May You Live in Interesting Times

In 1966 Robert F. Kennedy famously said, “There is a Chinese curse which says “May you live in interesting times.” Like it or not, we live in interesting times. They are times of danger and uncertainty, but they are also the most creative of any time in the history of mankind.”

Sound familiar?

We are most certainly living in interesting times with the entire world affected in some way by this COVID-19 pandemic that we find ourselves in. As a coach and supervisor, I have been fascinated by the vast variety of human reactions and behaviour. The Grief (of Change) Curve model, developed by psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross to track the natural transition that we humans move through in times of shock, change and bereavement, has been brought to life on an international stage.

I wonder if you recognise the emotional journey that you, your friends, members of your family or indeed your community have been on in the last few weeks by looking at the model below?

As an English person living in Switzerland, I have hugely appreciated the many multi-cultural coping mechanisms around me, including humour, community, volunteering and all the little messages of unity, solidarity, connection and support.

However, my main message here is that we are all individuals. My reality is only mine and yours is only yours. None of us views the world as it really is, we actually see the world as we are; through the lens of how we are made, the experiences we have had. No two humans are ever exactly the same in how we have learned to view the world, the people around us and ourselves. Whatever lens we see through, will have an effect on our mood, our energy, our relationships and the world around us.

What does this mean? It means that your every reaction is valid and ‘real’ for you. It means that understanding, and more importantly, accepting yourself for who you are, where you are, how you react and what you most need to move forwards towards acceptance and confidence of a new reality. It means that whatever you are feeling, thinking or reacting, it is okay; you are okay.

Every reaction, every emotion, every thought is valid. There is no right, wrong, good or bad, there is only acceptance. Once you are able to accept that what is real for you is okay, this is the point where you can begin to move forwards.

There is a saying that you can always see the splinter in someone else’s eye, but you can never spot the log in your own. How true! As a supervisor, I need my supervisor, as a coach I need my supervisor, as ‘Gillian’ I need the reflective dialogue of a coach or trusted friend to help me see what I haven’t thought of or considered yet in order to alter my perspective.

This ‘Social Distancing’ time is also the time to connect. It is the time to reach out beyond our old perspectives of ‘normal’ and see what else is possible. It is the time for creativity and reinvention and it is time for acceptance.

I am okay.

You are okay.

Where ever you find yourself currently on the Change Curve is okay.


Be compassionate to yourself.

Find or create a safe space where it’s okay for you to feel like this and it’s okay for you to feel like that.

Give yourself time, love and acceptance and then offer the same to others.

Wishing you health, acceptance, personal insight and positive connection in these most interesting of times.