On June 19th 2020,
We emerge from our cocoons in the midst of a once-in-a-lifetime experience. There are difficulties to overcome. It has made us sad and anxious, given us new impressions and insights. We feel a renewed appreciation of many good things that we tend to take for granted. Yet, it is too early to absorb and analyse the full impact of this pandemic. Going forward, there will be changes, big and small, temporary and permanent. The big question is Will global society undergo a much-needed transformation on issues like inequality and climate change, or will we revert to business-as-usual the minute things return to normal?
Like everybody else, we in the Forum long for the return of normality, long for our meetings, events and activities, long to be together again, to listen to each other’s stories, to sympathise, laugh and learn from one another. Ours is a network of friendship, of companions who read, chat, cook, walk, learn skills and spend time together, listen to speakers who broaden our minds, reflect on art and culture, visit unique places, experience traditional culture and modern architecture. Not doing all this together leaves a big vacuum. So, we look forward to autumn with hope.
Now summer is upon us. The seaside and mountains call. Nature is healing; nature encourages introspection. Albert Einstein said, “Look deep into nature and you will understand everything.” He spoke from a philosophical and intellectual, spiritual and scientific standpoint. At the poetic level, author Ben Okri captures it beautifully: “When society pauses, nature sings.”
I wish you good health and cheer, peace and harmony as you enjoy the sights and sounds of nature.
Have a wonderful summer! You deserve it.
Notice in May 2020:
Who could have imagined the world being stopped by a tiny virus, two thousand times smaller than a grain of salt? We don’t know yet the legacy of Covid-19, neither the scale of suffering nor the long-term consequences. But, this too shall pass. Humankind has always shown ingenuity and solidarity to overcome adversity. A Covid-19 vaccine will be found. This virus is highly contagious, and so is fear. We must remain optimistic, however hard it is. Optimism is key to raising community spirit, as well as boosting our immune system.
Keeping daily routines also helps. Studies show that queens and nuns live long because they follow routines strictly. Routines reduce anxiety. Stress intensifies in situations we cannot control. Like now. But then again, we can control how we choose to respond to the situation. Creativity is a superb stress buster. Any form of art, writing, baking, needlework, or gardening stimulates the brain in a different way – and distracts it from worries. Instead of harbouring anger, fear and frustration, we stay healthier by channelling emotions into days filled with routines: exercising, reading, listening to music, learning and creating.
Gunnel Anita sets a great example. She spent this difficult time diligently learning new skills to revamp our website. It’s ready now. Please take a look at www.iforum.no
Another piece of good news in this time of social distancing: for the first time, we have conducted a Board Meeting in cyberspace with a Silicon Valley video conferencing app. It worked well. We were so happy to be together, doing something new, discussing and seeing each other.
I long to see you all. Until we meet, be safe, stay fit and take good care of yourselves!
President Notice on March 29th, 2020.
Daylight savings started today so we are one hour ahead. I am sure you know it, but this is an opportunity for me to be in touch with you, to say my thoughts are with you and hope that you and your loved ones are OK.
This is a good time to do what we once did so often – pick up the phone and chat with friends in the International Forum. We are all in this together. We can learn from each other, get tips and ideas on how to spend time well, what creative endeavors to undertake, what to read online, what radio programs or podcasts to listen to or what to see on Netflix.
There are so many creative ladies in the IF, I am thinking we could have an exhibition of IF “lockdown” works. Nothing is impossible. As they say, the impossible takes a little more time. And right now, we are blessed with time.
Keep well and Take care,
Notice after March 12th 2020.
Heeding government advice regarding the Corona virus situation, all International Forum events are cancelled until further notice.
There is no need for us to panic or stress, but every need to take basic precautions such as washing hands, social distancing, proper nutrition and adequate sleep.
Our daily schedules are disrupted, our lives literally on hold, and yet, looking at what is happening elsewhere in the world, we are privileged.
Hope you and your loved ones are safe and well.