Using Our Human Adaptation Skills In These Times

The human species has some great strengths, most notably our ability to learn, to be resilient and to create. When faced with calamity, we've got what it takes to overcome them. In this time of the Covid19 pandemic, we can evolve and change things for the better; for us, personally, and for society at large.  

So reflects Reverend Meghan Roberts of New Westminster's Beacon Unitarian Church at a recent Zoom service of the local congregation. No matter your spiritual inclinations, whether you believe in God, a higher power, or you are an atheist, agnostic, or seeker, she explains that we have the exceptional skills for adaptation and to evolve. 

She goes on to explore how we have managed to use these human strengths to evolve throughout history. For example, after the financial crash of 1929, followed by the Great Depression and World War II, the welfare state was built, a state more compassionate and supportive to the general population. It was the beginning of better healthcare, education, labour relations, and support for the disabled and unemployed.  

Today, we are seeing governments step up big-time to help people during this pandemic. She asks whether we have the will to push governments to bring in changes for the longterm, for example, to provide more support to the most vulnerable in the population, to tackle climate change and put real money and effort to make change. Some of us have more time on her hands, she points out and questions, 'what can we do to move things forward'.

Rev. Roberts points out that our ability to learn has been useful throughout history in making our lives better and more comfortable. It has also had its downside in that the human population has continued to rise exponentially making us much more susceptible to calamities such as the Covid19 virus. Our learning capabilities have also brought us technologies, such as the burning of fossil fuels for energy, which has brought much wealth and well-being, but which is now threatening our existence – this is a nutshell synopsis of a portion of her talk.

She speaks to the fact that many of us are feeling exhausted and overwhelmed but we can use our human strengths to replenish our “resilience bank account”, for example, by mindfulness or gratitude practises, connecting with others, through good health habits and of course, having fun.

She relates what she saw on some social media videos of people having fun. In one, some doctors and nurses in hard-hit Iran had a Corona virus dance challenge, fully clothed in their Hazmat suits. A family in Australia, who had a grandmother with dementia living with them, made up a store in their living room, so grandma could do her favourite thing – shop.

Staying grounded in our values, and using our human qualities of learning, resilience and creativity is the message that may be helpful to all of us in these times. 

By: Susan Millar

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