Returning to Hope from Uncertainty

During this COVID-19 Pandemic time, I am finding it helpful to continue reading and listening to inspiring readings to help me return to a place of hope when anxiety flourishes.   This past month’s reading/listening included some thinking about grief in new ways, some seminars on happiness, and a Chopra Meditation on hope. This blog captures some of the key things I took away.  It’s helpful for me to clarify how to help myself return to hope when I start to feel anxious and uncertain!

The world of COVID-19 is filled with uncertainty; the unknown looms, from continued new insight into seriousness of the disease as well as what will life be like moving forward. Then there are the anxious feelings of waiting for something and not moving forward (when will the self-isolation end?), the sinfulness of unproductive days, the feeling of being alone with much more limited connections, and the anticipatory grief of what if scenarios: What will the economic impact mean for us?   Will I know someone who dies?  Will life (ever) return to normal – will we ever be able to do the things we love again?

The power of hope helps bring peace of mind in midst of all this uncertainty and anxiety. How does one tap into the power of hope?  Here’s some ideas based on what I’ve been reading/listening to:

  • Recognize that you and your body might need some different things right now. That said, still make sure you are getting the sleep you need, eating the right kinds of food (be careful of too much comfort food!), and keeping up with exercise (especially finding new ways to accomplish it).
  • Be OK with the negative emotions, whether grief or guilt. It doesn’t matter if the loss is big or small, the emotion is real.   Don’t berate yourself with the “Really, it’s not that bad – others have it much worse – why are you feeling down?” voice.  It’s OK to feel bad some days.
  • Recognize that the unknown is not the enemy.  The world is constantly changing. Change drives growth!  What areas can you work on during this time of semi-isolation? For me, one is working on being non-judgmental (especially of the folks I deem stupid in their reactions to the pandemic) and another is stopping the Compare & Despair (especially when I see others doing so much more with their own isolation time).
  • Take time to make connections (in new ways!) to build your sense of belonging. Yes, I learned Zoom, did a ‘walk & talk’ via phone, and am texting or calling at least one person everyday now.
  • Continue to practice gratitude. The more grateful you are, the more hopeful you’ll be. What love, joy, and beauty do I have in my life right now? What do I appreciate about today? Even in the midst of all the negative news, it is OK to be happy about a call with a friend, sunshine in the sunroom, spring flowers in bloom, on-line yoga, and time to explore new recipes.
  • Practice compassion for others. Yes, I can be very judgmental. When I see people breaking the “pandemic” rules (on social media, in the store), my first reaction is I want them to experience the consequences of their actions! But everyone is worthy of compassion – even the rule-breakers – because you don’t know what their individual trauma might be.  So now is a great time to meet every situation with kindness. Accept people are doing the best that they can – no judgment.
  • Don’t look towards the future for contentment. Be content in this moment. Choose to live life now.  Now is the only place things can happen: Not the past – that cannot be changed. Not the future – you don’t know what will unfold. Focus on today.

Regardless of the uncertainty, life unfolds. Even when I am feeling overwhelmed or anxious, I can pause and be aware of the love, beauty, and joy around me. Every day is a new day to make choices to engage in activities that support my life vision – active, connected, creative, contemplative.  Even in this time of isolation, I can focus on the things (even the littlest of things) I can do/accomplish. I can make time every day for playfulness and joy.  I can reach out and connect with others. I can explore new ways of doing things. I can live in the now. Today.

Walk your path one day at a time as the future unfolds.

Express love. See beauty. Experience joy.

 

A POEM:

Inhale. Exhale.

Live in this moment.

I am alive. I am here.

Live in the Now

Not the Past. Not the Future.

So simple. Yet, also so difficult

In the face of so much uncertainty.

Inhale. Exhale.

Just breathe.

 

Picture Credit: Canva creation

21 thoughts on “Returning to Hope from Uncertainty

  1. Thank you for that lovely poem, Pat, and for the reminder: “Recognize that the unknown is not the enemy. The world is constantly changing. Change drives growth!” What’s that saying, the only constant is change? Life is change, and we aren’t ever really in control. When I can tap into a sense of curiosity and learning, I’m much more content. #MLSTL

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Christie, I’ve been taking another on-line class and your comment about tapping into sense of curiosity is exactly what it’s been talking about…. thanks for giving me another nudge in that direction. As so many of the things I love to do will be out-of-the-question for the foreseeable future, I need to tap into curiosity and learning for sure. I’ve never been a big “screen” person (not video games, movies, nor TV watcher), but I guess that will be changing. That’s my learning curve.

      Like

  2. Hi Pat – something COVID isolation has taught me is that we all respond to crisis situations differently, and also that when the situation starts to drag on, our responses can fluctuate and change depending on the day. I started lockdown with a sigh of relief at the idea of having no commitments and the excuse to by lazy at home, but as time’s gone on I’ve come to see that I need more than that – I need human contact and a sense of ‘having done something’ with my day. Now I realize that it once again comes back to balance and grace – and being kind to ourselves during this time of unknown outcomes. I hope you’re doing okay and that you still find plenty to smile at despite the weirdness of it all xx
    Thanks for linking up with us at MLSTL and I’ve shared on my SM 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Leanne, I’m big into balance… for me it’s the combination of being and doing. An empty calendar is light on doing! And the lack of connection is also challenging. But I am taking it one day at a time… and if the only thing I accomplish is a session of yoga and reading a book, that is OK! Thanks for continuing MLSTL… I look forward to it each week.

      Like

  3. I really enjoyed this – you have some really great ideas for nourishing the soul and practicing self-care. It is a very stressful time for everyone, our sense of control over our circumstances is lost and I think there’s a world-wide grief for humanity. Self compassion is important at this time, just like other times we grieve

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I often write blog posts to remind myself what I need to do…the act of putting it on paper is so helpful. And yes, right now, we can all use some good self-care. I like your phrasing “grief for humanity”. It’s exactly how I’m feeling.

      Like

  4. Hi Pat, I’ve taken a step back as despite isolation I was trying to finish my Fitness Certification, run a 7 day challenge on my FB Group and cope with life in general. I started to reflect on what I should do as creativity and blog posts just weren’t happening. I stopped, then I felt better and now I’m back to finding new ideas write about. Being in this moment is something that Adriene of Yoga with Adriene fame wrote about in her Newsletter last week. Just accepting the moment whether it is good or bad and being okay with that. Thank you for another thoughtful post and for supporting #MLSTL. Enjoy your week. xx

    Like

    1. Sue, I wasn’t aware Adriene has a newsletter… I will check it out! I’ve been doing yoga now 5 or 6 days a week and it’s been helpful. I understand that sometimes we need to step back from things … I’m glad you’re feeling better about blogging again!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. My life hasn’t changed a lot – I work full-time from home in any case – but I have felt a lot more angsty and antsy, restless, if you like. So I’m walking, a lot, and trying to exhaust my body in the hope that my mind might just slow a little.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jo, great terms – angsty and antsy! Someone else used the term melancholy… which also fits. I’m finding making connections with people (phone chats) is helping me. The cases here (in the US) are much higher than you’re experiencing (we had 500 new cases in our state yesterday, still), so yeah, there is a high degree of angst.

      Like

  6. Thanks for all your wonderful suggestions and insights. It can be so hard to take one day at a time and savor or at least ponder the present moments. But if we do, we can discover some beautiful and unexpected things. My two daughters and I have started a Monday night 1 hour session phone session (they’re both in other cities – one nearby, the other in Los Angeles) where we discuss an aspect of spirituality. Who thought a virus would bring us together in that way.
    Thanks again.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kate, I just got my mom (who is 86) and my sister (who is cognitively disabled) onto Zoom and we had our first connect today. I’m so glad I convinced them to finally try it.
      I tend to have discussions about spirituality with a few girlfriends… usually over wine or coffee. I am definitely missing those conversations!

      Like

  7. It is amazing that even during a pandemic we become competitive and allow the accomplishments of others to cast doubt on our own. We need to fully embrace that our good is good enough, especially right now. I needed the ‘don’t be judgmental’ reminder today. I am so tired of my visceral internal reaction to people behaving badly. My thoughts are generally, if I can do it, so can they, but, sometimes people really don’t have a choice.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wrote most of this post as a reminder to myself. I struggle with the reactions to people behaving badly. My latest ways are saying “people interpret things differently” and “everyone has a different risk tolerance”. Kinda the southern “bless her heart”. LOL But yeah, wear a mask and stay away from me people!

      Like

  8. I hope that if get nothing else out of this “stay at home” time I keep the serenity I have found during this time. I have seen so much beauty and calm in slowing down (not having anything to do why not?). I have been appreciative of every day especially the pretty ones. I have found the beauty in places like I never did before because I never really took the time to appreciate them, for example Smale Park, some of the architecture downtown, and even some of the great videos on Facebook that before this I would have never given the time to watch. This has taught me that slowing down or eve doing nothing is actually ok. And I hope that I remember that when life gets busy again. I don’t have to do it all, all the time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Candyse, I understand how you can appreciate the slowing down….but I’m so ready for some busy to come back! And I’m enjoying your photos of Smale Park on FB – so lovely!

      Like

  9. “Be content in this moment” – so very true since “this moment” is all we actually have – such wise words. The phrase “compare and despair” – your post helped me identify the name of the negative trait that has begun to interrupt my life over and over again this past year or so. I have personally experienced the pain of this flaw as it steals joy and contentment from me way too often these days. Thanks for the timely post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I like the term Compare & Despair because it captures the negative social comparisons we all do, and it’s fun to say. For me, it helps me become aware of when I do it…. and many times just being aware eases the despair part of it. I try and turn the “despair” into “good for them”. Doesn’t always work, but I try!

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s