Talk about the unknown right now…
School is canceled. Graduation is canceled. You’re uncertain if you’ve been exposed to the virus, or not? You’re on chemo and not sure if you should take your next treatment because of Corona. You’re sIck, with something else. Or in the hospital on oxygen, dependent on it, because you do have Corona. The game, the race, the show, the season you’ve been training for has been canceled; the trip of a lifetime is canceled; the next paycheck is canceled.
Show me an individual that isn’t having to endure uncertainty and fear right now, that three weeks ago was unimaginable. Or someone that wasn’t already enduring challenge, before Corona came along, layering even more calamity into their life.
We are all in the same boat, the one that feels like it is up a smelly creek without a paddle. We all have that in common.
What will differ is how we choose to respond.
What we do from here is our decision. Do we panic, or do we persevere? Do we endure the unknown with grace and courage, or complaining and cowardice. I’ve been thinking a lot about endurance lately.
My meditation teacher talks about having a practice so when everything in your life is out of control, we have the ability to endure, and keep our sanity.
We grieve little deaths throughout our life, where we must let things, or people, or plans for the future go. Meditation is good practice for this. Sitting through the discomfort of feeling like you are going to jump out of your skin, but staying with it, gets us used to being uncomfortable. We practice patience, and endurance as we sit.
To endure means to be in it and stay in it, with the implications that there is difficulty and discomfort involved. There is an underlying resignation there. A letting go. As well as a faith, that we can withstand any circumstance.
“I endured hardship all the way….My legacy is that I stayed on course, from the beginning to the end, because I believed in something inside of me.”~ Tina Turner
We don’t practice endurance as much as we used to, because we don’t have to. There are so many ways to avoid or replace discomfort. Can’t take the weather- get a cheap flight and escape to an all inclusive island resort. There’s asparagus in August and apples in April. The seasons of our lives- our moods, our jobs, our relationships, even our aging bodies can easily be replaced. Technology denies a whole generation the opportunity of enduring boredom.
Most of the faith traditions have practices, affirmations and rituals which provide hope and encourage perseverance, as well as disciplines to create connection to something bigger than ourselves. Sitting in silence helps foster this too. Jesus said, “All things are possible to him who believes.” (Mark 9:23) The Dalai Lama XIV shares, “There is a saying in Tibetan, ‘Tragedy should be utilized as a source of strength.’ No matter what sort of difficulties, how painful experience is, if we lose our hope, that’s our real disaster.”
These are times to endure. Knowing, in good faith, that good will come of this. Believing this just takes a little practice. Sit with this.
“Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this, too, was a gift. “~ Mary Oliver, “The Uses of Sorrow”
Here’s a great 10 minute guided meditation to listen to, by Sarah Blondin: https://insighttimer.com/sarahblondin/guided-meditations/when-we-must-endure