Imagine an invisible enemy that can invade and destroy your body, unwittingly brought to you by a friend. It’s as if we are living a horror movie, and nobody knows the ending. It’s a strange movie and the popcorn tastes of hand sanitizer.
Nothing unsettles our security more than the threat of a deadly virus sneaking up on us. Together, we are experiencing an unprecedented level of uncertainty; a season of suffering that sometimes feels like it may never end. Around the world, people feel their lives in a stranglehold, stalked and stymied by an invisible and deadly enemy.
As we face social isolation, financial loss and a dangerous beast, it’s easy to feel powerless; but choosing our outlook can help us get through this. In Man’s Search for Meaning, Viktor Frankl wrote, “When we can no longer change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves . . . Everything can be taken from a human but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
With that inner freedom, Frankl survived the Holocaust, found meaning in his suffering and empowered himself. He chose his response to tragedy, instead of letting contagious fear take over his mind. How can we find faith in total uncertainty? How can we balance our innate human need for connection while being as safe as possible? Can we trust the authorities? Can we trust our intuition about the best course of action for ourselves?
Wise decision-making becomes critical in times of crisis and much more challenging. With so many unknowns, we must rely on our intuition to a greater extent than ever. In times of uncertainty and conflicting information, emotional reactions fill the gaps and lead to terrible decisions. We catastrophize , we get fatalistic and even seriously depressed. We should not make decisions while in this state of mind.
In this “deep unknown”, when uncertainty and fear are magnified by a sense of urgency and untrustworthy information—taking advantage of the opportunity to slow down, use intuitive intelligence tools, and make better decisions can keep us both safe and connected. There’s no one-size-fits all solution here. Everyone’s chosen approach to living through the pandemic will look a little different and that’s okay. While you find your way, assess your acceptable level of risk, seek advice from trustworthy sources, and do what feels right to you; consider not only yourself but also collective safety.
This pandemic will not last forever. Beyond figuring out how to survive, let’s heed the call to be both more careful and more caring. Let’s strengthen our immune system, honor spiritual priorities and find our personal point of balance.
Perhaps the only certainty we can be sure of is that which we create through our commitments—perhaps to some healthy routines, rituals, and more conscious heartfelt relating. By shifting our perspective, fine-tuning our intuition, accepting what life brings—by focusing on what we can learn and do—we can keep hope alive even in the face of massive uncertainty and doubt.
The fog will lift, things will become clear, and this too shall pass. Like Victor Frankl, we have a choice between falling apart or coming out of this stronger and more aware. Find your balance and keep the faith.