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Life is pain

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.

Stay Calm During Coronavirus

For someone with anxiety, life during COVID-19 can be downright challenging. Staying calm is critical for both your sanity and for those around you, especially if you are quarantined.

I truly believe my meditation practice is paying off. I use Sam Harris Wakingup app, but can also happily recommend Tara Brach’s podcast as well as Headspace. I’ve tried them all and just simply prefer Wakingup since there is a new, daily meditation.

The other thing I’ve done is to study the Stoics. I read The Daily Stoic email newsletter which provides a terrific foundation and reminders as to how to think, act and lead during these challenging times.

Outside of that, here are some of the things I’ve tried to do to remain calm:

  • Limit the amount of news I read or watch.
  • Stay off Twitter.
  • Go for a walk or exercise every day for at least 10 or 15 minutes.
  • Read for a few minutes every night before bed.
  • Forgive myself for eating an extra piece of chocolate or a bag of chips.
  • Remind myself that this too shall pass.

Staying calm during Coronavirus is hard, but doable. What are you doing to stay calm?



Recently, I was listening to a podcast by Tara Brach talking about the impermanence of life. This theme continues to come up, in songs, and books and it seems, everywhere. With my quickly evolving skill of “pay attention dumbass,” I started to pay attention. The song “Live Like You Were Dying” came on the radio. A book I’m reading called “A Short History of Nearly Everything” by Bill Bryson repeatedly points out the changing nature of earth and the insignificance amount of time of humans have been wandering around upright.

Impermanence is at the core of our nature – it’s fundamentally human. No one is immune from our shared and ultimate fate and nothing any human being can do will be remembered more than a few generations. In the context of personal accountability, it is critical that we find ways of living in the present moment. Personally, I think that I finally understand that the journey is the destination and that any destination I choose can only disappoint me in the end – the destination isn’t the point. It’s the getting there part that matters. It’s a fucking head-spinner, I know.

“It all goes away. Eventually, everything goes away.”
― Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love

Meanwhile, I continually search for what to do about all this. Meditation is great, but the application of being present in a given moment is still a bit of a mystery to me. At a certain age (or maturity), the idea of impermanence becomes tangible and I’ve reached it. I can see through the fog a little bit and am asking myself what it is that I want to accomplish in life.

Impermanence is scary, right?

Right now I’m all about trying to answer the question “What is Your Art?” I’m in a death match with my resistance to figure out the answer, or even a hint of which direction to run in.

I just picked up a copy of the “War of Art” by Pressfield which is giving me some critical tools and knowledge about understanding “The Resistance” a bit better. Now that I know in part what’s blocking me (fear, as per usual), I can do something about it.

I’m not trying to become immortal or change the world, I’m just trying to live in the moment and understand myself a bit better because I know that sooner, rather than later I’ll be gone. My clock is ticking and so is yours so get to it.