LANDSCAPES OF LIFE, LEARNING JOURNEYS, Retirement, Seasons of Life, TRANSFORMATION, TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS

10 THINGS LOCKDOWNS HAVE TAUGHT ME

I doubt that 2021 will go down in history as the best year ever for many people. It has been a long grinding year of wondering when this pandemic will be over and we can get back to normal again. Normal may have already happened for some of you, but for us living here in Washington DC, we have spent the last 18 months basically in isolation with few external trips for pleasure or necessity. I have lived and worked most of this time in an 8’x10′ space that serves as a bedroom, office, and studio. What lessons did I learn from this confinement?

1. Acceptance

Sometimes, there is nothing to be done to change your circumstances, so you must accept what is and then decide how best you can function and use the limited parameters within which you must work.

2. Fear vs. Safety

Do I need to know everything going on around me? We decided not to listen to the news anymore as the bad news got us down and was not good for our mental health. So many stories the media put out were fear-mongering. We could not change anything for anyone, so it was best to switch off from this constant stream of negativity.

3. Benefits of Online Shopping

A positive came in online shopping, a more organized approach to shopping. Making a list in the store app of things we were running low on or ran out of made shopping a breeze. We could either do a pick-up or home delivery once the no delivery charge threshold is met. There was no more being tempted by items put in the way of shoppers waiting at the till.

4. Healthy Eating

We soon learned to make our own delicious healthy meals and only had a take-out delivered when running low on time or ring the changes on a Friday night. We made our own bread and consequently ingested far fewer preservatives or additives.

5. Less Commute time.

Time and money spent on commuting were saved by working from home. Although this also required some adjustments to our routines, especially working across time zones, we had to make sure we got sufficient breaks. So, although working from home was positive, it also became necessary to manage the time spent working a bit better.

6. Need for Exercise

This really became apparent after sitting at a desk and not getting up to walk to the commute or shops etc. We made a concerted effort to take a walk around the block or several blocks most days, regular home yoga practice, and outdoor strength training with an instructor. To keep our motivation up (which was necessary at times), we participated in a few Online Sport challenges. I surprised myself by getting a medal for my age group to complete the course!

7. Need for Community

This is probably the biggest challenge of the pandemic, not being able to interact with your community, clubs, friends, church meetings, etc. Zoom meetings kept us going, but they indeed were a poor substitute for being able to see a person’s body language. Participation in group discussions was much more difficult. Yet, at the same time, it enabled us to embrace technology as a tool and adapt.

8. Need for friendships and connection.

I joined writing and artist groups and met some beautiful people I would not have done had I not been confined. You can choose your interest groups, and I have learned some fascinating things by joining Map, Art, and Culture Societies. I have tried to be more diligent in connecting with family and friends, some responded, and some didn’t.

9. Activities in confined spaces

Books I published over the year
Books

I had to look at the practical ways I could utilize my time and space to survive these past months. I could write and paint if the paintings or drawings were small enough to fit on my desk and choose mediums that were easy to manage in confined spaces. I also had time to meditate, read and learn. This allowed me to help other writers by reviewing their work or doing beta reading for them. I was able to expand my creativity and get to a deeper level of understanding of art and writing processes. I could also deconstruct past learning and beliefs and replace them with new enlightened thoughts and beliefs.

10. I can survive

When we are not challenged to draw on our inner resources, we become dependent on external things to make us happy. We have not built sufficient resilience to do what it takes to keep ourselves Safe, Happy, and Fit, mentally, physically, spiritually, and emotionally.

Paintings I did over the year
Paintings

Surviving eighteen months of isolation and minimal contact with the outside world has been a time for inner reflection, drawing on the wells of inspiration and experience. I know that I have been able to survive and create despite everything that would have put me down in the past. Modern technology has been a blessing and, at the same time, a curse. I chose to hold onto the blessings which rewarded me with increased skills and connections with new friends. I had to let go of the expectations that I needed to be physically present to function in the world and do everything I would have done before.

When we emerge from this winter of isolation, may our roots have grown deeper to draw from that inner well, the knowledge, wisdom, and power inspired by the Holy Spirit to change our world. We will have built resilience to handle any further disruptions in our lives that we may yet encounter.

Deryn van der Tang

LANDSCAPES OF LIFE, Seasons of Life, SOCIAL JUSTICE, SPIRITUAL AND EMOTIONAL WOUNDING, TRANSFORMATION, TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS

THE SCAPEGOAT

The Welcome to my World Challenge theme is “what is one thought I would like to share in regard to Easter?” I have chosen the theme of Scapegoating and building resilience.

“But the goat chosen by lot as the scapegoat shall be presented alive before the Lord to be used for making atonement by sending it into the wilderness as a scapegoat.” Lev 16:10

THE ORIGINS OF THE SCAPEGOAT

I have chosen this verse from Leviticus regarding the ‘Scapegoat.’ The Jewish Day of Atonement was when the priests performed a ceremonial ritual of laying all the sins of the Nation of Israel onto a goat. The animal was chosen by ‘lot’ and then sent away into the wilderness where it was at the mercy of wild animals or starvation. The people would then be happy for the next year as their sins were removed from them. This ceremony needed to be repeated annually.

The theme ‘scapegoating’ fitted nicely into my thoughts on trauma for these few weeks, with a resolution in the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus. He was the ultimate scapegoat for the sins of the world. His resurrection enables us to build resilience for living in an unjust world.

UNDESERVED ILL TREATMENT

When someone is singled out for adverse treatment or blame, they did not deserve, but because of the ‘lot’ drawn against them, those in power used their authority to abuse and demeaned that individual or group of people. This can happen in a family, where one child is singled out as the ‘culprit’ for anything that goes wrong. It could be that child has AHHD, high spirited, is autistic, or for any other reason, but they are likely to be blamed for the family’s ills. They will carry the negative consequences of being ‘picked on’ into the world with them.

It can happen in all kinds of businesses and organizations when things go wrong, and the CEO or management needs someone to blame for their failures. Someone in the lower ranks is chosen as the scapegoat and will leave the organization, taking a load of injustice and anger with them into the world.

This can happen in religious and church settings, when the leadership, pastor, or priest has messed up big time, often with sexual abuse. There is a big cover-up to protect the institution, and it is the victim who is sent away as the scapegoat into the world, carrying the institution’s shame with them.

COMMUNITY SCAPEGOATING

The same thing is playing out in communities, where a specific community is singled out as the ‘scapegoat.’ We see the Asian-American community targeted now. Previous years, it was African Americans or Muslims.’ Who will be the ‘scapegoat’ for the nation’s sins next year? As each generation of scapegoats takes their burden of injustice out into the world, the world becomes a more hostile place as the injustices heap up one upon the other. How will this all be resolved? Our world becomes deeply divided between those who have the power to inflict injustice and the recipients, who in turn will begin to respond with their own manner of injustice.

As each generation of scapegoats takes their burden of injustice out into the world, the world becomes a more hostile place as the injustices heap up one upon the other.

What options does the ‘scapegoat’ have? If we look at the original scapegoat, he may have been torn apart by wild animals, or he may have been resilient and learned how to survive in the hostile wilderness. Those excluded from the ‘power’ group may decide to fight back; this causes conflict or terrorism as they may be few against many. Others may look for greener pastures and safety elsewhere. Taking themselves out of the danger zone, only to find themselves ‘scapegoated’ again as ‘immigrants.’ They could just kowtow to the ‘party line, give up their fight for justice and accept the status -quo, and become passive. Or they could build resilience, each time becoming stronger until they know they are being scapegoated and can call the perpetrators out.

This is where the Easter story comes into a full circle. The prophet Isaiah said, “But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was crushed for our wickedness [our sin, our injustice, our wrongdoing]; The punishment [required] for our well-being fell on Him, And by His stripes (wounds) we are healed. 53:5-7 Amplified Bible.

Live in the resilience of the Risen Christ – Santa Monica

Jesus of Nazareth was the ultimate scapegoat chosen by the people, who did know that this was precisely God’s plan and purpose for their redemption. Jesus was the innocent victim, showing up the violent and hateful tendencies of humanity. His words from the Cross ‘Father forgive them for they know not what they do,” show us the pathway to healing. His Resurrection on the third day broke the power of the cycle of abuse and completed the atonement.

How can we live in His victory or build resilience in the violent culture around us? How do we call out those in power to deal with unjust policies? It all starts in the Father’s heart to forgive, as Jesus forgave, by His wounds we are healed. As individuals build resilience and heal, we bring healing into the world with us instead of carrying the guilt and shame of those who chose us as their’ scapegoat.’ If we continue to take our hurt into the world, we keep repeating the cycle that the Israelites did, every year having to keep on sending a ‘scapegoat’ back into the wilderness. But Christ died once and for all as the atonement for mankind. May we learn to live in His Resurrection power.

Have you ever been ‘scapegoated’? If you want to share your story with me, please comment below or send an email in the Contact Page

Read the previous blogs on Generational Trauma as well for more insight