Welcoming uncertainty

Posted by Jeanne Barrett on March 21, 2020 in Uncategorized

Our current human experience overturns any notion of normalcy or certainty. For most of us, the structure of life has evaporated. Our typical means of coping with stress are likely unavailable. We are spending far more time with our families or roommates than usual, or we are far more alone than we would prefer. We may be anxious, bored, restless, lonely or needing more time alone. We seem to be in a free fall of recalibration and invention at the blurred pace of a slow moving tsunami. Where is our choice, our dynamic non-interference when the landmarks of daily routines crumble?

We always have our intention and attention as tools, and our instrument of self as both data-gathering and response system. We can notice what is outside ourselves and our own response to what is outside ourselves. We can refuse to fix, narrow or shorten, so that our entire instrument of self allows new solutions, both for ourselves and for our communities.

Fear can easily harden us into habitual and non productive reaction. We can’t pretend that we aren’t afraid, nor push fear down, but we can begin to choose a constructive response. It’s an evolving skill that we can pursue with happy curiosity, even in fearful times.

I know I am afraid because I pull my legs in, tighten through my upper arms, narrow my attention, and grip my jaw. There is no productive outcome in investigating why I am afraid, nor in questioning the validity of fear. My physiology has registered fear. Fear is happening. My response to these signals can also happen.

I would prefer to allow my entire back to breath, my limbs to undo out of my back, and my attention to broaden (notice I am not asking to “relax” anything. I want to remain dynamic, not asleep). I can ask the beautiful planetarium of my conscious brain to quiet, empty a bit, undo. I can ask my quieter brain to enliven and quiet all of me. I don’t run around myself “fixing” bits and pieces, I ask the planetarium to deliver instructions. Fear may well continue, but I can develop my own vocabulary of self in response. The world may be topsy turvy, but I can respond by increasingly elastic skills. It’s a circus of crisis-tunity, and we are in bootcamp response school.

Just think how much we can refine in this most demanding of times!