How the lockdown has made us think about what is really important.

Manon Tromp 

In the beginning of the lockdown, which really forced most of us to slow down, I already saw the opportunities for necessary changes that we could do to make this world a better place. Our fast-paced living, the inequality and unhealthy lifestyles had been causing more and more stress. We have never had such a high number of mental health cases and a growing number of people with cancer and other diseases. Life was good for some, but not very good for a lot of others. How could we keep that up? The truth is, we could not. Something was going to blow up in our faces to make us aware that this is not the way to continue. So, the virus came: caused by our disrespectful way of how we treat the earth and ourselves. 

As long as the focus is on economy and money, we will not thrive. Some people will, because they are very good at working the system, but most of us are trapped in a rat-race that has become out of control. This is the opportunity to start focussing on wellbeing, this is the moment in time that we need to make a change. 

I asked the question ‘What would you like to change” to some of my friends and family and some came back with some short answers and others with longer ones. I have collected their replies and I hope you will get inspired to think about what you would like to change yourself. 

Your question what would I change… Well thinking about it maybe I would change my life for me to be able to just be, quiet, in nature, part of nature, doing more of the things I love to do…. Marg Barnes

I would change that the world remains calmer and still as it is now to help mother earth – Lea Hurst Lewis 

I would change the economic system and give everybody a basic income. From there new and beautiful initiatives Will rise. Amber Martens

I’d do the same! And give everyone a better work/life balance, and a higher basic wage for a better quality of life. Holly Mazillius

If I could change one thing, I’d be braver. Claire Butterfield

 If I could change something, I will chose change how days and years are counting to be more flowing moments with everything and everyone. Karla Siqueira

Lynne Sedgemore – Glastonbury  In this lockdown period I have already decided to slow down, to spend more time in nature, and more time with my family and close friends.I choose to be kinder, to support those in need and to honour and nourish the land through activism and sacred ritual. Mother Earth is our solace and our salvation – respecting her will be at the centre of my life.

Marion Brigantia – Glastonbury  A New Earth – A World of Balance – The concept of a ‘new Earth’ has been a thought, an idea, that has been present most of my life. It was as if echoes of it came through every now and again. ‘It’s the end of the world as we know it’– one of the REM songs, that sounded ominous when I first heard it, but also a bit like a promise. ‘We are the ones we’ve been waiting for’– wow, that hit me hard when I first heard it said by ‘Little Grandmother’ Kiesha Crowther. It was as if a sixth sense picked up on these foretelling’s, whenever I encountered them. So, is this it then? Is this the big change, the shift into another dimension, the Age of Aquarius? And if I am the change I have been waiting for, what part do I have to play in these times?

Actually, I feel I have been part of the change, ever since I can remember and I am not alone. The first shift towards the new times, happened in the sixties, with the Flower power and Hippy movement. I have always seen that as the beginning of the end of our patriarchal structures and I so wished I would have been born earlier to have been able to be part of that. Still I experienced the ripples of it especially on a spiritual level. The idea of love as the main focus for the religious experience came directly from this movement. That combined with the second wave of feminism, opened a portal to the revival of a new spirituality embracing the divine as feminine, as Goddess. This embrace, strengthened by the archaeological findings and writings of visionaries like Marija Gimbutas, birthed a new movement in the world, the Goddess Movement. 

The Goddess Movement was birthed in different places around the Globe, but I discovered it through the teachings of Kathy Jones, who founded the Goddess Temple and Goddess Conference in Glastonbury, UK – also known as Avalon. The energy of Avalon and the opportunity to be part of the Goddess Movement in Glastonbury, called me to move from The Netherlands to the Isles of Brigit, to follow my heart/soul longing and become a fulltime priestess. And so it happened. I have been building up my work as Priestess since 2009 and am now the tutor of the Brighde-Brigantia trainings, co-organiser of The annual Goddess Conference in Glastonbury, one of the four female sacred-tour guides at Mystical Earth Tours, Ceremonialist and workshop facilitator for groups and individuals, I conduct healing and oracle card reading sessions and offer other spiritual work following whatever people need.

This is how I feel I am already part of the change. I know that a big part of the change will be about reclaiming the divine feminine, Goddess, the feminine principle in our lives, our communities and society. This has been the goal of the Priestesses here in Avalon from the beginning. To create a culture shift towards balance. Because society has been so patriarchal, orientated on the masculine principles, we are still far way away from that balance. People sometimes ask me why I do not work with ‘the God’. I personally do, in my own way I have found my inner balance. As a priestess however I work towards that change and focus solely on Goddess, because She still has a long, long way to go to become as present as God is, in the awareness of everyone in all the cultures of the World. I feel that when this balance is really felt, understood and lived, the bigger change in behaviour and actions will follow naturally.  

Marisa Picardo – Glastonbury  In this time of early stages of lockdown, it’s difficult to know what will become, I hope and prayer for a different paradigm shift … I would wish for a basic universal credit for all citizens, so no one should starve. Given that the world has temporarily stopped and most cars and air traffic have ceased, I hope we can shift and adopt ways to save our ecosystem and environment and that we shift into a radical transformation of our consciousness.  We currently have an opportunity to reconnect with life, with nature, as most of us have an enforced slowing down. when we come through this, lets us clean the waters, clean our airs, and grow or buy quality food for all without pesticides.  For me what’s important is connection, food, shelter, loving-kindness, equality, honesty and letting go of consumerism and systems that are doing harm… I want to bring in peace and ease to everyone. Dreaming human beings into balance with the earth. 

Alison Scobie – Glastonbury In terms of a personal change that I am making I have been looking at ways to be more productive in my daily life. I figured if I could be more productive and work more efficiently, I would be able to free up time and energy allowing me to focus on things that are truly important to my wellbeing; supporting friends, connecting with nature and protecting our environment. 

The first tip I could implement reasonably easily while the second is slightly more challenging and is a work in progress: Finding my natural rhythm

To do this I first listened to my body and mind by taking a minute every couple of hours and asking both what they needed. I kept a note of this for about a month and then discovered some patterns. I discovered that I was more mentally active during the first half of the day, had a dip in both mental and physical energy around 3pm every afternoon and felt more physically active in evening.  

As a result, I am in a much better position to plan my daily tasks. I now try to plan tasks that require creativity of thinking in the first half of the day, take an additional break around 3pm to rest or to take a walk and then plan to complete the more mundane daily tasks in the late afternoon/early evening. I certainly feel more productive and less tired in the process. Of course, it is not always possible to stick to the plan but I now realise that I am not going to be able to journey through the day at my own rhythm and can prepare for this. E.g., I may prepare my meals the evening before.

Stop procrastinating I have always known that procrastination is one of my main vices and I have a tendency to leave everything to the last minute. Upon reflection, I realised that this was because some tasks seemed too big, or I had too much on my plate that I had no idea where to start. I then feel guilty and beat myself up at the end of the day for not doing anything. To remedy this I have started to break down every job into smaller bite sized tasks that I can complete easily and quickly. By applying my natural rhythm, I can also plan the best times to work on them. At the end of the day, I can look back with pride as I am ticking off all the tasks I completed. 

Amber Stefels – Amsterdam The Netherlands I would like to see a change in the rules of student finance. In my country almost everyone starts with a large study debt when they have finished studying. When I started about 10 years ago, I got very small basic grant, because my dad earned too much money. I was already living on my own and therefore had more costs. I couldn’t do a part-time job besides my studies, because I didn’t have the time for that. So, I had to borrow from the state. Nowadays you have to borrow everything. I find this really ridiculous. My generation is already earning less money than previous generations and now you start your career with a debt and job security is uncertain. It is often not possible to save in order to buy a house. Everything gets more expensive every year, but your salary stays the same. Finding a job is difficult. I would like the government to do something about this. The loans must stop and everyone who studies must be entitled to at least 800 euros per month without having to pay it back. It will make it easier for young people to buy a house. Also, all student debt of graduates should be waived.

Another important change is that there should be more teaching on the topic of taxes and finances. I have never understood anything about this and I got into debt with the tax authorities. There are many rules and you have to be very careful that you fill in the correct information or report a change. This also causes many young people to get into trouble. This should become a subject in high school. I’m almost 30 myself and I still don’t understand. When you call them, they often explain in a difficult language that you do not become any wiser. I would immediately use my voting right if anyone would put this on the agenda. 

Katrina Billings – Bristol  Some things I would implement to change the world – here are my 3 wishes: 

  1. improving people’s lives by giving everyone a living wage. This could be paid for by penalties on people who put their money into offshore accounts to dodge taxes. Give all health workers a rise that matches those of MP’s. 
  2. Place more importance on preventative medicine and the maintenance of good health. This follows on from the first one as if people can actually afford to live then they will be healthier. 
  3. Give everyone some land to grow their own food – even if it is a small patch. Eating locally grown food is better for people’s health, for the planet and for the economy. 

The changes I have implemented since the lockdown are: 

Because I’m self-isolating my life has become much simpler. I make do with what I have and mend things that I might have thrown away. Since the lockdown I’ve mended holes in two bedsheets and repaired a load of my underwear. Owning a sewing machine has been my joy. At first not being able to pop to the shops was hard but I’ve learned to depend on others to help me get the things I have to have and to be grateful for whatever they can get. 

I spend much more time practicing meditation, yoga and praying – I’ve started chanting mantras daily and am recognising their power. I read more and go to bed earlier and get up early. I don’t have TV but listen to podcasts and the radio a little bit more. 

Making sure I keep in touch with friends and family and appreciating lovely memories of past times with them all. Every week my family has a family quiz with child friendly questions. Memories have been big in my life since lockdown and have kept me entertained. Next, I want to start writing them down.

Roz Bound – Canada As we evolve in transition between this world and the next, we are experiencing so many different feelings and emotions affecting our decision making and creativity – grief, anger, fear and maybe some excitement, trepidation and curiosity.  I believe that there are two basic emotions – love and fear – and they manifest in so many different ways.  Those of us  privileged enough to spend time in our isolated corners in deep reflection ( ‘privileged’ because millions are struggling to survive physically in very crowded quarters and spending time in solitary reflection must be impossible) have been thinking about what all this means – what lessons can we take personally from this tragic experience?  And , how do we move forward? What changes do we make in our own lives, knowing that every word, deed and action has a response?  Knowing that if we want to see change ‘out there,’ in this new non-dual world, we need to make change ‘in here.’  We are at a huge turning point that we cannot ignore.

‘Out there,’ I would like to see us not basing our existence on economy but on the holistic wellness of all beings – humans, four-legged, finned, winged, crawlers and green.  I would like to see a safe, healthy place for every sentient being in the world, that all those currently disenfranchised have homes, food, education, that every single person is treated fairly, not judged or exploited, but accepted with gratitude for who they are and how they contribute to the whole.  I’d like to see an equitable sharing globally, and in supported local community.  We need to be at one with Mother Earth, sharing Her values of compassion, cooperation and collaboration.  Every sentient being, every growing, living thing, has worth and contributes to the whole.  That demands a strict response to climate devastation, a rebuild of global partnerships, trading and economy, government and legislation, our capitalist hierarchy and our personal consumerism.​

How can I go about this?  Instead of giving up in the face of a seemingly impossible task, I know I have to start with me:  start in my home, by supporting local enterprise and embracing arts and spirituality in my own community; be very conscious of my words, silent and spoken, and their impact; sharing what I can, increasing generosity of my talents and spirit; watching my purchasing habits – buying local, reuse, recycle, etc; supporting responsible manufacturers, not those who exploit; cooperating with nature and delighting in Her beauty.  Be responsible for my own life, how it is fed, healed and assimilated into the One. This calls for a practice of ego-witnessing and being awake in all relationships.  ​

My beloved partner posted this in the kitchen a long time ago.  By Charles Eisenstein, it fits here. If we all lived this way change will be reflected back, and then this isolation time, this saturation of illness and death, this incipient fear and grief that haunts our nights, will not be in vain:   ​

‘Every act a ceremony.  Every word a prayer.  Every walk a pilgrimage.  Every place a shrine.’ ​

A Big Thank you to all who have contributed: Lets be the change you want to see in the world!