Four landscapes in the pandemic

The current world crisis is taxing all our resources. And it seems that we are trying to navigate our way through a range of complex responses. It occurred to me that, amongst others, there are four intertwined landscapes capturing our attention:

The global human landscape

The global natural landscape

Our personal material landscape

Our personal psychological landscape

Our current travels in the human and material worlds may feel bleak. The global human landscape is in unchartered territory which is frightening not least because it is unfamiliar and currently so uncertain. The global natural landscape seems to be doing better. There are many joyous, if not always true, anecdotes of wildlife returning to places that they have been banished from by human occupation, and we know that our human footprint is reduced for the moment.

For many, the personal material landscape is in crisis. Many people have, for the moment, lost their ways of making a living. The way we live our everyday lives has been radically altered. And although many of us are adapting quickly and changing our behaviour, we may be reeling emotionally.

We may be feeling frightened, angry, abandoned, envious of others who are better off, resentful and even persecuted by the virus and the relentless media. Others may be more philosophical, or even floating around in blissful denial.

However, whatever is going on consciously, there is a fourth landscape that we can attend to. This landscape lives in our internal and less conscious world, where our creative wellspring resides and our deepest and longest term experiences are held. That world is brought to our attention through our dreams while we are asleep, through our body impulses and symptoms, and through the spontaneous images, songs, sounds, symbols and feelings that arrive unbidden in our minds. I have noticed that my dreams in the last couple of weeks have mostly offered a respite from the stresses of the external landscapes, and have offered useful commentary on some of my more outdated coping mechanisms.

This last landscape is the most important. It is here that the psyche offers the essential antidotes to despair and fear. It is worth paying attention to our everyday journey through the realms of the unconscious. For ways of starting see Depth Work During the Pandemic.

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