Deep clean

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Thoughts about the coronavirus, the planet and the future… prompted by cleaning a yoga mat

I’ve just finished deep cleaning my yoga mat using a wooden scrubbing brush, a bar of soap and some elbow grease. There’s something really significant about the fact that what you need to halt the spread of a coronavirus are plain, old-fashioned things like soap and bleach. All those fancy washes and surfactants don’t work. Just the old sensible things our ancestors new worked and we’ve forgotten.

It seems to me there are really some lessons to be learned after we get through this. It really is as if nature is teaching us a lesson. Don’t congregate in ever bigger groups, don’t become dependent on ever more fancy distractions or unnecessary products, don’t expect to travel thousands of miles at a drop of a hat for next to nothing. Stay home, do simple, wholesome, outdoor things by yourself or with your family. Care about the welfare of your neighbour. Stop consuming wildly and polluting madly. Tread lightly on this planet and take time to watch the birds and to breath. These are truths that some of us have known and a few of us have tried to practise. But there is always a lure to tempt us all back into wasteful, destructive ways. Now we all have the perfect opportunity to turn over a new leaf. Cook from scratch from fresh ingredients – you’ve got the time. Read a book, paint, write – the wifi will be going slow. Listen to music and avoid the constant barrage of the ‘news’ it will only cause you stress.  Practice yoga in your living room. Breath. Live. Feel better and allow the planet to feel better too.

Of course, we can’t forget the thousands of amazing people who are stacking supermarket shelves all night, answering 111 calls, staffing ambulances and hospitals and those who are being drafted in from desk jobs and armed forces to help. They are having one heck of a stressful time. And they are doing it for us – and for the good of our society we’ve all fought so hard to build and maintain. Bless them all. You are truly valued. But for those of us who are holed up at home, doing our bit to stop the spread. We can look on this as an opportunity for some re-evaluation of our values. Perhaps after this storm has passed we will be able to, as individuals and a society, start to see what’s important.

That means not making profit at others’ expense, but funding basic services to ensure our society functions. Not endlessly consuming to try and make ourselves feel better, but taking time to work on our inner landscape to feel more together. There is a way to make things right for the world. We just have to resolve to move away from the awful politics of recent years and all be responsible for our own, each other’s and the planet’s wellness. The rivers are already running cleaner, the air is clearing and many people are being kinder.

I am keeping my fingers crossed we will.

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