick loved ones, those who are sick themselves. Those who have lost their livelihood and will continue to struggle long after this is over. May we gain resources from our personal practices, listen to our own needs and shed light on situations and people who need it most. May we move through fear with love.
– Ciara Sherlock
– Laura Karimloo (photography)