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This pandemic and surrender (2021)

You can listen to this musing here, or read it below.

This weekly musing is a question I got from my friend Dom, he wrote:

Hello Andy, good afternoon, you have been coming up more and more, on my newsfeed etc., and I had this understanding, how your work plays a big metaphorical part right now in where we are. Collectively. With COVID. With understanding the magic in sometimes being bound in something. And allowing the acceptance and surrender, of being bound in something, can actually create freedom and opportunity for different kinds of movement, though surrender. I saw the amazing rope thing you did with that guy, yeah just wondering if there is a piece of art or inspiration around, COVID, surrender, being bound by something, but actually still managing to find freedom within that. Within the self, the expression of self, somehow.

When the pandemic started, I was afraid that I would “go out of business” because people in a state of emergency would focus on more primary things, like food and toilet paper. And that deep-diving into explorations of power and surrender would be out of the question, but it turns out that I was wrong. My workload has increased during the pandemic, even when forced to raise prices due to the restrictions. Why is this? I think the pandemic has made people slow down, and reconsider what is essential in life. Maybe that is normal after the toilet paper crisis ended we realized that the society wouldn’t run out of either food or sanitary products. So there was space to go deeper.

When restricted, I believe, the default solution is to look for new solutions. You can see it when a stream of water meets a stone and effortlessly moves around it. Nature at large is adaptable and moldable, and so are you and me. Unless the nervous system ends up in a shock, and that it did, temporarily, in me and everyone around me. But once the surprise has passed, the situation is accepted, then new solutions will present themselves. Some people decided to stay frozen until the pandemic is over, it seems to me, while others quickly moved forward. It’s a motion rooted in restriction. And I believe that every great innovation is born out of a need. So there is an opportunity here, to accept, or surrender if you like, to the new reality and make something great out of it.

It reminds me of the final survival week of my living-in-the-woods course last year when I was pondering to make the week into a water fasting, instead of living off beaver fat, leaves and tiny fishes. But I realized that wouldn’t be surviving, but rather slowly dying. Metaphorically. The same thing applies when in bondage, adapt or die. But before we can do that, we must accept, or surrender into the new reality. There is also the theme of effort and responsibility. Accepting and surrendering is often experienced as a relief and rest. While adapting is an active effort and investment. Many people secretly found this pandemic relaxing, because it offers a time to let go, and stop rushing in the hectic everyday life. There is a socially acceptable reason to relax. The German government even made an infomercial about it, saying that the world wars were fought in the trenches, while this war happens on your sofa, eating ice-cream and watching Netflix. You can be a hero by doing nothing. And here it ties back to bondage, the offer of doing nothing.

I believe that this pandemic is an excellent opportunity to practice -to surrender and live a more sustainable life. In my therapeutic rope sessions, I meet many people who either burnt out from careers or relationships. That reflects a tragedy on a personal level, but also an overall motion in society. That it doesn’t support avoiding trauma, but rather sets us all up for eventual failures, in a system spinning out of control. But we are all going to die eventually right? To end on a positive note, humanity is moldable as the stream of water, and I believe that we find meaning in hardship and challenge. Hopefully, we are ready to accept the challenge and responsibility to move on when we are done surrendering to this pandemic.

I should probably, also extend a great thank you to all the people who didn’t get the opportunity to surrender, like them working in the health care, and necessary infrastructure. Surrender is in the end, a privilege.