Double Take – on Hibernation
RJR: I am rewatching the film Everest at the moment. It is a thought-provoking account of the journey to the summit on 10 May 1996. One of the climbers reflects to the journalist that it is not about competition as the mountain always has the last word… and it got me thinking, again! Over the past few days, I have really been feeling the divide on views about lockdown, the virus, nature and the human condition. Climbing Everest, it was obvious that each person was connected by their circumstances, their goal, their ropes, ladders, oxygen canisters, and their need for survival. They worked as a team, they cared for each other, and, without question, they shared a deep respect for the mountain and mother nature. It feels like we are very much divided in our views about our current situation. There seems to be a rebellion going on in the name of ‘freedom’. Mental health is being confused with emotional health, and perspective is being brought into question. What lessons are there to learn of these times? What do you think, Nigel?
NS: It’s not quite Everest, but I had similar feelings when I was walking the Camino de Santiago de Compostela last year. Then, I wrote about me and my fellow pilgrims all being the same: on the same road, travelling in the same direction, with the same ultimate destination… and enduring the difficulties better when we supported each other. Of course, these words also apply to life itself. And life must be easier when we see nature not as something to be tamed or overcome, but something vast that we are a small part of. The climbers’ fate is inextricably bound up with the mountain… our fate is inextricably bound up with the planet. If this fact is seen and absorbed completely, then how can there be division of any sort? Division, on all levels, is a fundamental human problem. And the current crises – the pandemic, climate change, overpopulation, destruction of the natural world – seem to be underlining that fact.
RJR: Yes, how indeed can there be division of any sort if we really comprehend that we are all as One. Yet even my own struggle over the ongoing polarisation of people’s thoughts, opinions and actions, is all part of it too. My instinct is to hibernate! What is yours?
NS: Yes, I’m very tempted by the thought of hibernation. I like the idea of it as a way of getting far away from everything and recharging; but I’m worried at the same time that it might be a variation of burying one’s head in the sand. Mind you, who knows? One might have a new perspective on everything after burying one’s head in the sand for a while. What do you think might be the benefits for us humans of going into hibernation?
RJR: Well, so many animals do hibernate, and of course plants do too! One big plus of going into hibernation is our chance, if we are able, to self reflect. Through personal time for going deeper with our thoughts, rather than skimming the surface, we gain a greater perspective and become more conscious. Even if we are struggling with issues of our survival individually, and as a species, expansion into the bigger picture brings solace. Hibernating for me so far has brought back a lot of memories of my teenage years, and I am dropping back into the girl that I was, which is certainly an interesting process. In a more relaxed frame of mind, I am feeling all sorts of things about the virus and what we are to learn from it. As a homeopathic student 22 years ago, I was taught that we do not catch colds if our vital force is not susceptible to them. What are your thoughts on that subject?
NS: I think I would relish hibernation as a time for ending all thought processes rather than thinking more deeply! But I assume that each creature or plant uses hibernation for renewal in its own particular way. On colds and the vital force and susceptibility… yes, I would agree completely. We kept being told that Covid-19 is a great leveller and that it does not discriminate… but the truth is that it has been, and will be, those who are susceptible who will succumb to it. Old age, depleted immune systems, poor nutrition, preexisting chronic conditions… they all contribute to susceptibility. Before animals hibernate, they make sure they are well fed. Before we face the next pandemic, we should make sure we have good nutrition, get plenty of exercise, take care of our minds and bodies, and stop environmental pollution and degradation. Instead, all the politicians and media talk about is a vaccine as if it were a quasi-magical solution. Don’t we need to hibernate and then come out of hibernation seeing everything afresh?
RJR: That is so funny – well we are opposites after all! One of the things I have been doing today is studying a course with the Institute of Functional Medicine (with whom I registered) called Resistance, Resilience and Recovery: Patient Care in a Pandemic. I want to understand what is going on from another perspective, and it is very enlightening. I don’t think Covid-19 is a leveller at all. It depends on so many factors as to why different people struggle with it and others don’t. Our genetics play a part too, considerably. And also how much exposure we have to it, which makes complete sense, doesn’t it? If we have a full-on viral load, our body will struggle more with it than if we only have a limited one, which is why I have no issue with wearing a mask. The next pandemic? Perhaps we can work through this one first, no? I am not completely anti the vaccine, although I do not plan on having it myself. I am pretty sure it will create a lot of damage in its wake, but hopefully It will bring some good too. I am guessing you will be someone who will sit back and observe too?
NS: Yes. Personally, I would avoid vaccination. I wouldn’t align myself with the so-called “anti-vaxxers”, but I have no intention of having it. Regular large doses of vitamin C, plus regular vitamin D, seem to have a lot more appeal to me – as well as echinacea at the slightest sign of illness. Of course genetic inheritance must play a huge part in susceptibility, but so do our diet and our “lifestyle”. Much of the state of our health or illness is in our own hands, isn’t it?I think the regeneration of our bodies and of our energy that takes place during good sleep is often forgotten about. Maybe that’s another reason why we should think about hibernation. Or at least, we should use the winter to get more sleep. That would be good for our bodies and minds, wouldn’t it?
RJR: I prefer the idea of hibernation being a time for becoming more conscious. Sleep plays a part, and all the other aspects of lifestyle – but you can’t beat having more insights! Working with my patients today, what came through my channelling was that we need to integrate with the virus – accept it, be with it and not see it as the enemy. We did not believe bacteria were the enemy before, did we? We, as homeopaths, felt that if we raised our immunity, we would become less susceptible. We know that this particular virus is very contagious, but how our body responds is a lot to do with the areas where we are struggling when we are around it, and how much we are around it (the viral load). Hopefully the virus will make us much more aware of our health. We are not at war with the virus or its, and our, mother – mother nature. As a virus, it needs respect, just as much as our planet does. How is that for a challenging thought process!!!
NS: Yes, the virus is not an enemy. We have generally been conditioned to think of “germs” as an enemy to be conquered or eradicated. But it is far more complex than that, as we know. Why do humans in a crisis immediately resort to the language of war? Is that the only way they can process these things? Perhaps we need to make peace with the virus and with the planet – and with ourselves?
RJR: I totally agree!!! What do our readers think?
Rowena J Ronson (above) is a practitioner offering an holistic integration of functional medicine, homeopathy and transformational coaching and counselling: www.evolve2solve.co.uk. Under the banner of “Double Take”, Rowena and Nigel (below) have been jointly writing columns and dialogues for health journals and websites for the past 15 years.