In my work I listen to many people who tell me what they want to do when things “get back to normal” or “settle down”. Now we seem to be living with more uncertainty than ever and months and months of it. It is painful but also – most growth and learning is. Some of the most difficult times in my own life have taught me the most when I’ve chosen to grow beyond the challenges.
We just hate uncertainty so much and we are highly susceptible to fear when it’s all around us in the news AND in other people. Just yesterday I was talking to a friend about visiting a jazz club in London later that day with my family and he told me that his wife hasn’t been out socially since March.
Because she is afraid to. Not because she is at risk but because of fear, plain and simple.
Fear is a huge driver and galvaniser. Our brains are naturally drawn to negativity during uncertainty because it’s a self-protection mechanism. And when we feed that part of our brain, the more fearful we are. Imagine doing that for months on end… If you’ve been doing that since March, then that’s a whole lot of anxiety you’ve been nurturing.
Yes, there is a pandemic but it isn’t the world’s first – it’s just the first in many of our lifetimes. We have absolutely no control over current government measures or what other people are doing. We only have control over our individual actions, thoughts and behaviours.
We need to desperately boost our energy levels. This is crucial for wellbeing and for being able to function well during high uncertainty.
In a moment of musical beauty that calls for reflection, actor and performer Cynthia Erivo sings a moving rendition of Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World,” accompanied by pianist Gary Motley. With her words and voice, Erivo urges us all to do better for the Earth and the generations to come. A definite energy booster!
Every day I choose acceptance. I don’t have to like or agree with what’s happening (or fight or fear it) to practise acceptance. But when I can accept what is happening just for that day, then I can live in the present more (no anxiety in the present moment), invest my energy wisely, look for opportunities to make a difference to others, make better decisions and choices from a place of calm.
It is possible to live well with uncertainty – knowing there is so much to learn and that’s why we’re here. This too will pass and until it does, I’ll keep looking for moments when I can go and listen to live jazz safely.