I hope this message finds you well. And I hope, too, that you’re finding some support for yourself and others in your mindfulness practice, whatsoever that might look like for you at the moment. These are complicated emotional times for many of us, if not for all, and there is no shame in accepting that we might need a little extra support to help us get through, or to bolster us enough to be able to help others as we would like.
Judging by the messages I’ve been receiving over the last week or so, I’m guessing that quite a few of us are now trying to come to terms with the sensations and feelings that emerge as the ‘lock down’ eases and more people are moving out of isolation into something that resembles society once again. Of course, that emergence, such as it is, is far from being a return to ‘normality,’ whatever that might mean for you. The virus that occasioned this lock down has not vanished, and people are still at risk, especially the more vulnerable segments of the population. Our responsibilities to each other are not eased just because the terms of our lock downs have eased. Indeed, the more freely we move through the streets and stores and pathways of our world, the greater our responsibility to be mindful of our responsibilities to others and ourselves. Ironically, frustrating and disorienting as it may have been, being shut into our homes for the last weeks made our movements much simpler, since we were not endangering people with our actions while sealed behind our doors and windows.
It seems that there are two main themes to your messages this week: ...
First of all, my apologies for taking an extra few days to write this email. As for many of you, I know, this has been a challenging time for me as well. So, I’m a little behind with things. Many thanks for your patience and understanding.
The last week or so has seen some big changes for many people, as the conditions of ‘lock down’ have eased in many countries around the world. Perhaps you are one of the people impacted by this change, and perhaps you’re not. Whichever is the case for you, it’s good for all of us to remember that the easing of ‘lock down’ restrictions is not the same as the ending of the pandemic – it’s simply a change in the way we’re living with it.
Judging by some of the emails I’ve received, I’m going to guess that the significance of this change is going to take a little while to settle. On the one hand, for some people, the easing of restrictions feels like hope; I’ve had a few messages that spoke of the beginning of a return to ‘normality’ (whatever that turns out to be). On the other hand, for some people, the easing of restrictions feels like anxiety; even without clear progress on a vaccine or a cure, many people now feel obliged to be outside amongst other people...
During the 2020/21 COVID19 pandemic, Chris Goto-Jones started writing periodic emails to the participants of the MOOC DeMystifying Mindfulness on Coursera and FutureLearn. Following requests to put them all in one place, they are reproduced here.