I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.

Nelson Mandela

There is no way around it, these are trying times, and the way likely gets harder before it gets easier.

So what should we do?

There are, of course, many small practical things to begin with. We can lay in a few stocks, make contingency plans in case we have to spend a few weeks at home, and make sure our friends, families, and communities are as prepared as possible.

But the larger and more important thing we all have to do in this moment is: take care of ourselves first.

This may sound like selfish advice. In a way it is. But it is also vital. If we don’t take care of ourselves, how can we care for others? You cannot give what you do not have.

How best to do this? Remember these two things:

First Thing

Stress can make fools of the best of us, so seek to minimise it wherever possible. A good way to do this is to ask yourself what you can actually control.

There are a great many things outside our control at the moment. We must let go of wanting to change them and accept the situation as it is, because trying to change what cannot be changed is a sure path to madness.

But there are also some things we can control. It is on these that we must focus our energies. Taking care of ourselves is one such area. Physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. Whatever works for you, whatever you need, do that. Drink more water. Get more sleep. Take care of yourself as if you were looking after someone you love. These things are small but their effects are mighty.

Second Thing

Know that there will be fear. This is natural. It’s a scary situation. But know that you are not alone. And also know that if you take care of yourself, you will be better equipped to do the right thing at the right time, no matter how afraid you feel (which is the true test in any tough situation).

The hero and the coward both feel the same thing, but the hero uses his fear, while the coward runs. It’s the same thing, fear, but it’s what you do with it that matters.

Cus D’Amato

These are hard times. Perhaps the hardest of times. But we will make it through if we stick together. And if we do it well, we’ll be the stronger for it.

The best way out is always through.

Robert Frost

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30 thoughts on “ Open Letter To The World ”

  1. True and wise words…the problem with some of is is we always put others first and forget ourselves. Then others assume that fear is crippling, a weakness but I say failure to acknowledge it is the weakness. Because how do you fight something you pretending isn’t there? So, yeah, let’s embrace our fear for ourselves and our loved ones, use it to push us forward into caring for each other in these trying times. Thank you, Mr Radcliff

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Couldn’t agree more. Especially with fear and stress. We will have them but there is always a way to minimize them at least. I feel people tend to forget or neglect themselves because it’s so much easier for us as humans to dwell in the negative, to give up or say/do something mean. But it takes a real person to stand above their circumstances and not let themselves become a victim of it. We all have the power to grow, to better ourselves and one another but it has to start with oneself and you have to be willing to change it for the better. We all start somewhere so why not start now…right? Great post, I’ll look forward to more.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wise words. When I was a flight attendant, our first rule of training in a disaster was to take care of self first, get your bearings and then you will see how to better help others. The reality of how that plays out can be different. When I finally had my first decompression, one of my younger flight attendants screamed and panicked. I had to grab her and sit her down and command her to remain there. She was of no use to me. The others did well. I sat down and put the oxygen mask over my face and inhaled. I would then get up and check to make sure all the passengers were safe. In an airplane, every other row has an extra mask for us to use while we do this. Fortunately, it was not necessary. The crew had brought the plane down to a level that was safe without masks, but it goes to show, how important to relax and keep your head.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. First, thankyou very much for taking the time to read them.
      I was actually thinking of using the oxygen mask example, but in the end it didn’t make it in. It’s good to know that it came across in subtext.
      I can’t agree with your point more. This is going to be so important in the months ahead.
      We are all in this together.
      Hope you are well, have a good one, here if you need me,
      – J

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I knew you’d write a powerful post regarding this new landscape we’re all learning to navigate!
    I came home yesterday feeling sad after witnessing long line-ups, empty shelves and panic buying in my neighbourhood…a walk in the forest and observing a young river otter fishing in the lagoon were perfect antidotes to the fear and I plan to do this more often. Our city is rapidly cancelling events and large gatherings, it looks like my stack of books will come in handy.
    Stay safe and thank you again, James, for your very caring and wise words.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are always welcome my friend. I love your sojourns to more peaceful places.
      Where are you based again?
      Things are pretty much the same in Edinburgh, give or take.
      If you need me, you know where I am.
      – J

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I sensed a change coming after I returned from London and recently spent time on Vancouver Island (one has to take a ferry there and sailings have now decreased) to retreat to a place I know well and love. Right now, I’m on the mainland (Vancouver, British Columbia) and it looks like I will be for the time being.
        I was really touched to see the Italian people singing and banging pots from their balconies, there is much love out there and it will see us through.
        Thank you (always!) for your friendship across the world, James!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Hey James,
    Missed you. Been meaning to message to see how you are.
    Since coming to The Gambia in December (return u.k April 😣 I have noticed how everyone has their nose in a phone. So far social interaction is good & Gambians shake hands in greeting. So far no cases in gambia 🙏 but few in surrounding Senegal, 2 cured & 4 in hospital.
    At Sunday mass customary shake hands for sign of peace has been replaced by hand over chest. Hands over chest often used also in greeting. So far getting by & not causing offence.
    Stay well ❤️

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hey there,
      Missed you too. I am doing well, considering the circumstances – Thankyou for asking.
      Hand over chest is a beautiful thing. I may adopt this ;-)
      Thanks so much for reading this post and replying. Keep in touch. Hope you are well.
      – J x


  6. These are words to stand ip for. I believe this global struggle will
    Take is to the heart of our values and validations. You can check out the way I too express myself in this arena of wordpress.


  7. Hi James,

    Nice to see you in here again.

    You are right, we need to take good care of ourselves in order to take good care of others too.

    Please fix your sharing button for Twitter, as it is not working now. If I tweet from your post, it will only go back to WP.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thank you for your always compassionate concern for humanity, James. As a society, we may need to practice social distancing (what an impersonal term for “observing personal space”), but if our hearts and minds remain bonded, we will never be alone.

    Liked by 1 person

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