ast week I saw a post on Facebook from someone which said: ’I don’t want to see any more motivational posts’. My response to that would have been: ‘I don’t want to see any more negative posts’ because I have never once found that kind of thinking to be helpful in any situation. Whilst some may be tired of the overload of responses intended to be helpful or motivating in these difficult weeks, surely it is healthier to receive positive feedback? As a public post some words may strike a chord, others may not but if it helps only one or two people, surely it’s been worth it. We need to make a positive choice not to let ourselves be overly frustrated or depressed by current difficulties. It doesn’t take a genius to decide which options are more helpful (no matter how hard the challenge) to continue to carry on with our lives as best we can until the pandemic is over. Because when things do reach the point of what we accept as mostly normal, then all our energies individually and collectively will be needed to get ourselves, our communities and our country back on its feet. It’s something we will all need to participate in – don’t assume it’s going to be someone else’s responsibility or that the government alone will be able to provide the solution. 

Several years ago I made myself an ‘Inspiration Board’ which I hung on the wall next to my desk but which is now unfortunately temporarily irretrievable, languishing in a suitcase in another country. So now I will make another and maybe you could too. Mine will be similar to the original. I have always kept a notebook of quotes (the old fashioned kind when we all wrote with pen or pencil on paper and not on a screen) . Could be a few lines from a poem, a quote from a book or a famous person, maybe something inspiring, perhaps something funny, even a picture or a cartoon – but a mix, to jog me into a better attitude if I am feeling down, lacking energy or creative ideas. Whatever it is, it should be idiosyncratic, meaning personal to you – something that strikes a chord, makes you smile, remember a happy occasion or maybe motivates you to take action of some kind. One of my favourites is from Lewis Carroll’s Alice In Wonderland, and it may seem silly to you but it’s imbued with real meaning for me and it reminds me to aim for nothing less than my best self; the Cheshire Cat character says: “You used to be much muchier, you’ve lost your muchness”. Robert Frost said: “In three words I can sum up what I have learned about life: it goes on” and Louis L’Amour: “There will be a time when you believe everything is finished, that will be the beginning”. My last share is from Sir Winston Churchill: “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give”.

There are so many ways, places and people from whom to draw inspiration, look around, even carefully constructed advertising slogans such as Nike’s “Just do it” obviously have meaning – sometimes we are so used to hearing or seeing slogans we no longer give them much regard, but if you think about those words, they could inspire you to get up and do something you care about instead of sitting around and worrying. Heaven knows, like it or not, we all have time on our hands to think, dream, plan or just get started on a project of any kind: learning to cook, bake, exercise, learn a language, make a  garden, anything which involves physical or mental activity will help keep our minds active leaving less room for negativity. Tempting as it is to sit around and binge-watch movies (I’m guilty), or a sports programme, or gaming if that’s your thing, it isn’t the solution but it can be your reward for a day well spent whether caring for your family or working from home. There is no easy Pollyanna way out of the present situation and some of us may become ill or have loved ones who are but now more than ever is the time to be strong and to keep looking forward even if we can’t see the end in sight because all individual actions count, no matter how insignificant they may seem, and they do make a difference. Remember:  “We’re all walking each other back home” (Ram Dass).>