Updated: Mar 26
We understand that during this challenging time our members will be impacted in a number of different ways. The Museum Detox DIY How to series will cover topics that are relevant for our members in this most challenging of times. We will be kicking the series off with how to engage with uncertainty and risk.
How to engage with uncertainty and risk
Reflections from a refugee..
Like all of us, I am trying to cope with this time of uncertainty and risk. This inevitably brought back to my mind my experience of war in Syria and what I've learnt from it both on a professional and personal front, so allow me to share some of that with you as a way of reminding myself too.
1. Fear is a natural biological response to threat so normalise it for you and others too. How you deal with this fear will make a huge difference to your own mental wellbeing and that of others. Don't feel ashamed of it and "allow" yourself to feel it. It's okay to be scared, unsure. But don't let it override your judgment.
2. Get comfortable that things will change and try to find the opportunity in that change rather than "clinging" onto a way of life that is bound to change.
3. Stay connected to those you love and to what matters to you! life is short. I don't say this with pessimism, but the exact opposite. I definitely see the beauty of life a lot more than what i did before the war.
4. Be kind to yourself and extend it to others. One of my most memorable and profound life changing moments where with people who showed me kindness with a smile, a listening ear, or a hug when I was scared and unsure what to do. You are bound to cross paths with many of those people if you pay attention. Do the same and spread the kindness. It makes a huge difference to everyone yourself included!
5. Find the beauty in the small things around you: sound of rain, sunshine through a window, sound of birds, smell of food. These anchor us in the present moment and remind us that there is still things that are beautiful and unchanged.
6. Take a step back and try to find the humour in a situation where possible and appropriate. It makes life lighter for everyone.
7. Stay true to who you are even if you feel that people are changing around you. This was inspired by the amazing book The Kite Runner in which I read this sentence that became my daily mantra during times of difficulty:
· "War doesn't negate decency, it demands it even more than at times of peace!"
8. On a professional front, we are a group of highly qualified and passionate people who are all doing wonderful things in our workplace. How we work is going to change now, but there is great potential in that change too. When you are doing contingency planning for your programming, think of this as long-term (up to a year). This is again not to be pessimistic, but rather to embrace this as a new reality which will "allow" us to problem-solve and innovate. Approach this with the mindset that "I have expertise and a pot of funding, so how can use these resources differently?" Speak early on to your funder and discuss your new approach to programming. Share the learning! we are all in this together and trying to figure out the best way to deal with a new challenging situation.
To be hopeful in a world of brokenness is an act of courage and strength, and not one of naivety or ignorance. It comes from full awareness of the capacity of some humans to destroy and inflict suffering, but also from place of choice to engage with the world differently. It's a daily practice of how to truly live the beautiful moments and to create kindness around us. It's to choose light and love with intention and courage.
By Hanouf Al-alawi
NHS Link for those needing additional support: https://www.backontrack.nhs.uk/