Home Covid-19 We Are All in a Boat, But Not in the Same Boat
Photo by Francesco Tommasini on Unsplash

We Are All in a Boat, But Not in the Same Boat

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What can we learn from the crisis , and how can we come stronger out of the corona crisis?

“We are all in the same boat now.”

– Yes, that is partly true:

We are in a boat, or on a ship.

We are on board the spaceship Earth, which sails through the infinite space.

And a storm has hit us, an emergency.

We are all in the same storm, but we are not all in the same boat.

And the storm, the state of emergency, strikes us differently, depending on what kind of boat we sit in.

Photo by Joris Beugels on Unsplash

We are all onboard different boats. Some have a luxury yacht, others have a sailboat, a cabin cruiser, some have a boat that is large and sturdy and that can protect against the strong gale force coming.

Others sit in a rowboat, a small dinghy or canoe. Or they have no boat at all, but lie on an old floating mattress out on the sea and the air is about to leave the floating mattress.

Some are standing up to their throats in the water, and are about to drown if nothing happens.

In many ways, this current crisis can be a good picture of how life in general is, with injustice, insane wealth and lavish luxury for some, reasonably good material conditions for many of us, and bottomless poverty and grief that characterize the lives of many others.

This may be a picture of the life of mankind, as it is in the 21st century.

On the night of April 14, 1912, four days after leaving Southampton, the Titanic struck an iceberg off the coast of Newfoundland and sank.

There has always existed big differences in the world, differences between poor and rich, differences between us who are doing well and many others who are not doing so well.

Distribution of good and wealth has never been fair and there is perhaps little hope that we can manage to change what is unfair in the world, at least not now in this new situation. Now, many rich - as well as former - can live in isolation and safety behind their murans in society, while most people have to live trapped inside their apartments.

But it is still a bright spot now in the midst of a serious crisis that we can all of a sudden see that we are all in the same storm - if not in the same boat - we are all exposed to the same virus threat and we must all adjust in relation to the same demands of the governing powers.

So what can we do in this situation? One thing is what we can do as an individual, and another thing is what we can do as a group. The last thing - to act as a group - is enormously extensive and demanding, but if we are today based on the individual, many bright points are found for the person who knows how to search.

While we are locked inside the quarantine or in isolation, or even under lighter restrictions - there is unbelievably much we can do ourselves to ease the pressure. We can change the little things in our lives that we ourselves have the power to change. We can focus on those closest to us, those we are happy with, and whom we intuitively want to protect. And we must also focus on ourselves, and what people can do best for themselves to come out of the universal crisis.

We can, for example, twist on President John F. Kennedy’s famous words:

Don’t ask what society can do for you,

but what you can do for yourself and your loved ones

in this state of emergency!

Can we manage to get something positive out of this difficult situation?

For many, it’s mostly about keeping yourself and the craft floating as best you can.

But we must by all means avoid getting stuck in the new situation.

There is one thing everyone can do, and to stop and focus on one’s own situation and positive opportunities. It is not easy, but at least it is possible.

I know that in many countries there are so many inequalities and injustices that it is almost utopian to get something done with everything that is unfair.

What is important to understand is that we do not have to fall asleep in a dull state in which one is neither physically nor mentally active. There is a danger today that many more, who previously lived active lives, are now becoming passive in front of the television, computer screen or mobile phone. The TV stands on all the time, the same does the computer screen, and on the mobile we scroll up and down in almost indisputable search for something we do not know.

We sit and glance at our screens without actually perceiving what is happening. Apathy and passivity are our worst enemies in these times.

We have to get out of this situation, out of the role of being trapped inside the four walls. We may be forced to stay inside, but we are not compelled to force ourselves into passivity. We have to take that choice as best and when we now discover that these options are the best, this is something new. There are possibilities in all situations, it’s just to move, create a movement in the mind and a change in the body, and not pretend like there are some fine invisible ropes in the room that holds you tight.

Change!

Change is the key word.

We can achieve new peace through change. We can now paint ours in the city to feel free and trapped.

Change is learning, change is alpha and omega, change means everything.

Change means movement. There is learning in getting out, instead of being stuck inside like in a prison. It is normal to feel bound, trapped in the corona situation. But there is no need to stay there, in mental captivity.

It is our own individual and personal responsibility to free ourselves from this prison. It is your personal, unique responsibility to take certain steps to bring about change.

We must act as an individual, as a free individual! The action room is first and foremost in you, and not out there in the group room, the community.

As a group, we can change things later, when we again have the peace and power to protest. We cannot today storm the bastions to those who have taken away our freedom. Today is the time to turn your eyes inward, and toward your loved ones, those you love and who love you. And not least is the time right now to turn your eyes on yourself, your best positive qualities, and how you can take care of and develop yourself within the framework that is now given. You can take a closer look at yourself and think about: What can I do to come out of this crisis, as a better version - a better version of yourself?

Since we are in this state of emergency it may be easier than usual to make changes, better solutions to what we are doing in the daily routine. For example, we can say that we should now spend time thinking through our own situation and the opportunities we have. What can we choose from? And what can we do that will cause life to change for us better? Is there a choice we can make that will put us in a better position later, when the crisis is less dramatic?

How should we think about coming out stronger and not weakened by the situation?

How should we think about being better with ourselves and not be negatively affected by being in this situation?

What is possible for us to do that we would otherwise not have the opportunity to do in a normal situation?

How is it possible to create new things, what is possible when it comes to changing quality relationships with those closest to you?

What is possible when it comes to getting in better shape and feeling better? What is important to get better health in this situation, and not poorer health?

What can we do to lift ourselves and lift those who are near us?

We have many thoughts every day, we almost always think. I think maybe thousands of thoughts every single day. It is very often thoughts that are volatile and that get lost before I can remember. We think of many thoughts that seem to be of little help, but we can also think of thoughts that are very important because they help us make other and important choices, the choices that become a reality for our lives.

Habits and routines

Getting out of the habits and routines that hold us back is extremely important.

What exactly can we do to bring about change when we are in a locked position or situation?

We can think. We can stop and reflect.

We can read articles, essays, poems, books. That way, we can have new thoughts, we can get better thoughts, thoughts that help us feel better in the situation we need to be in. We can read books that give us insight into what others have experienced, in the second think, in the other feel.

We can explore music in new ways, we can listen to new and different music, or we can look at the relationship between music and words, between languages, music and feelings.

There are always many lines of connection between words and music and our language and emotions, and exploring it can be very exciting.

Or we can explore the arts. We can look at visual arts, we can gain insights into and visit works of art across the whole world, art in virtual spaces we can enter.

And we can write a diary - a diary that is completely private and that you write just for yourself, where you write about what you experience. Or you can write for an imaginary reader, or for a real reader, a friend you trust completely and from whom you want feedback. - Or you can write a diary that you might want to publish because you have a message that the world must share.

You can use this exceptional situation to change your habits, to get you new and good habits. For example, if you decide to take care of your body, maybe go for a half-hour walk each day. Half an hour a day will do extraordinarily well for your body, and it can over time make you feel better, it will help you live better and maybe longer. This applies to almost all forms of physical activity and exercise. You will thank yourself if you get started with daily exercise, and manage to keep you going.

Another thing that is very important at this time is your diet. Many of us all have more or less poor diets. In this time we can easily be tempted to eat unhealthy food. Thus, we can get an unhealthy diet and put on weight. We are in worse shape than we were before this crisis started. It’s important to get started with other types of menu suggestions, other types of foods that may be healthy and good for you.

It’s about trying to create new habits for yourself.

Key words in the new situation are change, - change, and awareness of what you are good at. A good challenge may be to be without alcohol for a period of time, for example, for a month or two, or as long as the crisis lasts?

The important thing in this new situation, is that we cannot do many of the same things as before in the same way

It is you yourself who are in the driver’s seat and who have the power to decide how to handle your situation.

You can open your mind, you can look at yourself with a new eye because you are in this new situation, a situation of restrictions, but the crisis also gives new opportunities, opportunities that you may not have used earlier, opportunities that are always there and which can always help further from wherever you are. You can think of new ways of living in the daily life - for example, as mentioned, you can change your physical activity, get started with regular exercise, or you may need to refurbish your home or change the way you live your hours in your home. For example, you can spend time cleaning to make sure everything is neat and tidy, and you can do this because you now have time for it.

You can also use this new state of emergency once again to connect with new people, new people around you or far away. You can write, as we do here at medium.com, e.g. write letters to people you haven’t contacted in a long time, or to unknown ones who may want to contact you.

We are in a fortunate situation, because we can talk to others via the internet, write and share stories, poems, thoughts - everything we want to share with others, online letters, messages via sms or also in the comments, and not least by e-mail.

It is when I think such thoughts and write this that it dawns on me:

– the restrictions are first and foremost

in my own head!

We don’t need to drown ourselves if the boat seems to be going down. But we may have to move to a new boat.

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Øivind H. Solheim
Manager and CEO of Kompetanse Vest. Former language teacher in Upper Secondary Education and an adult education manager, now a full-time writer, based in Bergen, Norway. Øivind writes articles and essays on personal development, love, and relationships, writing, nature, hiking, philosophical questions, mindfulness, the world, our future. He also writes novels, poetry, short fiction, and experimental texts. Published five books, four novels, and a poetry book and a French school book, creator of online courses in writing and French language learning. Leads Kompetanse Vest partnerships in various European collaboration projects in the field of adult education, competence development, and life long learning. Øivind's passion is writing, hiking, nature, photography – he is interested in teaching, conveying insights in competence development, intelligent aging, quality relationships, future, personal development, automation, AI, and the impact of modern technologies on our economy and society. You can read more on this here: https://medium.com/@oivind47 Øivind writes in English, Norwegian, French, and German. He has over the last 40 years published articles, essays, and poems in various publications, for the last two years also more than 600 stories on Medium.com.

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