We are living in a time of heightened uncertainty. The Covid-19 pandemic has us all wondering when things will return to normal. We worry about how much the world will be changed by what is occurring. Sometimes it feels like all we have now is uncertainty — endless days stretched before us leading to no one knows where.
I thought I knew uncertainty pretty well, but this feels entirely different. Normally in times of uncertainty, I can still make choices that can affect my situation. But in this situation, I feel powerless. I find myself constantly wanting to run to numbing behaviors like overeating, alcohol, busywork, or obsessively checking the news. I’m having more trouble than normal just allowing myself to be in the space of uncertainty. I try and sit with it, but my mind is fidgety. There is nothing I can do but follow instructions and hope that the situation improves.
I remind myself that stepping into uncertainty is something I’ve had a lot of practice with. Each one of us does it thousands of times a day as we move from one-second into the next. Uncertainty is always with us. We just don’t normally recognize it. If we could connect with the constant state of uncertainty that is existence then perhaps we would feel better prepared for what we now face.
But we crave certainty. We create daily rituals and routines to maintain and enforce it. We cultivate what we read and who we follow on social media to strengthen the certainty of our beliefs. We eat the same meals over and over again. We think of uncertainty as something negative, something to be avoided at all costs.
We need to acknowledge the fear inherent in uncertainty. Trying to push it away will only make it stronger. But we should also honor the possibility that lives within uncertainty. It is the possibility that what comes after will be better than what was before.