One of the great revelations of this summer of fun and games is that it has exposed how much we all really care. As has been said many times, the Olympics gave us permission to celebrate and enjoy life, to smile at strangers and show appreciation to the athletes, to the volunteers, even to each other.
It is so easy for us Brits to put on a cynical face and hide our heartfelt emotions. Cynicism is actually an expression of being frightened to care too much and it started for us as children when, in a moment of upset or trauma, we felt so hurt. Our defense against the hurt was to dissociate from the pain by pretending that we didn’t care. If we stick to this strategy, the shell of skepticism and distrust just gets stronger as we grow up.
Then as we project our cynicism outwards we see an uncaring world. We seem to inhabit a world that cares about all the wrong things like possessions, or winning over others, or other unsustainable behaviours. We turn people and relationships into objects and fret about our status. In turn we become possessed by those very possessions and rankings we have given such importance to – and we are trapped.
This summer has been a reminder that we have been caring about the wrong things. The joy on all the faces at Monday’s parade in London, and the exchange of love and appreciation between the athletes and the crowds, shows how much we care about the connections between us all.
How can we keep this spirit alive and well? By bringing it home into our hearts. When we focus on our relationships, when we see everyone as having value and meaning and make that our keepsake, the possessions will take care of themselves.
Sue and Jeff