As we find ourselves returning to pre-lockdown life, I am reminded of a famous scene in The Wizard of Oz when the residents of Oz come out after the Wicked Witch has been crushed by Dorothy’s spinning house from Kansas. The relief on their faces and the dance and song they break into makes it clear how happy they are to be rid of this threat and to be able to live more freely. For anyone who knows the film knows this sense of excitement is short lived as another sibling threat pops up shortly to create new fears in the population. Not so different from where we find ourselves as we resume our lives in the world and engage in life despite other world events that loom large.

Getting back to “normal” has become a battle cry for some post-lockdowns, but what about opening to new possibilities and ways of being? Instead of following a treadmill of diarised obligations, how about more spontaneous acts of meeting? Picking up the phone and calling a friend you haven’t seen in a long time because “life gets so busy” Or perhaps no longer pursuing those connections that felt somewhat less authentic and real? Opening the heart to listen to our true feelings and desires is an important part of the process.

How do we open our hearts and our minds in this new world where the threat is ever present, not always visible and is sometimes larger in our minds due to perceived fears and concerns? This seems particularly potent as nature mirrors us through blossoming flowers and fresh green growth on the trees as the leaves populate the branches all around us. It happens so slowly and yet is so beautiful. Is there a message there for us too? Taking it slowly, committing to activities we feel comfortable with and bowing out of those that feel less so. And in between, keeping our judgement of other’s choices to ourselves, always remembering everyone blooms at their own pace and in their own time.