Human, All Too Human The one thing that can help us survive and even thrive within the turmoil of change
How are you holding up?
Before I get started, let me apologise for the eternity that has passed since my last post. Despite the crisis I have actually – and please don’t hate me for it! – been pretty busy over the past few months: with my new awesome solo online course, BRAND NEW YOU, an intense adventure and huge success that received fantastic feedback from its 40 legendary participants (if you want to be one next time; I will very likely launch an English edition soon, too).
This was immediately followed by my first ever mastermind group, BRAND NEW WIR, which is currently well underway with ten absolutely amazing ladies on board. Both missions have the same focus: establishing mindset, messaging and holistic branding on the inside and communicating them to the outside. Last but not least, I am officially launching individual coaching packages with yours truly VERY SOON and will also be starting work on my second book this month.
So why am I telling you all this? Well, I keep getting the same wonderful feedback from my clients: “You’re so much more than just a copywriter for websites; you’ve completely changed my life; you should definitely do something bigger.” And if that’s what they all say, that’s precisely what I’m going to do! In these current uncertain times, sometimes all we want to do is hide away, give up and/or mindlessly drink away our sorrows. But actually, there’s no time like the present to stand up and say “I’m going to own it … right now”. And right now, I can’t hold back and hide away for even a second longer.
Maybe you can feel it too, this urge telling you that YOU are needed now more than ever and your voice needs to be heard?
I want to give you the courage to take that step.
If your experience of the past six weeks has been anything like mine, you’re currently immersed in a jumble of all possible feelings, some coming and going and some invading your mind all at the same time. One thing’s for sure: no two days are the same, which is actually pretty weird, right? A life with no school, no travel and no countless dates in your diary sounds like it should be monotonous with a capital M, but that’s not what we’re experiencing. This is yet more proof that:
Nowhere, beloved, can world be but within us.
Our life passes in transformation. And the external dwindles away. – Rilke
And more often than not, this world within us is full of feelings of gratitude for the things we have, for things like:
- A perfectly equipped spirit and an imperfect but strong and long-standing foundation of spiritual practice. Being able to cope with yourself is definitely a bonus in these times.
- A home! Especially one full of books, yoga mats, musical instruments and – although I never thought I’d say it – records. For the first time ever, I’m actually grateful for Hans’ huge collection of vinyls rather than dreading the day I have to pack them all up for our next move.
- The epidemic has at least decided to steer clear of kids … the single biggest blessing.
- Nature! We’re lucky enough to be surrounded by a truly stunning landscape between the Teutoburg Forest and Wiehen Hills. That feeling of freedom, of the wind in our hair as the three of us race down trails through the fairytale-like forest on one of our many, many bike trips, is truly unbeatable. If you need to clear your head, get on your bike and head out for a ride right now – trust me, it will work wonders! Discovering the beauty of our natural surroundings is like exploring a whole new world. What’s more, it at least slightly makes up for the fact that we’re pining for our usual frequent visits to North Holland, our family there and the North Sea.
- An online business plus an office located away from our flat. While alternating between homeschooling and childcare, we can only manage around 50% of our normal working hours at most. But hey, at least we can still work! And because we’re self-employed, things like Zoom, working from home and arranging our own daily schedules are a matter of course for us.
Okay, we’re privileged, but this is a subjective take on things and has nothing to do with #whataboutism. What’s more, thinking still isn’t a privilege – at least it wasn’t last time I checked.
But while we’re on the topic of WHAT ABOUT …
What about all the other feelings?
When this crisis started to kick off, one feeling was instantly at the forefront:
This ultimate sin against femininity! – Viv Albertine
Above all RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE, the machine that’s throwing the weakest of us under the bus. Seriously:
Why are there so many pigheaded joggers and cyclists who keep ZERO distance, and such absolute scores of blathering wannabe conspiracists? And why are these people so obsessed with their own importance that they blatantly ignore the advice of scientists (time for a special shoutout to Chrissie D.!) who recommend that we avoid contact and keep our distance to save lives? If you ask me, I reckon that:
EVERY SO OFTEN
decency – Doctor Brunkie
And sadly, it seems that decency is something that MORE people than ever before are currently lacking.
Other things that are driving me mad:
What are we doing to our children?
First and foremost, of course, I mean the children who we’re still simply leaving to drown in the Mediterranean or those left to twiddle their thumbs and ‘wait for corona’ in Greek refugee camps. #notmyeurope
But I’m talking about our children too:
My little one’s childhood is currently being ripped from her hands.
I’m not denying that these times of lockdown also offer plenty of beautiful, enjoyable and eye-opening moments. That said, we already experienced such moments in the life that we created as self-employed individuals, musicians and yoga people before corona – albeit without the negative impacts of friction, cabin fever and, now and then, an acute fear of death. (Although, if you ask me, death as a natural part of life should finally be better integrated into our social life, just like in Mexican culture, as wonderfully described by Milena Moser.)
My mini-me is nine, and over what’s now been a total of six weeks stuck at home, she’s missed out on so much already. You see, as a high-risk household and for reasons of solidarity, we are in complete social isolation. This means that although her fellow pupils in Year 4 are now returning to school, she won’t be able to join them in the near future. She misses her friends, her teachers, her favourite pony and her grandparents. She’s missing out on the trips and celebrations of the final year of primary school, as well as getting to know her potential secondary schools. On top of all this, she’s also worried about her parents.
The problem of stolen childhoods
– was already an issue before corona came to light, and both problems are closely connected: “Mum, the Earth is now telling us: I’m suffering because of you. And now you can see what it feels like.” It’s simply so unfair for people to now only look out for number one and by doing so, put the futures of (old) high-risk patients and (young) future adults at risk. And that’s something that “the far too many” (Nietzsche) simply can’t (or refuse to) understand.
In January 2019, we took part in the big #FFF protest in Berlin, where we stood in front of the Federal Chancellery (aka the giant washing machine) and screamed our message to Angela Merkel from the top of our lungs: “What do we want? Climate justice! When do we want it? Now!”. Later that evening, my daughter asked me whether Merkel is a good person and if she’ll “save the world”, and honestly, I didn’t know what to say.
Now, at the very latest, it’s clear that the next nightmare virus is ready and waiting to attack if we humans carry on with our lives just like they were before this crisis: with excessive flying, disproportionate meat consumption and blithering idiots elected by the people to head up our governments. If we keep on destroying nature and exploiting animal habitats for our own purposes, heatwaves, droughts and, indeed, pandemics will slowly become the new norm. (I just heard on LOGO, the children’s news program here in Germany, that the entire effing NORTH POLE will be free of ice in as little as THIRTY years’ time – even if all climate goals are reached from now on…go figure.)
To put it bluntly, if we keep putting humans on a pedestal as the crown of creation without either conscience or consciousness, we’re going to have a problem. This particularly applies to the HOMO OECONOMICUS, like that late-capitalist, short-sighted and empathy-lacking ‘leader’ who goes by the name of Donald Duck, I mean, Trump. If we keep worshipping the idol of anthropocentrism and radical individualism, this will be our (disastrous) future. I personally agree with Nietzsche:
The earth has a skin and that skin has diseases; one of its diseases is called man.
Do YOU have children? Then I’m sure you realised a long time ago that:
The private is political.
Without solidarity, humanity has no hope.
The crisis and our children are challenging us to answer questions:
Do I really need to eat meat all that often?
Are so many flights every year really necessary?
Must I take the car for this trip (and does it really have to be an SUV)?
What example do we want to set for our kids – and what kind of world do we want to leave behind for them?
Don’t get me wrong; I’m anything but perfect.
But hey, at least I try in my own way:
- I’ve been following a mostly vegetarian diet ever since I was 16 (even while growing up in the Palatinate, a region of Germany where sausage salad is about as green as it gets).
- I went cold turkey on buying new clothes on 1st January. Why? My wardrobe is already full of things that I hardly ever wear.
- I can count the number of flights I’ve taken over the past 20 years on one hand – and even those were when I had no other option (and only within Europe).
- I’m now upholding solidarity by protecting myself against catching the virus from others and others against catching it from me.
For me, all of these measures are a matter of course, even if at the moment, the thought of not seeing my band practice room or a yoga school from the inside for at least a year is horrid. All three of us having to forego gigs, parties and family visits equally sends shivers down my spine. Maybe you have your own approach – what’s your personal way of living more consciously?
I can’t help but mention the fact that precisely those people who “need” to go shopping, take countless flights, eat more meat, etc. ASAP (or are already doing so) are often the same people who jog or cycle past you as close as they can get. They’re the same individuals who still cheerfully meet up with 3, 4 or 5 other families because after all, “none of us are high risk”. Some are even demanding that we “simply isolate the vulnerable” rather than sacrifice the economy to save “a few” people who will “kick the bucket soon anyway”. All they care about is returning to the norm as fast as possible!
(At this point, and as a researcher and scholar myself, I don’t even want to waste my words and energy on the shocking number of tinfoil-hat wearers and self-proclaimed experts I encounter on social media…)
It drives me absolutely mad. And yes, sometimes I find it unfair that I’m making sacrifices to protect the very people whose stupidity is putting me, my child and ALL OF US in mortal danger (or accelerating the risk of our mass extinction). The sad truth is that Voltaire perfectly sums up the current situation for true democrats:
I might disagree with your opinion, but I am WILLING to give my life for your right to express it.
Anyway, what I’m wondering is: do you feel the same way, too? If so, I have a message for you:
Don’t let your anger drag you down – let it spur you on!
Especially in our sector, online business, I am so desperate to experience more leaders and like-minded individuals who really bring a new awareness of our extremely fragile situation. I want to see coaches and mentors who DON’T preach the mantra of “higher, further, faster” while continuing their countless I’m-oh-so-important long-distance flights every month. Don’t get me wrong – growth is cool, but only in the right sectors and in a green, conscious and sustainable way from now on, please.
Our world needs yogis who DON’T say, “Sorry, but Bavaria just won’t cut it for my retreat – the vision is Bali!”; who are truly mindful, also and above all with our planet; who consider future generations and who show empathy for and solidarity with the poor, ill, weak and young. Who really know, deep in their bones: We can only survive, let alone thrive, together.
After all, that’s what TEAM stands for: Together Everyone Achieves More.
If YOU share the same mindset and need an extra boost of courage to make your voice heard – or you’re not quite sure how to define your mission and your contribution – so basically, if you’re an idealist too, I want to encourage and empower you.
IF NOT NOW, THEN WHEN?
IF NOT US, THEN WHO?
After all, there’s one thing that defines mankind down to the core – and I mean mankind and not man, not that male obsession with success and that growth-driven approach of toxic masculinity. This one thing is empathy, a treasure solely obtained from our human imagination and power to dream. Just imagine:
You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one.
OM and rock ON.
Katja (and Hans) x
I’m still a copywriter TOO, of course – writing texts is still a real passion of mine. The ultimate kickstart of creative consulting so often experienced by our clients was, and still is, an INTEGRAL PART of my and our services – and clearly something that we haven’t highlighted enough in the past.
You can rest assured that EVERY form of cooperation with us is full of tips and tricks to help you find your get-up-and-go and make yourself seen and heard while staying true to yourself. You can reap these benefits right now with our DIY Kickstart, which you can sign up for until 6th May. This 8-week-long website workshop will kick off on 11th May. We would love to welcome you on board! In fact, by reading this entire post down to the final sentence, you’ve already passed the acceptance test – muahahaha!
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