March 17, 2022

March 11 2020

March 11 2020. The day that changed everything. Actually that phrase is incorrect. It was the day that exposed everything. Because it seems that all the issues that are now obvious to us, were before simply laying dormant under the surface.  

Of course, there have been a lot of consequences of this period but what seems to be the most unfortunate reality is how divisive it has become. It is as if there has been a line drawn on the sand, and we have to take a side. But what if you don’t want to take a side? What if you understand that taking a side simply means being pit against neighbours, friends, and family?

I have learned a lot about myself and my shortcomings during this time – mainly to do with the attachments that I held onto about my own opinions. Not so much about the opinions themselves, but how rigid I would be with my stance and the feelings I would experience when I was trying to prove my point.  What I realized is that by being too stubborn with my opinions, the only effect it was having was creating resistance within myself.

People have opinions. Yes. But it is not about whether you have an opinion – rather it is about how firmly you attach yourself to your opinion. Because if you have two individuals with fixed opinions on opposite sides of the spectrum; it essentially makes the conversation meaningless. - A conversation only holds any value if you can listen to what someone else is saying.

But that isn’t what happens. Instead, what usually happens is that we are preparing in our mind for our next argument/point while the other is still speaking. All the while, we feel our blood boiling and our heart rate increasing. Not because we are being attacked on a personal level, but rather that our opinions are being questioned. Our opinions have merged with our sense of self, and so they have become one of the same. Wrong or right and good or bad have taken precedence over finding our common ground as human beings.

We all have friends and family who have different opinions on what is happening. And there is a pressure or rather an allure of choosing a side – picking a team.

There is a seductive quality when you get to argue your point and when you prove you are right. But what determines right? Who determines what right is? And what does being right get you? In fact, if anything, if you are always right, this means you will have to defend your righteousness. If you are wrong, at least you won’t have anything to prove. And better yet, if you remain quiet, you get to be undisturbed.

And the fact is, whenever you have people that extreme on one side of the spectrum, you will automatically create radicals on the opposite side. It has always been like this.

During this time, there have been a lot of individuals who are mainly indifferent to the health consequences of this illness and many others who have been extremely cautious. This naturally created conflict as people were quite passionate with their opinions.

The problem is that if the indifferent say anything against the obsession, they will get attacked and if the obsessed say anything to the indifferent, it falls on deaf ears. And both sides think that what they believe is the ultimate truth.

What would happen though if we only had one group of people with only one set of opinions and all other points of view were eliminated. What kind of world would we have? Having an opinion, or a point of view is not and has never been the issue. It is when we think that our way is the only way.

For some people, this time has been extremely difficult. No travel, limited social interactions, not being able to engage in certain activities, and just the overall fear and uncertainty of what is next. A lot of us were forced to sit with ourselves in a way we have never had to before. There used to always be something to do. A distraction. A party. A vacation to look forward to. But when you have watched enough TV, and scrolled through your phone enough, what else is there? It gave us a glimpse into how reliant we were in maintaining a busy life. It is not uncommon to be so consumed with what is happening outside of us, that we lose sight of what is happening inside of us. This time period has forced us to confront this reality.

It is as if the Universal Intelligence realized that we were going too far out in one direction and decided to mandate a period of enforced stillness. Maybe this isn’t the kind of time we wanted. But maybe it’s the kind of time that we needed.

This situation has the potential to be an incredible opportunity for growth. Growth to develop in usually disregarded areas, and observe how well we are able to adapt to a new way of living. We can transform this time period into something that can be life defining and ultra-creative. We must become adaptable to a forever-changing world. We cannot try to control situations, but rather focus on how we respond to challenging times.

I guess the question becomes where do we go from here. People speak about not being able to wait until things go back to normal – to the way they were. But it seems that things will never go back to the way that they were. How could they? Too much has happened. Too many lines have been crossed. We, as human beings must evolve. There is no other way. Maybe this was the Universe offering us a warning. Not that it hasn’t before. The climate crisis, terrorism, wars, poverty, mental health, and the list can go on and on.

When do we realize that the way that we are existing is not the way to live? We have created this world. And so without a fundamental change in who we are, how can we expect this world to be anything different?

Michael Bains

Currently 31, he lives in the Yaletown district of Vancouver. He enjoys staying physically active and is an avid reader and writer. Hooped is his first published novel.