The sun has paid north London a visit today but, mostly, the past month has been wet, wet, wet. We experienced three storms in a week in the UK, and, around the world, flooding has devastated parts of Australia, Brazil, Madagascar, South Africa, USA, Colombia, Malaysia, and Iran. This is not an exhaustive list either.

Combine these natural phenomena with the terrifyingly unnatural barbarism that Russia is inflicting upon Ukraine, and we have another potentially grizzly year on our hands.

Unbelievably, and yes this is from a safe distance, there was a five-hour respite from midnight on the day that England’s COVID restrictions were finally relaxed until Putin commenced his latest atrocity.

Even with the pandemic, from a wider perspective Omicron is still flaring up in parts of Europe and Asia. And scientists have detected a new, hybrid, Deltacron variant (no prizes for guessing the parents).

Of course, bad stuff has happened before and, as then, we will all hopefully do our bit. We can support the Ukrainian (though sadly not the only) refugee crisis, we can continue taking precautions to limit the spread of coronavirus infection, we can change our behaviour in ways that will help arrest the progress of destructive climate change.

But it’s tough going right now. Part of the reason, in my view, is that never has so much information, in such graphic detail, been available so rapidly and relentlessly. As a result, despite the extraordinary acts of selflessness, kindness and bravery that accompany catastrophe, we can legitimately feel overwhelmed, utterly bereft of influence or control.

Personally, and professionally, however, it is important not to lose ourselves in the turmoil of troubling global events.

At times like this, our priority must be to stay focused, to manage the manageable to the best of our ability.  We keep pedalling, in my friend Rita Clifton’s words, from her book Love Your Imposter, ‘as warm-hearted, warm-blooded, committed human beings’.

Fundamental too in this regard is listening. Profound, non-judgmental, uninterrupted, respectful listening. As author Nancy Kline reminds us in Time to Think: ‘The fact that people have stopped talking doesn’t mean that they have stopped thinking’. Let’s give each other the attention we need fully to express and make sense of what’s on our minds.

And if you’re looking for a gathering that wants to change the world, where the big issues of the day are tackled fearlessly, thought-provokingly, and entertainingly, check out the Byline Festival. It’s back after a two-year hiatus and in London at the end of April.

In the meantime, do your thing.