COLUMN: 'If we can galvanise to lockdown a planet, we can open it up to everyone'

The Everyday Mystic column in The Nationalist with Karl Clancy

Karl Clancy


Karl Clancy


Tipperary Tipperary Tipperary

The Everyday Mystic, Karl Clancy

Have you ever been hungry? Really hungry, the kind of hungry that makes you angry, or hangry.

Have you ever worked a full day on an empty stomach and felt despondent, even a little angry or depressed by the time you got home?

You weren’t hungry, not really. Your body just wasn’t used to the idea of scarcity, of lack, of having to put up with using its own reserves.

Hormonally, this can be challenging as the body quite quickly releases stress hormones, causing all the “hangry”, making us lethargic and cranky.

You were not hungry, not really. You were just peckish.

Hungry is waking up on a Monday morning not having eaten a meal since Friday. Your mouth waters involuntarily filling with that terrible metallic taste, the same one you might get if you were terrified.

You have a pounding headache, you feel weak and you’re shivering even though it’s not cold. Hungry is knowing it’ll be Tuesday evening before you do eat.

You have to get up and get dressed, go to school and watch other kids eat lunches while you drink water. Now you’re hungry.

Concentrating in school is all but impossible and going home presents none of the warm feelings others enjoy.

Here’s the kicker...that boy wasn’t really hungry either.

Hungry is when you lose your sight because you haven’t eaten in weeks.

Hungry is falling down and being unable to stand again, being ready to die from the unbearable weight of need coming from your own body, though it weighs less by the minute and yet the burden grows.

Hungry is your stinking breath as your body devours itself.

Hungry is not having the strength to swat away the flies as they wick away the moisture from your eyes, the only water anywhere.

Hungry is one child every three seconds dying from hunger. When this event we are witnessing passes, and it will, this is our next pandemic, ending hunger, poverty and the unfairness of our current systems, in favour of co-operative capitalism, a model where maximum profit is sacrificed for fairness, happiness and the right of every human to a decent life, replacing making the most profit with making enough profit while taking care of the societies doing the work.

Have you ever done something charitable?

Didn’t it feel good?

That’s because your soul knew it was how you should be, how we all should be. It’s not charity, it’s a new, old fashioned way of making humans feel united as one people.

The only thing that separates us from each other is geography, mountains, rivers and oceans. The last time I looked the world is round and there is enough to go around...there is no “them and us” there is just “us”.

If we can galvanise to lockdown a planet, we can do the same to open it up to everyone. I pray that this event shifts our consciousness and makes us see we ARE humanity, so let’s find that humanity together.

Recently the Choctaw Nation of Native Americans displayed their humanity when, in our time of famine, they sent all the money they could give to us in our need.

They were suffering themselves having been displaced and forced to live on reservations after walking The Trail of Tears, where many died en route to their new homes.

Homes that were on the very fringes of habitability. Yet they gave while they suffered because they knew and shared our suffering.

They saw us as brothers and sisters and acted as family. In 2020 we were able to repay that kindness in the midst of the pandemic when Irish people gave over €1m to the Navajo to help them obtain essential supplies to fight Covid.
The old saying “give until it hurts” doesn’t go far enough.

Don’t give until it hurts, give when it hurts.

Then you’ll know how the recipient feels, creating a bond of empathy, compassion, family and love.

You might dismiss all this as being naive or idealistic and you’d be right. The modern world doesn’t lend itself to seeing us all as one but rather tells us it’s every man and woman for themselves, yet it’s in adversity that we show our true colours. When the tsunami devastated Sri Lanka billions were given in charity, in kinship with fellow humans struggling in the face of horror.

We are capable of so much love and that is where our true purpose lies as a people. We must reach for the idealistic. We must be naive.

Why? It’s simply because if we let mediocrity be the bar we measure ourselves against then mediocrity is all we will aspire to.

It becomes the definition of who we are. So reach for the ideal with naivety.

You may just reach it occasionally and even if you don’t you will be brave in your attempt and the best you can do will be enough, but let it be your best, let it be the definition of who you are.

Learn Acceptance as something to spur you to action, to give you clarity in seeing what you can do and the courage to attempt the things you never thought possible.