Mr. Rogers once said “There is no normal life that is free of pain. It’s the very wrestling with our problems that can be the impetus for our growth.” This has never been more true than during life with coronavirus.
As I think about my own journey, this quote brings me a deep sense of satisfaction, and understanding about my own anxiety in my own life. It helps me reframe my concerns about my job, my family, money, my health, your health, and life as we knew it.
The recurring theme for me in my own experience is the concept of impermanence. As I’ve learned from reading the Stoics and other gurus, I’ve come to understand that the phrase “this too shall” pass is a critical one to understanding and managing my sense of self and my life.
It’s a constant battle to manage feelings of hopelessness and change all around us. I try not to watch the news, I read fiction, and I stay busy at work. But somehow it’s not enough. Somehow, this feels even bigger than anything I’ve experienced before. It feels like the entire world is shifting In a way that I don’t completely understand yet.
So I feel as if all I can do is think about how everything is impermanent. How everything will change. How one day all of this will be gone. Just as it’s always been, and is a shop and as it shall always be.
Building on Mr. Rogers Epicurious once said: “Pain is never unbearable or unending, so you can remember these limits and not add to that in your imagination.” Yet again, I am to understand and I must embrace my pain and my anxiety in order to survive.
Our universe and everything in it are indeed impermanent. Things, (everything), comes and goes. I will be gone, you will be gone. The universe itself will one day be gone.
Trying to escape is not the right strategy, it is just fooling yourself. Today, as every day, the challenge is to be present. To embrace impermanence is to embrace our lives, and to embrace our moments here together. Stay well, be well. Be present.