It was interesting discussing the COVID-19 pandemic with older people, many of whom have taken it in their stride. They reminded me how lucky our generation has been – no wars or famine. But it has also engendered materialism and a lack of appreciation of life or mindfulness. I feel the current events are a reminder to look at our values and judge what is really important in our lives.
I have spent the past 15 years doing personal development, meditation and yoga. I feel grateful that I spent the past few years getting in touch with my inner self; times like these demand something more meaningful to turn to. My inner peace was disrupted by the crisis. I felt fear, but not as much as I had expected. The inner peace that I have built up has given me the ability to ride these waves with confidence. It is early days, of course, so there is no guarantee that our business will survive. But if it doesn´t, I will still have what I value most in my life – my health (especially mental health), my daughter, my extended family and friends.
When we realised we were in the middle of a crisis, our first instinct was survival – of our business. However, if we focus on self-interest, we risk becoming isolated and depressed. You will be amazed how your mind shifts when you start thinking of others. Think of someone who is really suffering, then do something for them. Send them a surprise gift that they will love. This will not only make you feel good – that you have done something to make someone else feel happy – but you will have connected with another human being. We all need a feeling of belonging.
Sitting around and mulling over issues is self-destructive. I am super-excited about pivoting our business, doing all the things I should have done over the past few years. I am finding more meaning in life than ever before and this will be great for us. I know the universe is taking care of us and things will work out exactly how they were meant to.
I cannot control the outside world, but I can dictate what goes on in my inner world. If I feel peace and harmony, I know I am OK. Many people experiencing turmoil in their businesses or workplaces know what it means to feel helpless. Some have shut their businesses and gone into retreat. After the initial shock, we made the decision to look for opportunities, to accept and adapt to the new environment. The future is uncertain so it is better to stay in action, to be ready to adapt and change.
There are great lessons to be learnt at the moment; find them and work with them. Remember, you have a choice as to what goes on in your inner world. Searching for peace and harmony is your challenge. Take stock of what your values are and know they will be tested during this period. Once you have certainty, the fear of loss or losing something will diminish, and in its place you can focus on building.
TUI CORDEMANS – Koh Living