Day 12. Nelson Mandela teaches us about the value of lockdown as a turning point

We may never know how it happened, what happened or when it happened – but there was a turning point for Nelson Mandela, while he was locked up on Robben Island

Once again, we can learn from the Madiba-wisdom*.

Nelson Mandela – before and after lockdown

Most of his life, before imprisonment, Nelson Mandela spent opposing injustices, discrimination and corruption. He even went so far as to become a terrorist, murderer and trouble-maker exciting violence and upheaval. In the eyes of the world, he was blacklisted as a dangerous man.

After his imprisonment Nelson Mandela is known as a peacemaker and bridgebuilder while bringing stability, truth, love, compassion and reconciliation.

What happened during the time of Madiba’s lockdown? The answer is: There came a ‘turning point’.

The question is: What is a ‘turning point’?  

The turning point

A ‘turning point’ is a place in time and space where you make a conscious, mindful decision to do things differently.

It’s a stop and ending of the old season and a start of something new. It’s a natural part of the process of life.

Our global lockdown is also a turning point. We will be able to identify ‘before and after lockdown’, scenarios. Life can never be the same after this. We can expect change and tranformation. The direction will be determined by how we manage, even master our current circumstances in lockdown.

We also experience different kinds of ‘turning points’ during our lifetime.

Different turning points

A turning point takes on different forms and sizes for different people. It’s always personal. Your personal turning point has personal meaning for you.

A sudden sickbed, death of a loved-one,  birth of a baby, a new job, loss of the old job, winning the Lotto Jackpot, good news, bad news, natural disasters and of course our lockdown due to the Covid-19 virus pandemic, are all examples of the ‘turning point’.

It’s the mark of the end of the old – and the beginning of something new. What the ‘new’ will look like – all depends on the choices we make now. Nothing is ever the same after a ‘turning point’.

The outcome depends on how we manage this change and transformation process.

Managing the steps of change

Over time we have developed a clear map of the processes we all go through during change and transformation. Its true for everyone and a natural part of life. Below you find a short summary of these steps.

 Steps of change and transformation

  1. Something happens – and we are shocked and surprised
  2. We react with denial and try to eliminate the happening by downplaying or ignoring it.
  3. When the truth sets in – we react with resistance and/or aggression and try to revert back to the original lifestyle. However, the old is over and it’s time to start something new. The dawning of this awareness can take time as people sway from one level of denial, anger and resistance, to another.
  4. Then comes uncertainty. The old is over, but the new is not yet clear.   Uncertainty can also include depression, anxiety and people can and do even become sick.
  5. Entertaining negative thoughts, feelings and fear-based pictures of the future, can and do drive people still further down this depressing path. If it continues it leads to self-destruction  

The something happens – you reach a turning point

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The process of change and transformation

  • At a point, you decide to let go. You release all preconceived ideas, pictures, thoughts and feelings and open your heart, mind soul and spirit.
  • You go into the ‘silence’. This is an open space of ad infinitum possibilities. You’ve reached your turning point.
  • Only one of two possibilities are available. You can decide to return to another round of shock, anger, denial, uncertainty and depression. You can repeat this process over and over again. It all depends on how long you want to suffer. Some people can remain here by recycling the events over and over again. It could even last the rest of their lives. This choice leads to a break-down.
  • The other option is to make the best use of the opportunity. Here your choice is to make a breakthrough. It’s a decision and a leap of faith to enter into this ‘open space’ – into the silence. It’s here where the magic happens…

Tomorrow we will continue with what happens in this ‘open space’ and how we can implement ‘open space   management’ in order to move forward in a positive way.

Without any of the detail, Nelson Mandela also went through these steps. Fortunately for us he opted for a breakthrough – and not a breakdown. We too have this choice…

To do list

Here are a few ideas to help you on this path:

  • Take a look at this diagram and see if you can identify where you are now? What is your next step?
  • Decide if you want the breakdown or the breakthrough path. Why?
  • Allow yourself to become still. Empty your mind. Let go of all preconceived ideas, feelings and pictures. Relax.
  • Let go of fear, anger, worry, concern and/or get help for depression and anxiety. Remember – ‘only fools suffer’. First help yourself.
  • Stay connected – tomorrow we will describe the path out of the maize.
  • Contact us if you need help, assistance and coaching. 
  • To catch up and previous lessons see. Website: Stay up to date…
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  • Book Dr Brenda as speaker for your next event. Email: Remember, the lockdown and Covid-19 virus pandemic won’t last forever

Stay safe – stay connected

Brenda Hattingh

All rights reserved (c) 2020 CopyRight. Dr Brenda Hattingh


* All references to Nelson Mandela come from his autobiography. [1]  Mandela, Nelson, R. (1994). Illustrated. The long walk to freedom. The  Autobiography of Nelson Mandela. Little, Brown & Company: London.

The rest is my opinion