Sunday, November 16, 2008


The news has been dismal this week in the newspapers and if it is to be believed we should be hurtling into a recession at great speed. Hopefully you are still strapped in the rollercoaster and hanging on. I sense that the only way now is to ride it out however horrible the landscape is we are passing. Life from now on is going to be different. We have not been in this situation before and an alignment and adjustment is taking place.

Logically the news should mean that everyone wants to stop purchasing anything that is not a luxury and batten down the hatches. Some however will be panic buying. If you are a saver, the returns on your money are very low and if that is your source of income then things will get tight. If you worked in financial services, call centres and any other service orientated line of work, you may face redundancy and with that difficulty living and honouring any commitments you have. Many people live one paycheck away from disaster. It can be a situation where we all feel powerless, helpless and in shock. How did it get to this?

The response of our government is to drop interest rates, rescue the banking system and borrow more. We might otherwise be heading for a deadlock.

There is no doubt that we are heading into difficult waters and the situation will be unique to every one of us, depending on how old you are, what your commitments are, your skills etc.

5 years ago I was enjoying a job I liked very much and became ill. As the main breadwinner my panic button was pushed. My husband had been the one staying at home and on the 21st December I was sitting in the unemployment office having to prove that I had been let go from my job due to ill health. ( A project cannot be managed by a sick manager, not when it involved people in crisis)I was told that I would not be getting anything for a while. I felt lousy, could hardly walk and wondered how it had come to this. I felt I had failed and was being failed. I felt I had done my best and all I wanted to do was go hide, sleep or worse.

What has struck me about humanity is that we have the ability to unite and perform miracles together whereas individually the task may seem too great. As this is a crisis which faces the whole of humanity on a global scale and we are beginning to realise that what we do here has an effect somewhere it is conceivable that whatever effort we make to reduce our consumption, voluntarily or not will have an impact somewhere in the universe.

We can look at what we cannot do, at what has gone, grieve for a time that has passed and then we need to keep our heads high and pick up where we are now.

My job was dealing with people in a crisis and when I found myself in one I looked on from the outside and wondered how I could use the skills I had used professionally to make a way through.

Here are some olive branches :

Remind yourself that you are alive, very much alive and that at this moment you have all you need. Get up each day, face the sun and look around.

Gather your family and friends around you if you can and check that everyone is OK. Reassure the people around you that you can work together to find a solution. Listen to all options and make decisions. It is inaction that increases our fear; be flexible and reassess the situation each day.
Promise yourself to get up each day and face what happens in the moment.
Do not panic as fear can make things look like a nightmare.
Every day you will need water, food, shelter and warmth - plan with what you have.
Find out the resources you have available and make the most of what you have.
Let go of some possessions.
There will be people with money and no time that now find themselves at the other end of the spectrum, time and no money. Invest in your health and your relationships.
Gather your strength, work out what is possible and believe that you can achieve the impossible with the help of your friends, family, community, country and the rest of the world. Believe that you have the skills to bring you through. Let go of the expected and expect the unexpected.
Stand tall and smile. There is everything to live for and there is time to reconnect.
Really look around you, take it all in and then breathe, breathe, breathe and look ahead and reach out.
Let go and forgive.

Music is empowering to me and Mariah Carey's song has some great words to go by.


ceridwen said...

I also think music can be empowering. I had noted that song - as an uplifter. As you say - hard times ahead - and many people are there already. I just thank goodness personally that I am a "planner" - so I've been planning/planning/planning again - but, even with that temperament, one thinks "Have I done everything I can?" and knows its not possible to protect against everything that might possibly happen.

So - I guess one has to try and remember "Just for today" in "just for today - I have food, I have warmth, I have some useful work to do (if of the unpaid variety)" - as well as doing what planning one can.



Fr. Peter Doodes said...

Hi Anne

Your comment "Invest in your health and your relationships" summed up what is in fact missing for many in today's 'live now pay later' consumer society.

Both are beyond price.

lizzie said...

I was watching the fires in California and one couple who had lost everything said "We still have each other and our family".
A lot of our relationships have been eroded in the rush to get an ever more higher standard of living.I have been thinking I will look at everything in my life and ask myself "could I do without this" "did I have this when I was a child" The result could be quite interesting.