The end of the world (as we know it)


It’s a challenging time for everyone – some countries more than others. Here in South Africa, the fear was lingering for a while, but it was still largely ‘business as usual’. The panic really set in on Sunday night, when our president declared a state of disaster – with numerous measures being implemented as a result.

And, while it’s easy to get swept up in the mass hysteria, panic, and fear – the reality is that what we focus on is what gets magnified in our psyche. Taking in the constant news and latest developments only makes it feel like the entire world is falling apart.

But that’s not true at all.

Look outside: the sun still shines; the birds still sing; nature – in all its glory – is still there. Sure, humans are behaving differently. But we always have something going on – whether on a personal scale or as global as this virus.

We’ve been through wars, economic crises, natural disasters, and a whole lot more. But we adapt. And the situation always passes. And, hopefully, we learn something – take some kind of benefit – from the affliction.

Though it can feel like everything is spiralling out of control, if you look for the silver linings, you’ll see them.

People have been forced to take a break from their normal ways of life – giving more mental space for reflection and introspection.

The proverbial rat race – which many likely would not have escaped by their own efforts – is on hold.

We get to stay home – allowing more time for family bonding, exercise, and indulging in activities that feed our personal well-being – whether that’s spiritual, mental, physical, or otherwise. (That’s if we don’t simply increase the time spent on entertainment.)

The environment has time to heal – getting a welcome break from the pollution we inflict on the planet with our normal travel and industrial activities.

And while it’s scary to think of what may happen, and it’s difficult to plan for a future when we have no idea when this will all end, if we take it one day at a time…try to live in the moment…things become easier.

So, yes…it is the end of the world – as we know it. And there are – and will be – difficulties. 

But it’s also an opportunity to see things differently. To make changes – in this precious period of pause – that will give us a richer, more fulfilling life once this all ends.

Whether that’s a stronger connection to your Creator (or deeper spirituality, if that fits your beliefs better), a healthier lifestyle, a better work-life balance, a greater focus on your own well-being, or anything else…this is the time to change your future.

Make sure you don’t lose the opportunity. You may never live to see another…

And the people stayed home. And they read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still. And they listened more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. Some met their shadows. And the people began to think differently. And the people healed. And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal. And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live, and they healed the earth fully, as they had been healed.

(The words from the image above are from In the Time of Pandemic, by Kitty O’Meara. Note that there is a claim that it’s a translation of an Italian poem by Irene Vella, but that isn’t true. It’s crucial to always credit people for their work…and the author has formally clarified it on her blog here.)

Intro image source

The abridged, visual version of this post (below) is also available on Instagram.

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10 thoughts on “The end of the world (as we know it)

  1. Nice, Yacoob! I agree with you completely. In some ways people are over-reacting, and other people aren’t reacting enough. As with everything, staying calm and being logical, aiming to do the right things, is the best.

    There are absolutely silver-linings. And your sense of perspective about the fact that there’s ALWAYS something, always suffering going on, is also something that I’ve kept in my mind. There’s always sufferings going on from outside of your community circle. And you simply don’t need to be burdened with the entire world’s problems. Look out for yourself and those around you, and enjoy the opportunity as much as you can :). It is certainly an interesting time!

    I think one of the big benefits, will be the reminder that there are things greater than humanity, and that we can’t take things for granted. My perspective of the Earth being in the big universe has always been very valuable for that— to keep me humble, and to not stress too much about the human world, and human-created problems. It helps to guide me on how I should spent my time! What’s important and what’s not. 👍

    • Yes…for all the technological progress and grand feats humans can boast of, it’s a reminder of our utter weakness and helplessness in reality…that we are not masters of the universe, and that there’s anything Greater Power that we simply cannot wish away because we think we’re so advanced.

      • 👍, yes! For sure. It’s a little terrifying how delicate life is, though 😆.

      • To be fair, life has always been delicate. We’re just heedless of it because we live comfortably without a visible, imminent threat. It takes a tragedy to wake us up into consciousness…

      • Yes, totally agree. What I really meant was that, we also can’t keep it too much in our minds, because that would paralyse us. The precariousness of life and society has caused me anxiety for many years, and has been a big factor in my motivation and in shaping how I spend time, and the goals that I have.

        So a certain amount of delusionment is definitely necessary. But the extent to which things like careers, future plans and technological systems are taken for granted, has always made me uncomfortable.

  2. An excellent post.

    As you said, it may be the end of the world as we know it. But not the end of everything. I believe it will take a lot more than a single virus to ruin humankind. Though the existence of the virus HAS shown up the general lack of humanity in some people. (Looking at you, selfish hoarders).

    I love the extract that you added too. Fits perfectly with what you’re saying.

  3. Now, you got me singing that song. You’re right that for many people this is a time for rest (and a test!) and to put things on hold… but for a lot of other people, who don’t have the luxury of working from home, this is pretty devastating. I wish the people who truly need to learn the lesson that we are all in this together do, but I fear they won’t. This will be a test of our collective efforts of whether creation (human and non) comes before profit. But the way the US is acting at least, it doesn’t seem like we’re passing it.

    • Sorry about that….it’s been playing in my head for the last few days 😉

      It’s actually ironic that for many it is a rest, and then for me, and others like me, it’s even busier. Working remotely has been far more productive (but also more demanding) than being in the physical work space…so there isn’t that rest – except for an adjustment of times.

      I haven’t yet seen the disaster of businesses closing down, because it’s relatively new here. But it can easily go that way. We’re already under tremendous pressure with our electricity woes (which have ruined many businesses)…so this could be like the final nail in the coffin for some.

      As for your country…well, don’t worry. It’ll all magically disappear when the weather gets warmer 😉

      • Oh for sure. My husband has been very busy this week. He works in healthcare, so that’s to be expected. I’m not sure if the drop during warmer weather is substantiated at this point. That could happen… but there’s also precedent that once the weather gets colder again, it may be back with a vengeance. Of course, even the best scientists can’t know for sure. I’m doing my best to not get too anxious about what may or may not happen.

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