Covid, Emergencies and Healing- Reflecting on 2021

2021 has been a year of dramatic change for me. We have spent another year under Covid restrictions, but I have taken the opportunity to push my boundaries and learn to heal using Reiki – the two themes are very connected. For more about my healing journey read here.

In terms of boundaries – for the majority of the year I answered phone calls for the police. Over 3000 of them in total – a mixture of 999 emergency calls and 101 non emergency calls. I was terrified at first, before I learnt how to use the complex software systems whilst simultaneously pushing past my own blind panic. The strongest lesson I learned from the experience is what an absolutely extraordinary team of people Emergency Call Handlers are. They support each other through calls of murder, rape and brutal assault. Through tears, anger and tragedy. I have never in my life felt so “supported by my team”, who show exceptional strength every moment of every day and night. Often with little sleep and their own problems to fix (I couldn’t help noticing that many of them are also the “go-to” family member to sort out problems at home too). They do it all with good humour and sense of fairness and inclusivity that is rare today.

I’m not going to write too much more about it, for fear of getting too mushy – I’d rather let a painting I recently finished speak for me. Meet Emily (above). I wanted to capture her beauty, gentleness and calmness as the world around her presented itself as chaos through her headset. I witnessed this many times sitting near her in the Control Room – she is an inspiration.

Healing and working with the police also fuelled a batch of creativity from me. Not only was I inspired to paint Emily, but I also produced a collection of paintings I made from phone calls, called “Suspicious Circumstances” – now on show at a Met Police facility in London. I also painted a collection of Morris Dancers as a commission and tried to articulate some of the healing techniques I have learnt through reiki and qigong into paintings (see below).

Here is hoping that 2022 brings a new batch of lessons, inspiring more creativity, including a collection of curious travel tales I hope to be published before the summer. For everyone, but particularly for Emily and all her team mates – wishing you a very happy and healthy 2022.