What’s Really Happening When Life Gets Scary
Regardless of who you are, the career path you’ve taken, your family, or the spiritual path you are on, inevitably you will meet something really scary and realize that you cannot escape one of our greatest adversaries – uncertainty. Uncertainty brings up feelings of powerlessness, loss, and vulnerability. It scares us into withdrawing from the growing edge of our life, opting instead to hold back until we feel more brave and confident.
In fact, there are numerous circumstances these days that are triggering the experience of uncertainty. The COVID-19 virus pandemic is just the latest, and it’s impacting everything and everyone on the planet. That’s a pretty big deal! That means that whatever you are experiencing emotionally and physically, there are a few billion other people who are feeling exactly the same way. In effect, you are not alone!
Those of you who read my offerings know that I like to get deep down into the nitty-gritty of life as it is. I don’t pull punches or sugar-coat. So here we go: Uncertainty, and the fear that arises from it, and all of the worry and the actions we take because of it, well, that’s just a big fat be-with! So let’s talk about this for just a bit.
The Wisdom of No Escape!
Whether you like it or not, uncertainty ceaselessly follows us until we succumb to the realization that we cannot escape it. Nobody gets out of life without experiencing uncertainty at some point! The COVID-19 virus pandemic is a great example. In general, each of us lives with a sense of knowing that we have at least some tools, skills, and wisdom to be with uncertainty – until that uncertainty is bigger than what we’ve experienced before, as in, when life presents you with something scarier and more powerful than you’ve ever known. Most of us will prefer to shrink away, but I’m saying that all this means is that the skills and tools you already have may simply need an upgrade!
Many of us live with uncertainty everyday, for example, all First Responders are on constant alert for intense situations to arise. Parent with children of any age also live with uncertainty relating to the well-being of their children. Having the knowledge that some uncertainty is to be expected generates courage to adventure into an exploration of ourselves, revealing what we already know: that we are already powerful, courageous and adventurous! That is what has gotten us this far in our lives! However, when situations like COVID-19 pandemic occur, we are being called to expand our bandwidth to include more of ourselves and live into the uncertainty differently, trusting that some benefit awaits in the aftermath.
Each of us is being brought to the brink of reality as we knew it. Existential questioning of who we are, what’s the point of life, & what matters most, is on the minds of almost everyone. It’s kind of a wake up call where we are required to be fully present to the human/spiritual dilemma of being with uncertainty. Fun, right?
I know you want to say that you didn’t sign up for this. And maybe you didn’t. Maybe you were drafted into this situation against your will. Regardless of how you got here to this moment, you and me – we are all in this together. It requires moving beyond hope, beyond trust, and to some degree, needing to take a huge leap in faith.
Just What Might Be the Learnings to be Had Through Such Uncertainty?
Any life circumstance has the potential to take us to the edge of our comfort zone, and even to the edge of reality as we know it, which makes us feel exposed and vulnerable. This CoronaVirus may be here to teach us some really amazing stuff about ourselves, whether we contract it or not. For one thing, we might learn to be with the HUGE questions: Am I going crazy? What did I do to deserve this? How do I get back to the old life before this all happened? Why me and why now? These aren’t rhetorical questions!!! Like a 2×4 hitting us upside the head, these questions need our attention, and uncertain times bring them to the forefront of our minds!
Moreover, times of uncertainty invariably bring each of us to experience feeling powerless, helpless and vulnerable. Yet most of us spend our entire lives creating invulnerability so we don’t have to be with uncertainty and vulnerability. So the COVID-19 pandemic brings us into ourselves perhaps like nothing has before, especially for those of us who have never been in a war zone, known 3rd world poverty first hand, or been in a natural disaster. As such, we are being given a gift of self-discovery. What do you do with that, you ask? Well, we can fear it or we can embrace it and own our vulnerability!
Powerless, Hopeless, Helpless: Getting to the Heart of the Human Dilemma
Truth is, we are Spiritual Beings having Human Experiences. Remembering this is essential to being with uncertainty. Accepting and surrendering to the fact that our humanness sometimes cannot protect us from feeling vulnerable is a very big deal! And, it’s only just a part of adulting ourselves where we cultivate wisdom and stop denying and ignoring the absolute truth of what is being experienced by each of us in our humanness and our spiriutalness. Realizing that, although the journey is scary, it is essential to our spiritual growth, empowers us to be with what is as it is, and dig into ourselves – not for answers or solutions, but for the direct experience of what is truth. This process of being with uncertainty requires that we exercise the muscles to be with the exploration of the experience of our powerlessness, helplessness and hopelessness – that’s the truth! That is a lot to be with! And there’s more!!!
Being With the Big Fat Be-With
Circumstances such as the COVID-19 pandemic create opportunities for Self-Realization, which is just one step in the process of awakening. Another step is Self-Actualization, which is required to integrate our body, mind, and spirit.
It’s interesting to notice that, thinking does not require one to actually experience humanity and fully engage to one’s fullest expression of self. In order to participate fully in this human adventure, you must first be present to the direct experience you are having. This is something most of us avoid. However, we can’t take action by changing thoughts, feelings, and behaviors until we have the direct experience of knowing exactly what it is we are experiencing. Again, most of us avoid this practice of being in the moment in the direct experience of their lives.
I’m finding it fascinating the degree to which my thinking has changed within the last week. I’m asking myself questions that I really want answers to, such as: What’s really important to me right now? Who am I in the midst of a possible cataclysm? If this is the end of life as I know it, how do I want to be me as we all move forward?
And, the most challenging be-with these days is that there is no safety net! Your bank account, your education, your corporate status, your religious upbringing, how wise you are – nothing will provide a safety net for any of us. We are all on a level playing ground. I think that’s good to know. I can’t outsmart this CoronaVirus, nor can anyone else. It’s a matter of common sense and a matter of a Divine Plan. And, how we be with this big fat be-with is very, very personal.
So, all of the Survival Mechanisms that we’ve put into place, consciously or unconsciously, to avoid, distract, and deny what we know is true – that we are powerless and helpless over this CoronaVirus and other things – have to be recycled, revamped, or retired. Why? Because they are not working. Right? Most of us take on our survival mechanisms as young humans, when we can’t comprehend the things that are happening around us. Rarely do these survival mechanisms continue to benefit us as adults. So we have an opportunity to upgrade our skills and tools for uncertainty right now, and maybe, just maybe, on a Big Picture level, the COVID-19 pandemic is trying to give us this message!
When we realize the degree to which we live in fear and stress, while thinking that it’s normal, we can hopefully choose to catapult ourselves out of this paradigm of fear and dis-ease. Perhaps this COVID-19 pandemic could create a healthy paradigm shift? I believe that is a huge possibility!
So what is this healthy paradigm that doesn’t require us to live in fear and stress? Acceptance of what is. Yes, there is serenity, peace, and empowerment after acceptance and surrendering our powerlessness. Surrendering our will and our attachments to beliefs and desires that are part of a bankrupt fear-based paradigm is perhaps what’s being asked of us right now. We are in the midst of a potential paradigm shift which requires us to exercise, stretch and strengthen those muscles that allow us to engage with life in the current moment, as opposed to putting our heads in the sand. In this new paradigm where fear does not control one’s thoughts, feelings and actions, gratitude is ever present: “Oh, Creator: I am Grateful for the Way that it is!”
Unseen Support: Guides, Angels and More: We Can’t Do It Without Them
Every spiritual and religious tradition requires the belief in the unseen support that is always with us. It’s required in order for us to reach beyond our limited human capacity to allow council with those who have unlimited wisdom, love and support for us.
There are thousands of ways to converse with the unseen: writing, contemplation, meditation, prayer, creative and expressive movement, and art. Immersing oneself in nature, playing with children, laughing with friends, visiting people who would love your company. Reading inspiring works, learning to love what is – all of these are salves for the soul. As we are confronted with such uncertainty, we need to bring light and love into our lives in the ways that lets us know we are so much more than our circumstances!
Now is the Time
The interesting dilemma is that in times like this, we look to hope and we look to the future for peace and serenity. However, we ignore our present lives when we do that! We ignore the precious “I” that is experiencing humanness in this moment. We ignore the exquisite experience that is here to be lived, not to be ignored.
Yes, this is a time of uncertainty. Yes, this is a time to look beyond our fears of survival. Yes, this is a time of an end of life as we have known it to be. And, yes, this is a time to discover and experience the truth of your being that so desires to be acknowledged through this time of uncertainty. My hope is that you can now see that there is so much more being offered to us than fear and uncertainty in this moment. I invite you to step into some quiet time with you. Be with what’s showing up for you beneath the fear and uncertainty, and perhaps this big fat be-with will provide you with wonderful and unexpected gifts.
I wish for you wellbeing and whole being!
Tags: Anxiety, choice-making, choice-point, Courage, covid-19, Dilemmas, Dr. Rosie Kuhn, Empowerment, Fear, health and wellness, hopeless, Paradigm Shifts, powerless, self-empowerment, survival mechanisms, Transformational Coaching, Uncertainty, Vulnerability
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