I grew up in Hong Kong and moved to Perth on my own when I was 16. I moved back 20 years later, with a university degree, 10 years managing mines, a bout of depression, a period on a reality tv show and publishing a book.
The challenges of coronavirus are the same here as the rest of the world.
But in HK we had the SARS virus in 2003. I think this prepared us, both as a government and as people, for the COVID crisis.
In HK you cannot get into shops, or schools or banks without wearing a mask. People understand the idea that they can help by not spreading the virus.
In the US my brother and brother in law are doctors that work in hospitals. We had to send them masks as they didn’t have any. My brother had to wear a single use surgical mask for two days.
Hong Kong has a woman leader, who is not perfect, but her results in trying to contain the pandemic within Hong Kong have been admirable. It is interesting looking at the leadership of Ardern, Merkel and the other women of the world compared to the men.
Leadership is about leading by example. They seem to be doing it well. And they seem to be empathising with their citizens.
As a kid I’d practiced meditation. But in my teenage years it was uncool and so I lost the habit. And then in 2014 I developed depression.
I had been making good money, had a great car, nice house, but it wasn’t making me happy. When my long term relationship ended it came to a head.
Getting back into meditation and learning about myself was what helped me survive. I learnt how to cope and exist with difficult emotions.
We spend a lot of time ignoring emotions. Suppressing them. But in times of struggle it is important to recognise that it is ok. It is ok to not be ok. In 2019 I was on a reality tv show. And that was challenging. You are set up to react. That is what drives ratings. So I was able to use mindfulness to stay calm in challenging situations.
After the show I went back to mining but really wanted to work with people. I volunteered teaching mindfulness meditation at a maximum security prison and worked with drug and alcohol groups.
We started with one or two people in a class but afqter a few weeks I had 20-30 people in class.
All we were doing was treating people as people. Trying to help them take a breath. To help bring them out of fear. Fear and anxiety are such crippling emotions.
Now I am running meditation classes and working as a holistic therapist in HK and online. And whilst the triggers for fear and anxiety are a worldwide pandemic and social isolation the process is the same.
If we focus on the negative, the scary, the unknown, it makes us live in the fear.
The role of meditation is to bring calm, to breathe, to look toward the positive, and realise that healing comes from within rather than external gratification.
Many thanks to the lovely Dino for sharing his experience and perspective from Hong Kong. You can find Dino practicing at Central and Stanley Wellness (Hong Kong), where he offers Small Group Mindfulness Meditation sessions:
Dino's book is “A Miner Who Wins Inner Peace” which can be bought online.