By Rowena J Ronson and Nigel Summerley
RJR: What if the virus is here to teach us something? What if everyone learnt to deal with something in their lives that they were just not ready to deal with before? What if now is that time when we just can’t carry on as we were before? What if…
NS: As we know, some will not survive the virus, so this is a sensitive issue. But as with any calamitous happening or crisis, it seems that the advent of the virus presents those who live through it with a hiatus in which to reflect. On the physical level, it is a fundamental part of the Alexander Technique to stop and be aware before making a movement – a brief but important pause. This can be extended to the psychological level – into reflection before acting. The virus has effectively put almost everything on hold – so perhaps this pause is a rare opportunity for us to reflect before continuing with our lives. If we waste it, might we live to regret it?
RJR: Yes, I totally agree. it is a very sensitive issue. While you are pausing from life as you knew it at the moment, what are you reflecting on?
NS: Partly on how fortunate I have been to be part of a blessed postwar generation: we were teenagers in the 1960s in the midst of a social revolution – particularly unparalleled in music, but also in the arts and fashion and politics – and we had a high-quality, grant-aided, loan-free education, affordable housing, few employment problems and reasonable pensions. Today’s younger generation have almost none of these benefits. I am also fortunate to be alive – many of the journalists and musicians I have worked alongside are not. And I have (to me) remarkable children and grandchildren. So in some ways, it’s a time to count blessings – and in some ways it’s a time of mourning for golden days gone. But, above all, it is a time for reflecting on what to do now and next – what good use can the blessings, the benefits, the experience and the acquired skills be put to?
RJR: Good reflections. I love that our dear David Attenborough had his input on the firework display message for New Year. I definitely feel this is a time for becoming more aware of what is really going on on our planet. It is time to open our eyes 🙂
NS: Yes, and a time for becoming aware of how we ourselves behave? And how we might, from this point on, best take care of ourselves – and others?
RJR: I think that we are all waking up. I feel there is hope!
NS: And do you see hope in that younger generation that I spoke of earlier? The ones who have not had it so easy, the ones who face a potentially difficult future?
RJR: Yes, absolutely! I feel these are times of great hope for the new. Much like the caterpillar, we are now in our cocoon having eaten so much. We are preparing to become a butterfly with a lighter carbon footprint! I heard on LBC earlier today, an advertisement aimed at children promoting Backyard Nature Guardians. For kids to get out there and nurture our planet! Yes, I do believe there is a hope! I have just finished a session with a young mother actually, and we spoke of these changing times where it is actually a real honour to support our little children into the future that they are going to create for themselves – with awareness that we were not taught ourselves – but are now learning! Yes, there is hope!
NS: That seems a good and optimistic note on which to end…