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Spaces of Sanity

'Loneliness and Powerlessness feed each other' states Noreena Hertz in her compelling book The Lonely Century. These two issues are core issues that we at Shikodo want to focus on during this month of April.

During March in which we highlighted women’s empowerment Shikodo facilitated four awesome events brining together some amazing women from across the globe. I was personally moved by many of the stories which put light on this ever-increasing sense of loneliness in our societies. No doubt, Coronavirus, with perpetual lockdowns has exacerbated this.

The issues of loneliness and powerlessness are stark and real. Many years ago, I worked with an organization whose role it was to help people who had experienced long term institutionalization in psychiatric hospitals return and find a sense of belonging in community. As a team leader, I was continually overwhelmed by how these persons’ loneliness was deepened by their sense of powerlessness over their life and the situation they were in. I hear the same stories time and time again today. It is not just a physical loneliness; it is also a loneliness of having no agency and no one who will listen. People do not care, governments who play the role of automated human beings who belong to the ‘system’, do not listen to its people and all of this has immeasurable dire consequences to the fabric of society. Last month the Victorian government released a damming report by the Royal Commission into the state of mental health services (read ‘system’) in the State. It was horror reading.

At Shikodo we are creating small spaces of belonging and sanity. We do this by living a life of a new Mindset, a Growth Mindset. Most of us don’t think about how we think. We are on default setting which is mostly a ‘reactionary’ setting. While this type of mindset may be OK for dealing with small day to day problems ie ‘What am I going to have for dinner this evening?’ it is less helpful when confronted with life’s bigger issues and struggles that underscore the day on a regular basis. A Default mindset disempowers. With a Growth Mindset we are able to see struggle and problems for what they are – opportunities to grow – and be there to support each other.

Shikodo is a ‘for impact’ organization so most of our events, training and workshops are sponsored or at low cost .During April we will be running events that touch upon the issues of loneliness and connection. You’re welcome to join us. I would love to hear your stories of how you have coped and survived so that we can glean the wisdom and honour your stories and help you find ways forward. Loneliness does not have to be. Help us create those small spaces of sanity and belonging and in the process help to build a new global family.

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