All around the country, we are smack bang in the middle of yet another wave of load shedding. And along with the blackouts comes its constant companion – complaining. It’s everywhere you go and from everyone you listen to. And sure, of course it’s far from great, it’s triply so far from great thanks to the similarly persisting stranglehold of lockdown and the work-from-home reality. And yes, I know there has been an abundance of corruption, ineptitude, incompetence and mismanagements and etc, etc. All of that is inarguably true, and still all of that doesn’t change a single thing. The cumulative cacophony of complaining from the South African populace isn’t going to coalesce into some magic concoction that will keep the lights on. It is as they say what it is.
So how about this twist to the tale – perhaps load shedding presents a potential opportunity rather than another woe is me, doom and gloom pity party.
But what does this have to do with your health and wellbeing? Well, complaining isn’t going to make you any healthier or happier. Given the undeniable connection between one’s state of mind and one’s overall state of wellness those feelings of anger, annoyance, disgust, despondency, vengeance and whatever else are only going to suppress your endocrine system thereby suppressing your mood and weakening your immune system. Not only are you not thriving when you’re lamenting, you’re leaving yourself susceptible to pathogenic attack.
And the failures of Eskom and those above it are entirely out of your control. Whinging and whining doesn’t bring the power back one second faster. It only drenches those hours in self-defeating negative emotions and energy, making them feel longer and heavier. The scale of comparison suffering and inconvenience are such orders of magnitude apart to be laughable, but let us learn from those who knew greater pain. Let us now hear and apply them. Famed Holocaust survivor and psychiatrist Viktor Frankel passed onto us one of the sagest and most poignant wisdoms of life – that the one true human freedom remaining is our ability “to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances”.
“When we are no longer able to change a situation,
we are challenged to change ourselves.“
So, let me propose that this electric disconnection is a wonderful opportunity for connection. Unshackled from the grips of technology, voluntarily or not, why not use this time away from television and computers to connect with another human being, including yourself. Call someone you’ve been meaning to but keep putting off. Use the undistracted time to catch up with loved ones. Why not go for a walk? Maybe with a partner/spouse or a pet. Enjoy the summer sun and fill your body up with healing light and protective vitamin D. You could read a book. You don’t need electricity for that.
Or spark up the candles, get close to someone you love and get in the mood. What about seeing this as a moment to bring the household together? Bust out a few of these very affordable battery powered lanterns and commune around a table and play a board game together. No light, no computer, no TV aka perfect time to meditate. And for the many of you who are over working and sleep deprived, pretend your laptop battery is dead and seize the moment to get an early night of sleep and give your body the rest it desperately needs. Even if the traffic is unbearable and horrific, steaming and cursing in the car doesn’t make it move any faster, so why not look at that impossible to escape extra time as more time to listen to some music or learn something new from a podcast? Maybe even The Made To Thrive Show, available on all your favourite podcast platforms. 😉
Those are merely some suggestions but there are undoubtedly many more things to do without electricity, something that has only been ubiquitous in households for less than a century. Get creative! Use your imagination. Whilst you are disconnected from technology, connect with the present moment and the possibilities it holds.
Disconnect to connect.
Look, I know the situation isn’t ideal. That’s obvious. And for some the impact is far more consequential than for others. I am not diminishing that. But Friday afternoon from 16:00 to 20:30? On Sunday from 12:00 to 16:30? I even came across complaining the power was out from midnight to 04:30. Surely, we can survive that.
Life isn’t ideal either. Life is an experience of relentless push and pull, wins and losses, ups and downs, change and adapt. We have the choice to accept our reality as it is or we can resist it, fight it, curse it, wish it different. One leads to peace the other is literally the definition of suffering. Don’t let things you cannot control get you down and if they do, don’t kid yourself – you are allowing them to. So next time the lights go out instead of moaning why not make memories?
You’re already disconnected, so why not connect?