Permission to be Human? Granted!
How the Persistent F*%#@ng Pandemic is changing the way we communicate online
I think I have spotted a highly encouraging trend…the return of humanness online.
It seems to be a perfect storm of authenticity. We quickly recovered from the judder-shock of homestyle self-maintenance during lockdowns, creating clever tricks of the light for our days on zoom.
The industry of ‘Zoom hacks’ that burst onto the airways was testament to a new pandemic-style refocus on how we present. How to look amazing from the waist up, lighting, angles, audio, mute tactics, background dressing, and laptop positioning.
Yet it’s the human bloopers that are always picked up by millions on social media. I still laugh my head off, watching the viral footage of that BBC reporter at home, when the children burst into the room, followed by a cowering babysitter and the most intense stress responses of the journalist. Hilarious. Or the lawyer with the cat face filter on that he couldn’t switch off. Gold!
Just for a bit of fun, I have been sharing pics of my ‘bedheads’ on social media feeds these holidays. First thing, still in PJs, mad curls, no makeup, unleashed. And to my surprise, they have garnered quite the following! It’s an interesting thing. I think people (including myself) respond very positively to any glimpses of ‘humanness’ in life and online, and we all, in our own way, experience ‘bedhead’. It’s a unifier!
The Bedhead experiment is also an expression of my mission with my book Spirited. There can be such a clichéd representation of meditation, inner transformation and living a modern spiritual life…my mission is to normalise it and keep it real.
I am a meditation teacher, Usui Reiki master, transformational mentor, speaker and author, psychic and medium…yet…as you can see…I do not wake on a bed carved from amethyst crystal, with an eagle feather in my hair, an ethereal glow and ascended masters making me coffee.
As I write this blog, I am on a break, with Covid, in the middle of a forest in the Blue Mountains, in Australia. I flew out of Singapore four days after my first book, Spirited, was released. It’s a strange feeling to be bunkered away in the deep winter and watching as this beautiful buzz is brewing outside of the tree line. Lots of media platforms are running the press release, Amazon Asia sold out in the week, Barnes & Noble and Walmart picked up the book which is wonderful for reaching the US market, podcasts, events, lots of lovely messages…awesomeness. And whilst all of this wonderful activity is spiralling around, I’m having a very interesting experience and insights with Covid, which I share in The Covid Diaries…Catch the instalments at @spiritedbydani.
As I’ve been slowing down, pondering, watching, I have come to the conclusion that there are six key dynamics at play in this reach for, and re-emergence of humanness.
- The Ache for Humanness
We’re aching for it. Isolations, lockdown, masks, tracking, systemisation and high regulation plus an overload on world stats and denial of our rituals…have us reaching for humanness; honest, non-augmented, vulnerable humanness.
- The Draw to Unifying Dynamics
That reach is driven by our basic human need for intimacy, witness and story sharing. We are a collective species. It’s how we roll. We are therefore designed to thrive, in community. Some of the most memorable footage on the internet during the first global wave, was seeing that Italian community come out onto their balconies and window sills during a lockdown in a divine medieval town, to listen to and love a solo violinist on his balcony. Or images of the wilderness reclaiming its original territories, tracks and patterns. Dolphins in the Venetian canals, flocks of migrating deer through town centres, birds returning to Rome, whales in shipping lanes and more baby turtles hatching along the once abandoned Australian coastline were all dazzling unifying aspects.
I started a Facebook community in 2020 called Monkey Pot Magic to connect people in lockdown over our shared love of the wild. We celebrated and shared these wild reclamations. The group grew steadily over the first two years of the pandemic to about 600 people, but, at the beginning of 2022, it jumped to nearly 1500 people. People everywhere are seeking connection with others who have shared interests.
Bedheads are also unifying. Everyone in some way, shape or form, experiences bedhead. Even if you have no hair, you will have bed face!
- Baulking at the Augmented Human
Somewhere in the mix too is a maturation of our fascination with the augmented human image. Advertising is welcoming real – shapes, sizes, colours, and heritages. Thank goodness. My jaded mind is questioning whether they are just riding a trend…but it’s wonderful to have humans back, even in the high fashion images. More smiles would be good too!
- Redefining Ageing
A big part of that return to ‘human’ is also some stunning redefinitions of ageing. Helen Mirren, Dame Judy Dench, Demi Moore, Kate Blanchett, Kate Moss, the Queen herself and many savvy, wise, and very sexy ‘older peeps’ are filling the devoid space of reality media and fame junkies. They are all defying the white-haired, washed-out stereotype of ageing and pulling off some stunning wise and edgy commentary and influence.
- Keeping Me Real
Publishing a book is a pretty heady business. So much of my own spirit is poured into the pages. It became my constant companion during Covid as I edited on the move. It’s bizarre, surreal, exciting, deeply satisfying and uncertain…all at once. High feels! Yet I have folded in during the book’s first few weeks of being out in the world…in the forest in the Australian Blue Mountains. I’m watching the press articles and saying yes to some beautiful events…yet the land here and posting my bedheads have helped me stay earthed and useful, as well as grateful and humbled by the whole amazing experience.
The reason we return to this beautiful wilderness as often as possible is because it allows us to re-wild. And there’s no better barometer of ‘degree of rewilding’ than the curls in my family. My two teenagers and I have masses of wild curls. According to mum, it’s our untamed Celtic ancestry. Freed from the humidity-prison of Singapore, within a day, our curls return with gusto. They refuse to be tamed or restrained in any way. Snapped hair elastics and broken hair clips fill the bathroom bin.
Immersion in the deep, ancient, untouched wilderness that’s being drenched in cleansing land and life-reforming rains with wholesome food, a good heater and my kids, is gold. Covid gave us full permission to go deeper into what we normally do. We’re drawing, writing, reading, chatting, cooking, resting, and creating.
I believe the entire world is in need of some serious wilderness immersion. Stat!
I can’t wait to view Covid in my rear-view mirror, shrinking as we move forward, and this pandemic swiftly fades and dissolves into the realm of retrospect and reminiscing.
But as Jean Balfour and I discussed (amongst many other cool things) on her recent podcast, Making Sense of Work, it’s becoming increasingly clear that the virus has gone nowhere and is merrily doing what viruses do…adapting and thriving. I think ‘post’ is a little hasty. Persistent Pandemic or Perpetual Pandemic might be more appropriate.
The quest for humanness is more important now than ever. Playful and authentic communication is the keycode. Are we seeing the rise of The Era of the Bedhead? I hope so.
If you are looking to join groups, retreats or circles with like-spirited people, do get in touch or go to www.daniellevandevelde.com for current offerings. You can also explore courses and useful content on the website to guide you on your path to healing, self-discovery and mindful living. If you would like to explore more about a spirited life, my book, ‘Spirited – A guide to your innate spiritual design to transform your life’, is now available. See stockists here.
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