Peacocks are dancing in Ahmedabad: Reflections for the time ahead
As the world is at a standstill, even India's most bustling cities see signs of wildlife roaming their streets. As we slowly open our doors in the wake of the crisis, let us never forget that we are all "waves of the same sea, leaves of the same tree and flowers of the same garden".
At sunrise, I find myself in the garden, enjoying the sight of colourful flowers and wonderful bird song. Every day, it occurs to me how nature keeps following its ancient rhythm. Despite the chaos of humanity, it all flows beautifully, now smoother than ever, as the hustle and bustle of humans are largely at a halt.
My friends in India tell me that peacocks are again dancing in the gardens of Ahmedabad: A huge city, currently in rapid development, thus pushing the remaining wildlife to its borders. Yet now, every morning, several peacocks land in the city's gardens, sipping water from the pools, chewing on seeds and relaxing in the shade.
I can't help myself from thinking how the world would be without us. How, without humans, the streets of Lilongwe, my home in Malawi, would again be dominated by majestic elephants and lush forests, an actual reality only a few years back. How it all would again be wild and beautiful.
Without doubt, nature would prevail, and it would all be glorious. Yet, never would I wish upon humanity a fate so heartbreaking as any global phenomenon wiping us all out. However, I do hope we learn. That we all take this extra time now given to us to reflect, think and come out of the storm stronger, more conscious and more compassionate than ever.
A beautiful destruction
Ancient Japanese wisdom talks about to ways of growing: Satori represents growth through insight; what we should all strive for due to its painless epiphanies and revolutionizing eureka moments. On the other hand, Kensho represents learning through pain; growth we are forced into due to major and often negatively perceived events in our lives. Events like Covid-19.
Right now, we are all finding ourselves in one giant Kensho moment; a global awakening forced upon us, abruptly, suddenly and with major consequences. And who knows, despite the pain, despite the fear and despite the many losses, maybe this is what we all needed?
Like sunflowers in stormy weather
In their eternal quest for light and energy, sunflowers follow the rhythm of the sun, turning from east to west in sunny weather. What many do not know is however how they act during rains. In storms, sunflowers turn towards each other for the exact same reason they normally worship the sun: From their surrounding flowers; they draw light, power and energy when storms are at their worst.
When the world now slowly open after months in slow motion, let us all be sunflowers. Let this crisis bring us closer together rather than further apart. Let us turn it into a beautiful destruction of everything that tears us down, and a splendid creation of a new paradigm; a new normal where we steer the world towards a kinder, more understanding and sustainable future.
Waves of the same sea
As I watch the African sunrise from my garden patio, the question of why keeps bothering me. Despite the opportunities granted by a beautiful destruction, why does it always and repeatedly take painful happenings for humanity to learn? Why don't we realize sooner, despite the endless clues nature provides? Maybe do we still miss the realization that we are all one: That we are all intertwined, no matter how we act on it?
If so, let us take our learning even further. Instead of continuing our everlasting blame game, let us embrace the interdependency of all life and stand together to solve the global issues awaiting at our doorsteps. From the air pollution in Delhi to the deforestation of the Amazon, let us realize the interconnectedness of all our issues, and how in fact, it is up to each and every one of us to solve them.
Let us learn from the dancing peacocks of Ahmedabad and the sounds of sparrows during the silence of car horns. Let us respect nature and let her prosper!
Instead of blaming the Chinese for selling bats or trading in pangolins, let us spend this time reflecting on our own cultures and habits. Let us open our eyes and realize how our own way of living, farming, shopping and earning all contribute to global issues no better than those emerging from the wet markets of China. Because after all, like Chinese manufacturers recently wrote on the crates of masks they shipped to Italian health workers:
"We are waves of the same sea, leaves of the same tree and flowers of the same garden."