Well it’s five weeks on, and the country has survived level 4 Rahui; is tolerating level 3 Rahui; and is bracing, anticipating and chomping at the bit to have some freedom restored and be at level 2. While I sit here thinking to myself, “Taihoa! What’s the rush?; let’s not be in such a hurry to undo all that we have achieved in the last 5 weeks!”.

I am aware we have all be in the same storm, so to speak, however we have not been in the same boat. Here I sit, with my health, in a warm, dry home, with a comfortable bed, a full fridge (and belly) and some surety of income (as much as any of us can ever have); and with my only complaint being that I would love to be with some of my friends and whanau, and I wish we had not had to cancel our overseas trip for June. So while I sit here in relative comfort, it is painfully obvious to me that this had not been the experience of all of New Zealand, as even more in our community now grapple with no housing, not enough food, no work, no income, loss of loved ones and loss of livelihoods or jobs. It is all very well for me to say don’t be in a hurry, when moving down a level in a hurry could mean the difference of employment or housing for some of those itching to be back out in the world with more freedom.

Five weeks have gone fast and slow and it seems such a long time ago since I wrote my last blog, full of possibility and hope for what Rahui could bring, and full of suggestions of how to get through. Now is the time to pause again and reflect on what Rahui has offered so far, other than our public health results. Here are some thoughts:

  • The inequity and inequality within our community has been highlighted further and all sectors have had more visible eyes on those who have less resources and have less access to resources;
  • There is enough to go around however when we are kind and generous, and the community has mobilised with food parcels, emergency accommodation, digital devices (and who knows what else) as needed, and without any ‘deserving poor’ mentality and without people having to jump through hoops or prove their need;
  • It is also my hope, that now more people, and possibly those from different sectors of our community, find themselves in need of extra monetary, or food assistance, that some of the myths associated with ‘beneficiaries’ and the beneficiary bashing that can go with that will be dispelled. (These new whanau in need have not chosen to be in this boat, which is no different that many of those in need before Covid-19. It is not common for people to actually choose to not have enough work, food, or resources to care for themselves or their own);
  • Despite concerns about rates of Covid-19 for Maori and Pacific communities being high, my understanding is that numbers have actually been much lower than predicted, and in fact both these communities recorded zero cases days before our whole community numbers reported zero. (forgive me if I am wrong on this fact, and sought the wrong ‘news source’). Why? Because Maori and Pacific communities have been mobilised and been TRUSTED to reach their own communities and work with their own communities. Some applicable learning from this possibly?
  • Perhaps we don’t have to all sit on a motorway for an hour each day to all be at work at the same time every day. We have certainly demonstrated that many roles can be carried out at home when we really need them to be, and many employers can be flexible when necessary;
  • Perhaps we don’t have to battle through illnesses and be at work even when we feel too unwell to be, as has often been our societal expectation. In fact this may be one expectation that is well and truly busted by Covid-19, if you are unwell STAY AT HOME!

And in my supervision space? I have noticed some change in the way many have used supervision, and this reflects that for many this time has seemed like a ‘holding period’ while we wait until supervision resumes as ‘normal’ and perhaps while they also wait for their work to resume as ‘normal’. We may find however normal is never again what it was before. I have certainly noticed that seeing three people online per day is more exhausting that seeing 5 or 6 people face to face. (and a number of blogs and articles on ‘zoom exhaustion’ would back this up). Kanohi ki te kanohi has taken on a different meaning to me now as I consider that my online supervision has been kanohi ki te kanohi but has felt significantly different to being wairua ki te wairua. It is the wairua ki te wairua that I miss, more than the kanohi ki te kanohi it turns out.

Thinking back on my blog of 1 April when I invited Rahui as a time for pausing, before we entered later into a time of wairua ora with a new ‘normal’, it is good to note what I will bring with me from Rahui, what I will bring from before and what I will discard. Certainly the breathing, gratitude, frequent movement and regular exercise are routines I have been able to maintain the past 5 weeks and which I hope to continue. I am however looking forward to the lunches, coffee dates, and play dates with friends and colleagues one day being in each others presence again. Although it has been important for my wellbeing to maintain online and phone contact with others in this way, I have found it more tiring that life giving and refer back again to the zoom exhaustion we experience when not actually in each others presence. (and I now think of all those introverts out there who experience life completely the opposite way round to me!)

The reduction in the number of appointments I can manage each day online, does have me wondering whether I do have to see 5 people per day? Perhaps on the other side of Rahui I could reduce to 4 and find a different balance in my work life? I certainly have appreciated being at home in the early evening to put more thought into dinner and experiment more. Perhaps this is something I can bring with me. I’ve survived living on less, perhaps less can be more?

Well this had turned into a rather long epistle! I return again to my 1 April blog and the invitation to stop and reflect. Here is your invitation as we practically and psychologically prepare for level 2 Rahui, and consider what this will mean for our homes, whanau, work circumstances and lives;

  • What will you bring with you from before Rahui?
  • What will you leave behind from before Rahui?
  • What will you continue from your Rahui time?
  • What do you want your new normal to be?

Looking forward to seeing what the new dawn brings.

Ngā mihinui


2 thoughts on “Looking toward the end of Rahui: Preparing for our new usual

  1. Thanks Karen. These are very wise words and thoughts. You have articulated some of my thoughts and experiences brilliantly.

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