Categories
change grief

Nation in Mourning?

Photo of tree in Pentre Mawr Park, Abergele photographed by Diane Woodrow
Berries on a tree in my local park photographed by myself

This photo shows Autumn is coming

I haven’t posted for a while, and it is interesting to realise that my last post was about People Pleasing. After I’d posted I then went on holiday to Cornwall for a week, then the week I came back I had signed up with the Professional Writing Academy to do a week of podcasts to do with the craft of writing, which made for a very full week around everything else I was doing. I still have to catch up with some of the podcasts I missed. And then the Queen died so the blog posts I had in my head haven’t yet been written.

It is hard to know what to write when according to all UK media the nation is in mourning. I am afraid I’m not. Well not in mourning for the Queen anyway. I do feel for her family and I think she did some awesome things. I am probably nervous that it is another change. The end of an era. I very much think it should be marked. But I am not sure if this is the right way when so many are fearful and wondering how they will keep their homes warm this winter.

I, personally, am sad that the Queen felt that she had to work right up until two days before she died. I am not sure if this is a good example to others. I think we are often pushed too hard into working a lot, into even when retired still doing many things. That this is where are identity comes from in what we do. There is even a group called. Rest Less which is about making sure you keep doing more as you age. I often wonder if it would be more beneficial for the country, for the world, if we learned to actually do less rather than do more, if we could accept ourselves as we are and not have to rushing about doing things.

Note I am not against doing things but I think too often many people are busy doing rather than being so that they don’t have to catch up with themselves.

The Queen has now been replaced by King Charles who is 73 years old. He should be settling into a nice retirement where his grandchildren come first, fun holidays come second and pleasing himself comes next. But he will be expected to work until he too dies. Is this really a good example?

There is much I could say about privilege, entitlement, the cost of the country, this economic time, but I won’t. As I have said on and off during my posts, I have had to deal with grief of various kinds and I am also grateful that I never had to do mine in public. There was not going to be a headline if I laughed when I was expected to be sad, or did things that others thought were not right during their own period of grief. So for that I will not say anything. And I also think the media should get on and do something else rather than following this grieving family.

I do think this country needs to mark the end of an era, needs to pray about what comes next, but also needs to let this family deal with losing their matriarch. But also remember she was 96. She was an old lady.

The loss of the Queen is a thing but it is not like losing a child or a friend who died do young. Or even of grieving the loss of a relationship, a dream, a home, a job, etc.

Perhaps we need to put the loss of a 96 year old head of state into its right place?

Categories
connecting mental health

Psychological Privatisation

Jubilee Beacon, Pensarn, Conwy

I came across this idea from a Writer’s HQ newsletter and cannot find where to find out much more. This phrase “psychological privatisation” comes from Mark Fisher, who wrote Capitalist Realism: Is There No Alternative?, which I have not read but it is the quote from Goodreads and the paraphrasing from Writers HQ then what happened with the majority of the Jubilee beacons that got me thinking.

Disclaimer – I am not being negative of the Jubilee beacons. I think they were amazing and I loved both the turn out in my town and the whole concept, and the video by George Frost which I have taken this still from. I just think with all these things combined they are saying something about the times we are living in.

So I’ll start with the quote from Mark Fisher that was on Goodreads

“Instead of accepting the vast privatization of stress that has taken place over the last thirty years, we need to ask: how has it become acceptable that so many people, and especially so many young people, are ill? The ‘mental health plague’ in capitalist societies would suggest that, instead of being the only social system that works, capitalism is inherently dysfunctional, and that the cost of it appearing to work is very high.”


https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/9807275-instead-of-accepting-the-vast-privatization-of-stress-that-has

Or as Jo put it – and I paraphrase the paraphrasing –

Work and life demand too much of us so we are exhausted so we don’t ask our fellow human beings for help, for a better way of doing things. Instead we “try to make ourselves more efficient, push ourselves harder, buy into mindfulness and productivity strategies”, journal more, “and think the problem lies with us and not all the bullshit going on out there.” So we try to be “better” humans, more organised, do more, go faster, earn more, use our leisure time more “wisely”, then all would be fine.

All this stops us being more creative with our solutions and also more connected. It affects our mental health, leaving us more depressed, more anxious, more insular. It also, because we are tired, causes us to accept this crazy status quo and not be able to look for something different. Or even see that this is not working

So then along comes the Jubilee beacons. Now beacons of old were to send messages between communities either to say the enemy was in sight, a monarch was on their way, or as was had a long the North Wales coastline – a series of beacons that said a certain ship had been sighted off the coast of Anglesey and was on its way to Liverpool docks; that it had made a successful crossing. Beacons were for connection and for “passing it onwards.” The ones that happened on 2nd June all did happen at the same time with the same tune played and the same words said. Brilliant. But our little beacon did not see any other beacons and could not be seen by any other beacons. Also once everyone started to go home it was turned off and the burner taken home. There is no residue of a bonfire on our beach, whereas in times past these beacons would be left to burn out so everyone had a chance to see them.

I have a vague memory of lighting Jubilee beacons for the Queen’s 25th Jubilee, but they involved climbing to the top of a hill where the beacons of old were light and then the beacons were light one after the other. It all does happen very quickly.

But I think these beacons this year were a sign of how we are less connected at a deeper level. We are tired after the long pandemic, Brexit, strange election results in this country and the US, a war in Ukraine, the instability of life. Even with regard to the monarchy there is an instability. the Queen is not going to live much longer and then what? We don’t know. And when we try to talk about it we talk without listening.

I think the beacons were a sign. They were wonderfully organised, were efficient, used people’s time “wisely” but actually did not connect one community to another. At least not in a deep, supportive, holistic, “we need to change what we’re doing” sort of way. No trusting each other to “pass it on”.