It’s been a few weeks since I last blogged. Mostly because I have been taking a bit of a social media break, but also because I have been spending quite a bit of time contemplating…

There is no denying that the past few months have been troubling, overwhelming and confusing all in equal measures. But there have also been some amazing things to come out of this time too. Me and Mr Bee have been capitalising on this enforced time together, often spending sunny afternoons in the garden sipping a beer and playing Scrabble, like we did when we were travelling around South East Asia.

We have also been discussing how simple we required our lives to be when we returned to the UK after many months swinging in hammocks, soaking up the scenery, reading whole novels in one day, absorbing new music, having deep conversations after sunset with fellow travellers – sharing our cultures and our dreams. Even though Beeston, Nottingham was so many miles away from us and we hadn’t seen friends or families for a long time, our travelling communities were all we needed to satisfy our social and emotional needs. And of course we had each other. All we needed we carried around in our backpacks, every new day full of new connections and experiences.

It didn’t take us long for us to find jobs, a home and reconnect with our people, however the great recession of 2008 to 2013 was fast approaching and austerity on the horizon. Only needing the basics makes you careful with money and teaches you the value of your community. We are fortunate in that we have benefited from the community we have nurtured, though we could do with a bit more we want for nothing. It is this gratitude that first led me to build the Bee Creative Community, and I get as much from it as I give. Initiating community projects was one of my main passions, that and empowering people in the community to feel able to contribute their skills and their voice.

Like most things over the past three months, projects have lost their momentum and threads have been dropped. Nevertheless, the conversations have been continuing and creativity has been happening all over the globe. Some incredible artwork, writing and film has risen above the pandemic panic and paralysis. Also, the feeling that communities are reconnecting in support of the most vulnerable has been so wonderful to see. It has given me hope that we can return to a society where we are not concerned with what we have, but who we have, and appreciate that more.

If this ‘lockdown’ period is to have taught us anything, then in should be what is REALLY important in our lives. Our health, our security and our comfort and the people and basic things we need to keep us happy and healthy. One of the things that has been so hard about this enforced isolation is lack of human contact, and it’s right up there on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs as vital to our ‘belongingness and love needs.’ Never more have some of us relied on strangers in our community to support us with our basic needs, and to do the right thing to keep us safe. It’s not all been positive, there appear to be people who are still focusing on their self-interests, but strength in community has presided over it.

And this is the good stuff we can build on. I know it all seems one big crazy mess right now, but if you extract yourself from the media circus and stop scrolling for a minute there is a whole world out there that belongs to us. There are close knit communities that you can belong to, and it there isn’t then you can build your own – I know because I did. It’s been tricky keeping the enthusiasm up for weekly projects to inspire and engage people, but honestly I think the connection has been much more important. It’s also important to connect with nature.

There’s a glorious stretch of woodland at the back of my house that needs our help, as do the campaigners who are trying to save it. Developers have bought some of the land and are planning to decimate its natural beauty and the homes of various wildlife that have established themselves over the years. Now is the time to make those changes, if not now then when? It’s time to build on the positive steps towards ‘living better’ and conserving the things that make our world a wonderful place to live. Let’s strengthen our communities and exercise our power to create, not destroy.

DU