Uncertainty, anxiety and fear are in abundance at this time with the COVID-19 pandemic. I sent a message to my mail list about dealing with these emotions and had so much positive feedback about the email I thought I’d post it here too. It’s slightly altered as things are changing so quickly – in particular the paragraph at the end about my daughter’s situation. Let me know what you think in the comments below.
Most of us are feeling afraid and/or anxious. Some started out dismissive, but are now less so, a minority don’t care, and some think everyone’s over-reacting. Some believe it’s all a hoax, and some – those of you working in the medical and related fields and in food stores – are heroic.
As you know, how you’re feeling about this pandemic depends on who in you is present, and what your personal patterns are with dealing with a major scare and with anxiety.
I think now more than ever what Voice Dialogue offers, specifically what the aware ego process offers, is of enormous value.
That’s because the greatest thing the rapid spread of this new coronavirus has led to is uncertainty.
And uncertainty is something the aware ego can handle.
(If you’re new to this work, read my home page for an explanation of Voice Dialogue and the aware ego process.)
If you’re clinging onto certainty, which we all do, every day of our lives, in various ways and to varying degrees, this pandemic has ripped the Band-Aid of certainty off.
And it will be – already is – painful.
Even the certainty of those with power and wealth who have believed they can’t be touched by the same things the rest of us can be has been challenged.
For inevitably, at some point, life throws at us the opposite of whoever or whatever we become certain of.
But this time it’s happening on such a grand scale.
So maybe this is a wakeup call.
A chance to shed our fixed identities and beliefs and see what else is there.
A chance to truly be present with our fears and anxieties and find our strengths.
We have many.
The clinging to certainty only suppresses our fears and breeds anxiety.
Put another way, when we get a peek at the illusion of certainty and realise that things might not go exactly as planned, we feel anxious.
- Such as realising the train might not arrive on time to connect us to the next leg of our journey.
- Or expecting ourselves or our children to always do well in school, or with our investments or jobs.
- Or presuming our partner or relationship will always stay the same.
We create our lives with as much certainty as possible in order to avoid anxiety.
Is it any wonder there are skyrocketing levels of anxiety in young people?
They know the world can’t continue as it ‘always’ has. Paradoxically, the only certainty is uncertainty.
But we keep trying to sell the illusion of certainty.
Let’s instead start by getting to know uncertainty, ambiguity, not-knowing.
Let’s question what we ‘know’, start a practice of enquiry.
The aware ego process is about unhooking from certainty. From being 100% identified with an aspect of oneself so we can experience other perspectives, other energies, other truths.
It creates space for us to be with what lies underneath and behind and beyond our primary self so we can be with our fear and anxiety without our primary self judging it or pushing it away or ignoring it or falling apart and allowing it to take over.
Voice Dialogue practise helps with this.
If you have someone to do this with, then dialogue with your primary self first and become aware of its feelings about all this and how it’s trying to deal with things.
If you don’t have anyone, then simply sitting with your feelings and thoughts, accepting them, embracing them, and enquiring within if there are other feelings and thoughts, will start the process.
You could interview your primary self in writing or in front of the mirror.
Just don’t let go of what you ‘know’, but add to it. Be accepting of all your reactions and feelings. Honour the contradictions.
That way your anxiety will ease and you’ll be able to stay present to what is and respond to events more consciously and, hopefully, calmly.
And if you can’t do that, and you feel overwhelmed or scared or whatever, that’s fine too. There’s no one right way to respond to this.
But simply giving yourself permission to feel as you do will shift things for you.
None of us knows how this will pan out. So we have to learn to live with uncertainty.
How I’ve been challenged with this right now is that my 18-year-old daughter is in Europe (Austria) and where she’s been working over the Winter was suddenly put under lock down. So she was unable to leave and come home even though she had flights for her return to Australia booked. So our family have been living with the uncertainty of how/when/if she will be able to get home. We have just been informed that the Australian embassy in Austria has organised to get all the Australians stuck in the are area to Vienna airport if they book a particular flight home. So that’s what we’ve done and are now waiting for the plan to take effect.
Wishing you all peace, health and love,