Apocalypse – A definition

I recently watched a 2015 National Geographic documentary series entitled “Who is God” hosted by Morgan Freeman. His mission was to travel around the world tracing the evolution of the belief in God. He met with religious leaders of many faiths as well scholars. One of many questions he explored was how do religions define the Apocalypse.

The discussions fascinated me. As a non-Christian, I do not pretend to be versed in the bible. From what I do understand, the book of Revelations describes the Apocalypse as the complete and final destruction of the world. There are many who have been preparing for this end all their lives.

I wanted to dig deeper into the word Apocalypse and discover its etymology.

The origin of the word apocalypse: Old English, via Old French and ecclesiastical Latin from Greek apokalupsis from apokalutein “uncover, reveal. “An unveiling or unfolding of things not previously known and which could not be known apart from the unveiling”. A disclosure of knowledge.

Apocalypse is also used to describe events involving destruction or damage on an awesome or catastrophic scale. For example, a stock market crash or a pandemic apocalypse.

Apocalypse – Revelation

I am not a follower of the idea that the Apocalypse means literally the end of the world. What I do believe is the original definition of apokalupsis (Greek) meaning to uncover, reveal. In a sense, apocalyptic events happen more often than we realize. Furthermore, these events can happen on an individual level, within a subgroup, a region, a nation and/or universally, such as we are now experiencing with the pandemic.

Each day of our lives greet us with revelations and discoveries. Likely, these encounters will be nuanced to the point that we do not even notice the change or transformation that is taking place. Less catastrophic, but nonetheless, revelations. When looking outside at the trees, the river, listening to the birds and the ringing of my outdoor chime, all seems as it should be. However, as I reflect upon the changes that are occurring in my daily, weekly, monthly routine, my awareness is reaching new heights.

Apocalypse – Awareness

Instead of blindly going about my routines as I might have done pre-pandemic, I have to think more intensely about many of my daily actions. Still, I do admit a low level of denial still exists on my part regarding the current state of the my world. It’s as if this is all just a bad dream or an episode of the Twilight Zone, which has turned into a full season.

However, on other days, I view these times as a challenge to my ability and courage to adapt.

For instance, masks are now a staple item I keep close at hand and sometimes I get out of the car, walk a ways before I remember that I forgot to put it on. Or I see someone wearing a mask, which prompts me to return to my car and retrieve mine.

Strolling down the isles of any number of stores there are empty shelves. Items are missing that I have usually taken for granted. Therefore, I have to rethink what to replace those items with as I wander aimlessly searching for stand ins.

What fascinates me about this new way of doing is that I am discovering more unique selections than what I would have normally chosen when robotically going through the isles, pre-pandemic.

Another example is waiting outside before being called into the dentist office to get my temperature checked. Questions about my whereabouts the last two weeks are asked and answered. A feeling of guilt swaths over me for no reason, about places I may have gone. Ultimately, understanding the necessity of it all and becoming aware that I am doing my part to thwart the spread.

I now look into someone eyes with a heightened appreciation as we converse through our masked faces. Consequently, I seem to be listening more carefully and deliberately in order to capture the nuances of the discussion as well as bodily expressions.

Widening my scope. Accepting the transition.

Apocalypse – Allowing

Being open to change is part of who I am. Accepting and allowing transitions has led me to some places externally and internally even pre-pandemic. Apocalyptic events continue to reveal to me the beauty beneath the chaos.

The revelations that the universe is currently presenting will affect us all for years to come. For some, this may prove to be too much. I get that. Empathy will hopefully prevail.

To that end, as a hypersensitive being, I find myself overwhelmed with guilt, sorrow, fear, compassion, love, hope, anger. An example are thoughts of what I should or could be doing which ruminate and infect my mind, especially at night as I am trying to fall asleep. Or worse yet, in the middle of the night when something wakes me up.

What has been helpful is sending my mind to places in nature… the ocean, the forest, the slow moving river in our backyard.

Nature is a constant, always here for us to absorb. When awake, my thoughts of nature turn into walks, observations, reflections and expressions on canvas as a means to visualize my experiences. The effect that nature has had on me were evident even before the current universal crisis. Which for me now, is proving to be a life saving foundation.

Apocalypse – Resilience

Being in touch with what can be done on a personal level within our community is what will ultimately help us survive and thrive under these new parameters. Apocalyptic events reveal who we really are underneath all the noise that surrounds us. However, while we might want to simply walk away and hide, we need one another. Individualism does not work in this climate of global disruption. The rogue player on the field will not win the game on their own.

One of the greatest barriers to connection is the obsolete cultural emphasis of going it alone. Equating success with not needing anyone, no longer applies in our current world. I touched upon this in my last blog: https://michellelindblom.com/shedding-rugged-individualism-for-connection

Therefore, I look to be resilient. Resilience is about problem solving, seeking help, managing feelings and coping, having social support, connecting with others. Also, resilience includes our common spirituality, knowing that there is something greater than all of us. Working as a community in whatever manner that means, is how the game will continue to be played.

Apocalypse – Artistic Journey

Each day a blank canvas or piece of paper awaits my paintbrush or my pen. At this point, I no longer force myself to make marks unless I feel compelled to do so. A few strokes of the brush or a few lines written on the page is enough. The current state of things is allowing me to pause with comfort as I learn to appreciate this fact of life.

This pause I am experiencing is also intuitive. Sometimes guided by the energy forces around me or the subconscious energy within me. Often, I do not know. Which is the beauty, the darkness and the mystery beneath the apocalyptic layers that are part of my existence right now. I respect and am grateful for this revelation.

Image: “Apocalyptic Dialogues”

This is an acrylic on canvas from 2008. The imagery was conceived by listening to the music of Apocalyptica, a four piece string instrument group. Their music is intense just as the dialogue and the noise can be all around us. In this work, particularly, I chose to use minimal colors so that the movements would take prominence. The title is appropriate for the time we are living. We cannot sustain this dialogue for much longer, something is going to give.

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