There seems to be a lot of energy in the news at the moment. Items that don’t just pass through but instead have a form of “stickiness”, which means they accumulate and connect to leave us with a sense of unease, something I have described in other posts as a ‘quickening.”
Energy prices, inflation, winter flu, product shortages – the sort of low-level threat that it is easy to conflate and amplify out of proportion. When that happens, we need to be grounded and connected to something that puts them back into proportion so we can see them for what they are.
It’s an old but powerful adage that we don’t see things as they are; we see them as we are. As a result, how we feel, our sense of self-worth, the people we surround ourselves with, and what we pay attention to determines our world and what we do.
What drew me to this thought was a series of conversations organised by Sightlines Initiative, a small, passionate group of early years educators. Speakers included Iain McGilchrist and Satish Kumar. For me, the recurring theme was one of connection – how children connect to each other, to adults, the natural world around them, and their communities.
Of course, we were all children once, or if not, we probably know one… They are what curiosity looks like before our ideas of education get hold of us and supplant curiosity with ready-made truths and processes. I sometimes think Pavlov would be impressed at the degree to which we humans have developed unthinking reactions to stimuli. Marketers ring the bell, and we react.
As travel reactions are eased a little, the travel bookings today have soared, even though we can hear clearly the drumbeat of damage done by carbon emissions and the knowledge that the potential of novel virus variants is still present. All this despite having right now the most glorious autumn weather. I wonder why it is so difficult to appreciate what we have in front of us? What is it about the way we live that drives such an immediate response to escape it?
It brings me back to connections and our awareness of them. Joining the dots between what we do and the broader consequences beyond immediate gratification.
Awareness requires the time to reflect, even if only momentarily, on what we are doing. We have had more time to do that during lockdowns.
As we travel more, and our diaries become more loaded, we are losing those opportunities to reflect just at the time when we need them most.
When there is so much energy in the system, small changes can have much bigger consequences.
When we can sense a quickening, it is time to turn up our curiosity, turn down our automatic reactions, and talk about it.