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Rashi Goel

Three crucial changes the pandemic brought into my life

Three crucial changes the pandemic brought into my life
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Pandemic

It did not feel right to write about brands, with what has been going on. Every single person we know has Covid, or has a family member who is suffering. 

The phone constantly lights up with requests for hospital beds, plasma or oxygen, and responses of chatbots, google docs and live trackers of resources. 

I have lost track of the number of times I have expressed condolences on the loss of a dear one.

All this pain, fear and devastation that we are going through has to mean something. If we are not changed as a country and people even after all of this… all this… would have been a waste.

I myself am down with Covid right now, and recovering. Thankfully, I was spared the worst aspects of the illness – gasping for oxygen.

The Chinese phrase for “crisis” is “Wēijī:” 危机. The first word – Wēi, 危, means danger. The second – Ji (机), means a “crucial point” (when something begins or changes).

So this newsletter is about my Covid Weiji – three crucial changes born out of this crisis.

  1. Panic Vs Visualization
  2. Austerity Vs Abundance
  3. Chronos Vs Kairos

Panic Vs Visualization

My first emotion when I tested positive for Covid was relief. When something we fear finally catches up with us, we are relieved from the worry of anticipation.

Then panic takes over. Even worse than the illness is the panic. Panic late at night, worrying if I have infected my elderly parents. That time when I touched the door handle, did I wipe it clean? Is this new virus strain air borne? How far can it travel from my room?

Then the mind starts racing. What if my oxygen levels fall below 95? Which hospital will we go to? Should we even go to a hospital? Who will drive? Will an ambulance come? Should we buy an oxygen concentrator just in case? But won’t that be hoarding of precious resources?

Mike Tyson said “Everyone has a plan: until they get punched in the face.”  Sitting alone and scenario planning in the dead of night only got me into a frantic, unproductive state.

Panic is a lead indicator of illness. According to Yuval Hariri in 21 Lessons for the 21st Century, ironically, panic and anxiety come from hubris. Hubris that we know for sure the outcome is going to be negative. 

I needed to replace panic with mental fitness that comes from positive visualization. 

Deliberate practice of visualization conditions our mind for successful performance. All world class athletes, performers, orators and fighter pilots routinely visualize scenarios and their responses even before the action starts. 

Remember scenes from The Queen’s Gambit? Beth Harmon spends years playing out chess scenarios in her head. This practice centers her and is a meditative discipline that keeps her at the top of her game.

Visualization is not mumbo jumbo. The power of visualization is being researched scientifically.  The Double Slit Experiment in the field of quantum theory proved that “the movement of sub atomic particles can be dramatically changed by simply observing them”.

This is called the Observer Effect – we are able to change our physical reality through our thoughts. Watch this video which explains this. (slightly long, watch at 1.25 speed and you will get the main point).

Austerity Vs Abundance

I am grateful for my blessings. And like all of us, lockdown living has taught me that I have more ‘stuff’ than I need. 

What’s more, self-isolated living in one room for 14 days with 1 plate, 2 bowls, 2 spoons and 2 cups taught me that I can get by with much much less. 

On the other hand, cleaning the room, doing the dishes and washing my clothes forced me to see how much water I consume. 

If we keep consuming ‘stuff’ we only want, we will soon be scrounging for things we really need (read air, water, health, sunshine).

At a relationship level, the support, empathy, and positive vibes that came my way were overwhelming. 

On one hand I want to develop a new normal of austerity in the ‘stuff’ I consume, on the other, I create emotional abundance in relationships. 

Chronos Vs Kairos

Chronos is the Greek word for longitudinal measure of time – seconds, minutes, hours. Kairos is the Greek word for ‘moment’- the right moment, the fateful moment. 

Kairos is when everything feels perfect, and we are in flow. Kairos makes memories, Chronos makes appointments. When Kairos rules, Chronos does not matter. Kairos is that time when we are so engrossed in talking to a friend, that we miss our flight. (this has happened to me, Chennai to Mumbai, but that’s a story for another time). 

I have been living like a slave to Chronos. How about I smell the roses and prioritize Kairos once in a while?

We all have two lives

Wise words from Naval Ravikant-the new age philosopher. He says, “we all have two lives. Our second life begins when we realize we only have one.”

Isn’t this the right time to begin our second life? 

Finally

Three crucial changes the pandemic brought into my life

That’s all. Stay safe all of you. I simply refuse to send another condolence message. None of us should have to.

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