While uncertainty is, and has always been, a part of living and being human, this moment in time is filled with an unusually powerful feeling of irresolution. As each new day of the COVID-19 pandemic brings unprecedented changes in the way we’re living our lives, we are being challenged to let go and meet uncertainty head on. This is a great task for all of us, and especially those living with mental health concerns.
While the challenges are real, I propose that perhaps there are also valuable opportunities for self-growth and connection. An opportunity to slow down, to take life one moment, one breath, one video-call, at a time.
We can project ourselves into the future and imagine all the worse-case scenarios, as I know many of us are doing. While engaging in appropriate preventative measures and preparing for what might come is important, it’s also important not to get stuck there. If you notice yourself ruminating and worrying about the future, imagining possible outcomes, just notice that and come back to where you are now. Take a deep breath, look around the room, look out the window, check in with how you feel and what you need.
During the first-ever online service at the Unitarian Fellowship* in Peterborough a few Sundays ago, Ben Robins, the Director of Religious Exploration, said in his sermon, “these unusual times are an opportunity to rediscover what gives our lives the most meaning.”
Without so many distractions, this is a chance for us to find our centre. To find what little things bring us joy, pleasure, satisfaction and connection. To find out what nourishes us, and what depletes us. To find out what’s in our control and what’s out of our control. To face our shadows with love and tenderness and care.
Degan Davis, Registered Psychotherapist in Toronto says,
“In times when life changes and we are worried about our health, the health of others and even our livelihoods, it is natural that we can become hyper-vigilant, anxious and exhausted, and our moods can shift and change quickly, like waves on an ocean. We are in new situations, daily, with our jobs, our loved ones and ourselves. For myself, I have been taking at least fifteen to twenty minutes a day to practice yoga, exercise or meditate. Or I simply check in and slow down, and ask myself, “What do I need right now? Often, this act of slowing down allows me to be with the unknown with more grounded-ness, and to not try and seek answers right away.”
When we slow down enough, we remember what has always been true — we only have this moment. When we slow down enough, we can start to listen to our own hearts.
What is your heart saying? What does your heart yearn for? What brings your heart joy and meaning? How does your heart want to spend this precious moment?
While we can’t control much, we can live our lives with integrity, do what feels right for us, take whatever next step is in line with our heart. Simply put, if you feel hunger pangs, go make some food. If you feel lonely, call a friend. If your muscles are stiff from sitting, get up and do some movement. If you feel called to give your spouse, your child, or your pet a hug, do that.
One thing I’m certain about is that, one moment, one breathe, one step at a time, we can meet uncertainty, together.
*C.M.H.A. H.K.P.R is not affiliated with the Unitarian Fellowship or any religious entity.