A week past (was it a week or a lifetime ago?)
I wrote about choosing your pain. Back at that moment, in Europe, we were starting to experiencing the virus. China was on another continent, and Italy seemed faraway and somehow under control.
If doubts existed, today, we are all China; we are all Italy. From Aruba to Fiji, 180+ countries are affected by the COVID-19. No better definition for the expression, we are all in the same boat, and the ship is in trouble.
During this week, I started and stopped numerous times in this article. Every day was so intense that by the time I manage to put my thinking into writing, I felt it was already outdated when compared to reality. So I stopped and decided to watch the “movie” of the week passing in front of my eyes, this is what I saw and learn:
According to my schedule, I should have been all week in Barcelona teaching. A course that was planned to happen outdoors, involving mentoring, walking, and nature, turned in just a few days into an experience online. The open-air class was replaced by an inwards path much more profound than I could initially expect. Amidst the challenge of trying to inspire 26 EADA beautiful people locked inside their apartments, we managed to continue walking towards the best version of ourselves. I share with you the perspective from the professor’s desk, a beautiful outlook into the future. (1)
Click on the image to watch the video of the week.
At the same time, what was professionally planned for the upcoming March, April and May were canceled or postponed in a matter of days. The need to start reinventing the Walking Mentorship seemed to be urgent. In just a few days, we started working from a distance with Universities, video producers, and mentors in different locations. Curiously, after we finished the first materials, specially created to support companies and workforces to face the current moment, one of our team members Ana (2), from Catholic Porto Business School, brought to our attention an insight that we can only see between the lines. It is not the right moment to talk about future activities. People are suffering and trying to figure out how to handle daily basis routines. Marketing, communication, and business should wait because there are more important things in front of us to solve. Whenever the time is right, we will be ready to support your organization.
Click on the image to watch the video.
The worst part of the week, at least for me, was this terrible feeling that we would be physically separated from our family members and friends that are more vulnerable. At the same time, during my first visit to the supermarket, I suddenly saw how we could be suspicious about everyone around us if they dare to stand less than two meters away. But I also learned a valuable lesson. The numerous messages, WhatsApp groups, videos and long waited phone calls that took place in the last days, made me understand that it is good not to know everything, or be able to predict the future. Some of the calls made me the happiest man on Earth. Thank you, Paula (3), for reminding me about such a powerful thought.
After a week (I still have doubts it was only a week), I think I start finally seeing that we have two options. To put it mildly, we either collapse as a global civilization, or we are reborn as humankind, I am afraid there is no middle ground. It’s either make or break. But as my partner Nuno (4) often repeats, Sometimes we win, sometimes we learn. And I think we are about to learn a lot of things.
You might think I am overreacting. You might think that very soon, we are back into business as usual, or you might not be thinking at all. It doesn’t matter, because we are all experiencing an adjustment that is bigger than what we think.
Is it the apocalypse? I don’t think so.
Let me share with you a different perspective.
We have put ourselves in a route of unstoppable exploitation of resources. We believe that if we don’t keep growing, year after year, our life collapses. Decades of corrupt and unethical politics brought us here. We have disrespected the environment, the source of our lives. We have assumed that we are the creators of everything, which we are not; we are just part of everything, we are One, together with the planet.
What nature is doing is very interesting. Instead of wiping everyone from the face of the Earth, it is giving us a subtle nudge that made us (full) stop.
And why we need to stop, you might be asking?
The tunnel we are riding is getting darker. We look forward, and we hope to see the light showing us the exit. But in this case, I am afraid there is no exit. We have chosen the wrong tunnel. It is time to look for a green valley and change the route as my friend Gerard (5) nicely put it.
Click on the image to watch the video.
The journey that is waiting for us is an interior one. Either we like it or not. My friend Miriam (6) sent me a beautiful audio message while walking at home on a treadmill, reminding me that where’s a will, there’s a way.
What we have in front of us is going to demand a change. Of what? We don’t know yet, but we better be open to understand it and embrace it. If you come this far, maybe its time to switch off from the device or the computer and switch on to yourself.
Until the day our feet can freely walk on Earth,
Keep walking with me,
João Perre Viana
Founder of Walking Mentorship
Ps* It is incredible the impact other people have on us if we care to pay attention.
This blog was highly influenced by the beautiful people below:
(1) My incredible students from EADA Barcelona
(2) Ana Côrte-Real Associate Dean Exec. Education at Católica Porto Business School
(3) Paula Marques Executive Director for Business Transformation
(4) Nuno Santos Fernandes Partner at Walking Mentorship
(5) Gerard van den Berg from X-PLORE WILDERNESS
(6) Miriam López Founder of Clickamino