March 27, 2020
One of my favorite pieces of advice in the whole world is to take unknown things and make them known things—which makes the world less scary and more understandable and it makes my world bigger. I live and breathe this rule. It is my steadfast means of growing and adapting as my environment changes.
And then, all of the sudden, my rule could no longer be applied. Just making the unknown thing, known didn’t work. I couldn’t put my anxiety at ease and it occurred to me that one of the reasons why this pandemic has become so frightening is because there is no way of making this unknown quantity, a known quantity.
Literally, unless I contract coronavirus, which I would much rather avoid, there is no making this amorphous, scary thing and its effects, known.
I sat with my journal this morning trying to figure out a way forward because sitting in fear until this is over, quite frankly, sounds exhausting to me. Especially since we really have no idea when this will be over. (Oh s*$!.)
My rule cannot be applied because the universe is actually asking us to do the exact opposite. (Insert eye roll directed at the universe here.) The universe is saying, look, guys, you’re just going to have to sit in the unknown and be okay. You will have to find peace in not having any idea when this will end, and what the world will look like when it does end.
To sit in the unknown and be okay with it? Well, that sounds like my least favorite thing in the world to do, right? Yes, in case you were wondering, that is 100% correct.
The funny thing that this quite dramatic turn of events helped me realize is that the unknown is actually around us all of the time and we are always sitting in it, we’re just really good at ignoring it and asking it to wait for another day—by creating routines and expectations and the concept of time. So, maybe, just maybe, instead of making the whole world a known experience, which I would’ve previously promoted…I can find some joy in the unknown and it will actually make my life easier in the long run. (What a concept!)
So, after lots of thinking and journaling and meditating and maybe just a little bit of weeping…I have come to the conclusion that like so many wise people have suggested and I have chosen to ignore…it is time for me to become okay living in the present moment. (Damn.) To be grateful for this second, enjoying the now and understanding that truly, this minute is what I have to celebrate. I cannot know what is out there or what tomorrow will bring. I cannot know when life will return to normal or if it will ever be what I thought it was going to be and that’s beyond terrifying. But if I can just sit and breathe and be here, in the brief moments that I can, I can take breaks from my fear. I can appreciate so much more and my priorities in life become shockingly clear.
Look, it’s not like I have this clarity and peace of mind consistently, it’s like exercising any muscle and muscles take time…just ask my biceps…but when I feel the panic rise and I think about not being able to understand the future I realize that this pandemic isn’t just about coming together and being there for each other (which is an amazing result as well) and turning our world upside-down, it is also the cosmos showing us that here we are in this moment, feeling powerless, but the power lies in accepting this moment, in breathing into this sliver of time. In trying to find peace and joy at this moment because making the unknown, known right now is simply not possible and I think I will actually be better off for learning.
There is no other option for me really unless I want to sit in constant fear.
So, here I stand, pacing back and forth in my kitchen on a Friday morning. I am feeling the sun on my skin coming through the window, I am tasting my chai tea fully for the first time. I am watching my husband hard at work and I am appreciating this moment for everything it is. I am not afraid because I am here and only here. And even if being in the present moment only lasts for a few minutes or seconds every day I can find some peace and that peace is comforting and warm and like a hug from a best friend.
This is not to deny that the hurt and suffering in our world is horrifying or to say that I am not taking seriously what is going on around us. I am just offering myself some peace and maybe you can find some peace, too, if even temporarily since what is going on around us is so beyond out of our control.
Inhale. Exhale. We will see the other side of this and no, I do not know what the other side will look like, but in the meantime, I will ask the universe to teach me about the present, to show me how I can be in the now even when I think it’s impossible. I will take this time to learn and breathe because simply, it is the only thing I have any control over.
Have a wonderful weekend my friends. I am here for you. Talk to me about your present moment? What does it look like? How can we be here for each other and enjoy what we can in this dark time? XOXOX, CAMDW.