Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

Our whole world has changed dramatically in a very short space of time due to the current COVID19 pandemic. Even when communications were issued initially many of us couldn’t imagine the virus hitting us as hard as it has. It was only as stories & footage were shared from China and Italy that we really saw the effects of this pandemic on our world as we know it… This has since become or new normal, whereby we learn from the mistakes made by other nations, and maintain social distance while trying to stay connected.

There is a see-saw of emotions, going from annoyance with those not staying at home as requested by government – to pride on seeing volunteers and communities rally to those in need; going from disbelief when looking at initial reactions of US & UK government – to one of admiration for so many healthcare workers globally making so many sacrifices so that they can serve and look after us; going from grief to have lost our physical social connectedness – to relief to have some time to just stay at home and just be (for many, granted, not for all); going from guilt due to thinking this was a glorified flu initially – to annoyance of those who aren’t respecting social distancing as time progresses and the message is very clear.

This pandemic which has brought about much suffering has also brought out many heart-warming aspects of humanity which has lifted our spirits. We’ve witnessed singing from balconies, a tsunami of people willing to help (over 60,000 people signed up with the HSE in Ireland to ‘Be on call for Ireland’, and hundreds of thousands signed up to volunteer with the NHS in the UK), sizeable donations being made for the collective good, group balcony workouts in Denmark, companies donating medical supplies across the globe, hotels being offered up by celebrity owners to be converted to care for the sick, alcohol brands making hand sanitiser, the list goes on… These actions fill us with warmth and give us hope that we will get through the other side of this, maybe even more connected than before.

Rich and poor, dark and light, old and young, and everything in between – we’re all in this together against this pandemic which doesn’t differentiate between levels of wealth, age, race or creed. Looking at Ireland some weeks back during our general election it would appear to be fragmented, not so anymore. We are united in our quest to combat the spread of COVID19, and our Taoiseach Leo Varadker and his team have served our nation well in listening to the scientists and doing what they can to protect us. Fear & grief can manifest itself in many different ways, so compassion for ourselves & for others was never more wanting, that too goes for our leaders. This is new territory for us all, being mindful of the uselessness of hindsight bias & counterfactuals will help be more altruistic and compassionate.

Shared here is a meditation practice which helps to develop self-compassion and might be of help if the COVID19 virus is is leading to anxiety, limiting your ability to work or travel, reducing your income, or if you or someone you know has already contracted the virus. Please feel free to download and share with any friends, family or colleagues who you think might benefit from incorporating this practice into their day.

They say absence makes the heart grow fonder, will our absence from each other help to nurture a fondness and appreciation within us for connection to our fellow human beings? I’m hoping so, and I reckon with a regular sprinkling of compassion for ourselves and others, we’ll reap the fruits of our labour and inhabit a much more compassionate world… Here’s hoping…

Meditation practice to help develop self-compassion

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