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LIFE DISRUPTED

March 24th, 2020

Anton Barnett-Harris

Anton Barnett-Harris

Chief Executive Officer

Australian Physiotherapy Council

We are living in a time that defies belief.  Some commentators are likening this period to wartime, others to an apocalypse of science fiction proportions.  And yet, somehow, we need to collectively navigate our way through this turmoil and hope to come out the other side.

Despite this unprecedented disruption to our lives and our professions, to our children’s schooling and to the way we are used to doing business, this too shall pass.

Nothing will ever bring back the lives lost and erase the tragedy that befalls our planet.  But perhaps there are some critical lessons that we will be able to learn. Far greater minds than mine have posited the learnings that may come from the impact of the global COVID-19 outbreak, if only we are receptive to their teachings.

Community has never been more important, even if the only safe way to tap into that community is done remotely for the meantime.  Compassion and generosity of spirit are paramount.  So whilst we are all siloed off in our respective homes, this is the time to reach out.  Send a comforting message.  Pick up the phone.  “Showing up” doesn’t mean you have to physically knock on the door.

History tells us that we will resume to a homeostasis at some point.  Well that’s certainly the dream.  But in the interim, to take heed of the ubiquitous disruption and explore this time as an opportunity for innovation, might be the most effective output we can hope for right about now.  The world is being forced to exercise patience and mindfulness – maybe that’s the lifesaving antidote to a society that has lost its ability to be.

To all the health workers and allied health workers on the front line, we salute you.  We cannot fathom the risks you are taking on a minute to minute basis to protect and support the most vulnerable in our society.  We send you strength and will be forever in your debt.

To the candidates whose lives have been put temporarily on hold in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, we want to assure you in these incredibly challenging days and probably weeks and months to come, we are here working feverishly behind the scenes, doing all we can to ensure that once we are fully operational again, we’ll be able to support you and help you resume your lives and ultimately your beloved profession of physiotherapy here in Australia.

So what are the take homes of this global health crisis?

Well, we are all equal; we are all connected; health and family is everything; kindness is the only currency; patience is the noblest virtue; and perspective is critical.  And the lessons we must all heed as a matter of extreme urgency include: how we treat the earth, how we treat each other, how we protect the frail, infirm and marginalised and how our own wellbeing must never come at the expense of another’s.

And here’s a little musing – perhaps a tad less profound, but fairly valuable nonetheless – that the last fortnight has taught me…Humour = Sanity.

As terrifying a time as it is that we’re enduring, laughter somehow makes it more bearable.  So please keep sharing the memes.  And while you’re at it, keep checking in with those you know who are isolated and alone.  Keep being mindful of the haunting images of bereft elderly women and men at the empty supermarket shelves before you grab the umpteenth packet of rice that you’ll never cook.

Stay safe, take care and we are thinking of you.

#lifeidisrupted; #thistooshallpass; #covid19; #letssticktogetherremotely

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