“There are times when the collective climate becomes denser. The conversations are full of regrets, worry and projections of a chaotic and uncertain future. It is logical. Staying afloat, with a peaceful spirit, becomes just another job, with a level of demand that is sometimes unsustainable.
After the shock of recent times, there are processes that have not yet been completed. As the Argentine sociologist Guillermo Olivetto described it a few days ago, we are imploding within our homes, and within ourselves, I would add. Individual and collective fatigue can lead us to moments of irritation, anguish and restlessness. We have the alerts on the surface.”
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These paragraphs are part of a publication called “Staying afloat, staying the course and avoiding temptation.” I wrote it for this same space in 2021, when the pandemic and all the consequences we suffered was almost the only possible topic. Its validity impacts me and that forces me to take perspective.
Many of us feel that we are living something similar to that time. Although the scenarios are different, there are many emotions that return like old acquaintances. Restriction, restlessness, the lack of certainties, the redoubling of efforts and the shock of a reality that we longed for to be different.
Isolation and pandemic (Photo: Adobe Stock)
“We have already suffered better things than this,” a colleague told me this week, invoking the famous Los Redondos song. And she was right.
Even in the time of pandemic, we have thought the same. Throughout our lives we went through many moments of individual and collective crisis. And yet, we are still here.
Of all the cracks we are a part of and also try to avoid, there is one even bigger. From what position are we going to go through this time?
On the one hand, there are people who can observe today and make future projections that worsen the internal and external collapse. With complete reason and coherence they could embody this tiredness of living from crisis to crisis. Even those of us who try to stand somewhere else fall there at times.
Helplessness, frustration, anger and hopelessness play their part and nullify all the possibilities that can emerge in the midst of this new vital tension.
The truth is that there are infinite positions from which we can observe the same reality and that can help us go through the inevitable, whatever that may be for each of us, from a better place. One of them is, precisely, this same reminder. We have been through many moments that can be described the same and we survived. We return from those moments with more tools, with resources, with unsuspected strengths and with some fundamental certainties. Those are the ones that we now urgently need to remember.
If we allow ourselves to be taken over by restriction, boredom, anger and fear, our impotence will only worsen.
What did we learn in the last collective crisis? What was essential? What brought us back to the axis? What was it that kept us alive in all the dimensions of that word? What promises did we make?
“One of the fragments that has left its mark on our collective unconscious is the image of the 'siren song' and the way in which he avoided dying enchanted by its melodies. Thanks to the advice of the great sorceress Circe, Odysseus asked his sailors to tie his hands and feet to the mast of his ship and forced each of them to plug their ears with wax so that they could not hear anything.
You have to hold on to weather the storm. (Photo: Adobe Stock)
Sometimes, just as he did, we need to close our ears and tie our hands and feet to a symbolic mast. We must find a support that prevents us from falling into deep waters. It becomes urgent to stop listening to the hypnotic voices that encourage us to give up, those that confuse us with false promises or those that try to push us to abandon our own ship.
When the atmosphere becomes rarefied and filled with disturbing messages, suspending listening is not a lack of commitment nor is it a course of action. Turning a deaf ear to the hypnotic songs that tempt us towards a superfluous good or an inevitable evil becomes an act of internal survival. Only in this way will it be possible to stay afloat in spirit. By silencing what makes us lose our balance, we can sustain the desire, the passion, the purpose and the vision.
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Sometimes the siren songs are internal. “Every time we connect with our shadows, with the wound, with self-demand and with dissatisfaction, we create, compulsively and without awareness, harmful thoughts,” she wrote at that time. I thought it was pertinent to share it again.
“With everything we have been through for some time now, being whole and afloat is a feat in itself. Sometimes, to move forward without succumbing to the temptation of shortcuts or meaninglessness, we must cover our ears like the sailors on Odysseus's crew. To steer our ship, we will need support, and for nothing to distract our vision of the horizon, of what is beyond. Even knowing that 'and the further I go, the farther it is, the faster I go, the further it goes', just as Joan Manuel Serrat sings, the journey itself is worth it. It is worth it for ourselves and it is vindicated when we can converge, the paths that find us with many more.”
These times seem the same, but they are not. Because? Because we are not. We know it: “I change and everything changes.” We have not gone through so much, in vain. We just have to remember and encourage ourselves to recognize those learnings and certainties that we already know are in us to transform them into a new starting point.
We need to put all our tools to work.
So be it.