Wow, it is April

Wow…my last post was in January, and now it is (almost) April. What have I been doing with myself?!

Oh yaaahhhh…second term, three thesis chapters, the mother visiting Japan for the first time, organising summer field research only to have that unravel at the hands of a casual global pandemic. Wow, what a first three months of 2020, a few challenges in there, huh. And that barely scratches the surface.

I will, in time, write about my mums trip to Japan and other spring delights (including hiking in Saitama, sakura blossoms, and then some insane snow only yesterday). Yet, in the midst of the covid-19 pandemic, it is hard to focus one’s mind on much other than the day-to-day. And that is ok, too. Wow, the mind is feeling anxious right now.

As a member of the Rotary Peace Fellow cohort at my university, we have been spending some time together (remotely of course) trying to understand what we can do, if anything, as peace fellows during this challenging time. Sitting in Japan and watching my family and friends struggle in the UK is beyond hard. I have spent six months at university, and a career before that, learning about some very challenging topics. Alas, it has not prepared me for dealing with the helplessness that comes with this pandemic. Not to mention then factoring in the many variables whurring round my mind; health; health workers; nation’s healthcare facilities; travel; poverty;  isolation; loneliness; to name a mere few, and…Wow, the variables are really stacking up.

Still, as a peace fellow, it is important to remain part of the movement of sending out peace into the world as much as possible. One way I am trying to do this is meeting with the other fellows at my university, sharing stories, ideas, and actually just being there for each other. Currently, we are at the creative stage, building lots of ideas of how we can spread that elusive peace, which is fun, positive, and distracting, something I am sure we all appreciate.

I have also rediscovered that being forced even further into online spaces, can provide us with huge potential to do something new. For example, there is an opportunity to learn something (for free) and the chance to explore online volunteering (something I would highly recommend to anyone who is sitting at home bored!). Additionally, I have come to realise, even more than before, the beauty of spring. As spring blooms around us, it is clear that life does, and will, go on. Spending more time in nature and enjoying the delightful nature-filled space I live in, has become a small daily pleasure.

So, to quote that now popular meme, we can all change the world right now from our sofa (futon/wicker chair/etc…) but to keep the wows from overwhelming us, getting together with others virtually, volunteering remotely, spending precious time in nature when we can, and whatever else takes your fancy in a positive way, will help with the sense of helplessness that is, I guess, natural right now.

Wow, that feels nice to write that.

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