I haven’t got the brain-space to think this one out fully, between school and university work, but I have a sense that in the present moment we need to have the courage to make space for vulnerability in our lives. My recent work with senior school leaders (in different contexts) on creating inclusive cultures in school, has encouraged me to rewatch Brené Brown’s The Power of Vulnerability TED talk several times. Vulnerability is, she says, both the source of joy and creativity and the core of shame and fear. Our fear of vulnerability makes us make uncertain things certain which shuts down dialogue and genuine engagement. We see this all around us! I’m also teaching Sacred Stories to Year 11 Religion and Ethics at the minute and we’ve been using Campbell’s Hero’s Journey monomyth structure to analyse stories. We looked at this example of the Hero’s Journey Narrative applied to the pandemic.
It feels a little like holding space waiting for ‘normality’ to resume. We are back to the travel restrictions we had most of last year – no crossing state borders, still no overseas travel in sight. Ticking along at school, bouncing in and out of lockdown (thankfully not as much as in some places). I don’t know if we are getting any better at holding space, even after so such a long enforced practice of it. Are we any better at holding space for others, for dialogue and disagreement, for empathy and compassion, and for ourselves, for self-reflection and discernment, for listening and learning, for feeling. It seems like many of these things mean we have to allow ourselves to be vulnerable, and that’s always difficult, but more so when we are feeling threatened. And there’s nothing like a global pandemic to make us feel insecure.
August started with a little SE QLD lockdown, and now COVID seems to be running out of control in NSW, perhaps soon to be followed by VIC. It seems that the view that “it’s too late to get back to zero cases” is obscuring the fact that it’s not too late to save lives by continuing to live with restrictions until the majority are vaccinated. I don’t want to get into a political discussion, but there’s a distinct lack of leadership and accountability in some places! It’s easy to say we should continue restrictions for the common good – to save lives – when I’m not impacted by prolonged lockdowns again of course. At most, lockdowns have been a minor inconvenience to me, and some days, I enjoy the extra couple of hours to myself! So I recognise I’m not in a position to pass judgement. I am grateful that QLD have started vaccinating younger teachers, given that the last outbreak was mostly school-related. So I’m glad to have had my first jab and the second booked in. Schools have the potential to be super-spreading environments with so many people gathering in one space, moving around often, and often in close proximity.
It was good to see some of my writing in print, writing I did during Melbourne’s lengthy lockdown last year, though a reminder that once you send something out into the world, you have no control over what happens to it.
Post-lockdown here in QLD this month, I found a great second-hand book shop that – surprisingly – had a big theology section, and managed to find these gems!
Here are a couple of other enjoyable August moments from running by the sea!