Archives for November 2020

Is it Time to Build a New House?

One could be forgiven for thinking that Covid-19 is tearing our lives apart. We are living through rules and masks rather than faces greet us as we venture outside our homes. No-one knows what next week is going to look like, let alone what the future might hold.

Image by Engin Akyurt – Unsplash

If each of our lives is like a building, then the architecture seems to be tumbling down around our ears as ominous cracks appear in the ceiling and water begins to pool around our feet on the floor. At last we are coming to realise that walls made of greed, a ceiling made from over indulgence and a floor made of laziness are simply not built to last.

This is rather like the tale of the Three Little Pigs. The first little pig built his house from straw and the second little pig from sticks because they didn’t want to put in the effort of using stronger materials.

It was a mistake. A Big Bad Wolf was lurking round the corner just waiting for a tasty meal.

Image by Philipp Pilz – Unsplash

The Big Bad Wolf represents our shadow side and this can be anything that comes from fear: doubt, anger, hatred, unfair judgment, hopelessness, lack of trust etc. All it is taking to blow down our houses is a single breath. Much as all it is taking to stop the world is a tiny little virus.

Fortunately the third little pig was more conscientious and he built a house made of bricks. Once all three little pigs were safely sheltered inside, the wolf didn’t stand a chance. However hard he huffed and puffed, those walls and ceiling were just too strong for him to budge. So he decided to go down the chimney instead. Unfortunately for him, the third little pig had realised what he intended and had set a pan of boiling water in the hearth.

Image by Annie Spratt – Unsplash

Our lives are no less precarious than the houses built by the first two little pigs and this is why Covid-19 – another form of the Big Bad Wolf – is causing our buildings to fall down around our ears. Hedonism and play may feel attractive after millennia of survival and hardship but the human experiment in material indulgence has taken only decades to face us with collapse. Living in a culture in which pleasure is seen as the main objective has resulted in a ravaged planet and is turning us all into refugees from our lives, no matter where we come from.

In order to build a safer place to dwell, we need not only to find appropriate materials to use but also to put in the work. In other words, we need to build a house (aka life) whose walls, ceiling and floors are not made from greed but values.

Image by Sean Stratton – Unsplash

These values may seem precarious to start with but with work, they meld together and make us strong and it is strength that we need to choose values over pleasure. This doesn’t mean that pleasure is bad. Far from it – pleasure is absolutely wonderful – but not if life is lived entirely at its mercy.

Fortunately, we all have the capability of building strong foundations for our lives but it takes time, the making of many mistakes and a great deal of patience and perseverance. In the end, it is about quality rather than quantity and taking the time to be rather than just do.

Covid-19 has shown us that a flimsy life will be blown down. We need to be strong with healthy immune systems and a body built of good, fresh meals not fast, junk food and this takes time and effort. We must strengthen our emotions with gratitude and appreciation and let self-pity and greed go and this takes a lot of practice. By cleaning up our minds so that our head is not full of rubbish, we will surround our spirit with the space to expand and feel the vastness of the universe both outside us and inside us. And this takes silence and stillness.

Image by Harli Marten – Unsplash

If we do all these things, then we can build new, stronger and more durable homes. So let’s welcome the demolition of the old way of living in which our walls were hewn from inequality and its bricks from judgement. Let’s collapse the ceilings which were made of superiority and let the floors made of inferiority sink. Let’s get rid of the air inside the old house which was formed from sadness and a feeling of inadequacy.

By rebuilding our homes from values rather than inequality, we will replace judgement with kindness; superiority with acceptance and inferiority with compassion. We will breathe happiness rather than sadness and balance taking with giving. In this way, the Earth will have a chance to recover and instead of the long cracks in the dry riverbeds, we will once again have the rain of emotion. Instead of the trembling of mountains as we mine their foundations we will regain stability and strength. Instead of creatures in the sea dying agonising deaths from eating plastic we will have the free flow of creativity. And instead of viruses that stop us from breathing we will have a reforested earth that will willingly give us all the oxygen we so badly need.

So don’t grieve the house/life that you are losing or have lost but become inspired by the new one that you can construct. This is our chance to create a brave and compassionate world in which we all, plants, trees, animals and humans have a place where we can feel safe and enjoy this extraordinary journey that we call life.

Image by Mohamed Nohassi – Unsplash

Happy building!

Love Laurelle