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Uncertainty during a Pandemic

Are you feeling uneasy about what your future looks like since the pandemic started?

Do you find yourself worrying more? About yourself, your family, your career?

Are you finding it more difficult to make decisions because you aren’t sure what the future holds?

Do you find yourself catastrophizing about what could happen to the world as we know it?

Do you find yourself imagining every possible outcome to a situation and trying so hard to control it?

I feel you. You are not alone. I am writing this in hopes to shine a different light on the uncertainty that the pandemic has highlighted for many of us, but that has always been a part of our life.

Yes, the sadness and loss of this time is impacting many people and my heart does ache for those directly affected. I have been one of them. I pray for them every day and I try to get involved in causes that help those suffering right now. But there are so many people who have not been directly affected who are living less of a life because of the lack of mental awareness they are having. I need to sit and think about this regularly or I can easily fall into this as well.

We think the pandemic has made life more uncertain for us. We think it has presented new risks to a future many of us falsely believed was certain. We thought we were in control.

Here is the fact that changes everything...we were never in control. Our future was never certain. There are only two things I can think of that are certain for every human being on this planet...we are alive now and we will die one day. I can’t think of anything else. Yes, there are many things my brain comes up with that it likes to think were or are certain, but they are not.

The past 21 months has challenged this belief in every way. There have been painful realizations along the journey but my life has expanded and I am getting closer to truly living than I ever had been. Finally understanding what it is like to live in the present moment. Appreciating and being in awe of the little miracles of every day. Admitting that I am not in control and finding peace and freedom in that place.

No, I am not in a place of zen. There are still times when I want to scream that I can’t believe this is happening. Are we really raising our children during a pandemic? How unfair is that?

How unfair is it that my patients and loved ones are dying from covid? How unfair was it that my dad was in the hospital and/or rehab for 3 months and we were not allowed to visit him? How sad is it that so many people are isolated, alone, and mental health distress is at an all time tragic high? These thoughts come up and I give them their time. I feel sad, angry, entitled, and all the things that come up for me.

But if I choose to stay only in this place and not shift my focus, what will my life look like? It will be a shell of the human experience I was put on this earth to have. I have done a lot of deep thinking lately (that is me, who knew?!) and what I know is that I was put here on earth for a purpose. At the most fundamental level, I was put here to live. That is what I want to do. It might look a little different than it did pre-2020 but I am figuring out every day what I want it to look like. I have been hit in the face with the fact of uncertainty. Now I am deciding how I want to live this precious life carrying the inescapable fact of uncertainty with me.

When you think uncertainty is a new problem for us, think about human history. Think about other parts of the world right now. There are people who have never known where their next meal was coming from. Our ancestors faced war, famine, and their futures were never certain. Are we the first humans facing a possible supply chain breakdown? Humans have always lived in uncertainty and thrived despite it.

Uncertainty can hold a lot of scary stuff and our brains tend to focus on that aspect because historically, our brain has been responsible for protecting us, way back to the days of being chased by animals and having to survive. We just think it is new and worse because maybe it wasn’t at the forefront of our awareness before COVID. But what if you could find a place of acceptance with uncertainty? What if you could let go of the false idea of being in control and finding out what you are capable of experiencing in this life? What if instead of imagining the catastrophic “what ifs,” you asked yourself what are the magnificent possibilities I have here?

Dream big. Let your brain go there and answer how you can live and shine despite uncertainty. You will be filled with awe, empowerment, and expansiveness if you spend time in this space. I promise.

“The moment of surrender is not when life is over, it’s when it begins.”

-Marianne Williamson

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