BAGUIO

Gacad: Focus

Ziggy Zaggy

THIS pandemic hasn’t been all bad. They say that people need to practice looking for the positive in all circumstances. After all, everything happens for a reason. Accordingly, in Chinese, the word crisis is spelled with two characters. One character represents “danger” while the other character represents an “opportunity.” The latter, although dependent on how an individual reacts and copes with adversity, may have brought out skills people didn’t know they had pre-Covid.

“Krisis”--spelled in the original Greek with a “K” rather than a “C”--has a literal translation, “a vitally important or decisive state of things, or rather events and a point at which change must come!” President Obama’s former chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, famously said, “you never let a serious crisis go to waste--it’s an opportunity to do things you thought you never could!”

The “plantitos” and “plantitas” have sprouted everywhere. In fact, even “common” plants found in some areas have transformed into expensive ornaments. The secret comes in the packaging or potting, so to speak. The entrepreneurial skills of the Pinoy have seen maximum exposure.

Male and female alike have become chefs and pastry bakers extraordinaire. Others have rekindled their carpentry and masonry skills. Some have returned to becoming bookworms while a number have become more creative artists and painters.

The children, although “locked-up” at home, have turned into gadget masters while the family has strengthened the bond primarily because everyone id at home sharing a meal, watching Netflix together, doing house chores regularly and communicating more often—face-to-face.

The need to survive has rekindled that flame of faith in the Almighty, especially for those who may have been more adversely affected by the quarantines. Even the “older” generation now enjoy spiritual blessings via digital platforms. Some of these “manongs” and “manangs” have become more adept at using the computer and the internet.

Whatever it is that one “excelled” in during this pandemic, the ability to adapt cannot be overlooked. Resilience will always be part of human nature—survival of the fittest!

And first I’d like to say that while we are all in the same storm—we are not all in the same boat! Second, that paradox and ambiguity are unavoidable, but standing in their tension is the most alive place to be, freer and more vibrant than any certainty—the ultimate “heat experience.”

What’s more, the events we are currently experiencing aren’t unprecedented, so let’s park that word because naming as such serves only to create a greater ambiguity, complexity and uncertainty, which in turn inhibits our ability to make meaning and understand. In fact, from 1918 to 1919, the Spanish Flu killed three percent of the world’s population. From 1956 to 1958, the Asian flu pandemic killed two million people globally. In 1968, there was an influenza pandemic. The human immunodeficiency virus infection and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (HIV/Aids) pandemic is ongoing since it first broke cover in the late 1970s and there’s still no definitive vaccine. The year 2002 saw a severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) pandemic. In 2009, we had a flu pandemic with 60 million cases reported in the US alone, and with a pathology that saw younger people being the most seriously affected rather than the elderly and the infirm, making it a totally different beast to Covid-19. In 2014 there was the latest Ebola epidemic, not a pandemic as it remained localized, but for that, we should be very grateful as 39 percent of people who contracted the virus died.

And to put that into context, the global mortality rate of Covid-19 is estimated to be around one percent, while for flu this sits at 0.1 percent.

This is three set-match. Covid-19 has taken the first set, and the second and third will be tough and long, requiring extreme resilience and fortitude, human connection, cooperation and collaboration.

Never forget that gratitude precedes happiness, so hold these three simple things close: Start a “gratitude journal” now and write down three to five things for which you’re grateful every day, get adequate sleep and focus on your mental and physical health, because the Roman poet Juvenal was onto something when he wrote, “Mens sana in corpore sano.”

"Do these things and I’m certain you’ll soon notice a difference in how you think and feel about things!!" - Paul Adam Mudd

“And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.” - Haruki Murakami

“Hope is not a conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something is worth doing, no matter how it turns out.” - Vaclav Havel

“Sanity means tying your well-being to your own actions.” - Marcus Aurelius

“You are braver than you believe, stronger thank you seem, and smarter than you think.”


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