I was recently introduced to the works of Irish poet Eavan Boland. One of her poems Atlantis includes the following
where we come from, they gave their sorrow a name
and drowned it.
In these times of Covid 19 and a very uncertain future, maybe we should face up to our fears as well as our sorrows, give them both a name and drown them.
Many years ago I read a book Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway by Susan Jeffers. Her philosophy was basically Take responsibility for anything you are being, doing, having, or feeling and never blame anyone else. The only way to get rid of a fear of doing something is to go on out and do it. That’s OK if you’re afraid of doing something but what if your fear is not fear of doing something but fear of what other people or other things (like viruses?) might do.
Again and again I return to the saying by Reinhold Niebuhr
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
This helps to get things into perspective and accept that there are just some things that we can’t change and we have to resign ourselves to things as they are and, yes, there are some things we just can’t change. Worrying will certainly not change things and only make us feel worse.
Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese monk reminds us in his book Peace is Every Step …we have difficulty remembering that we are alive in the present moment, the only moment there is for us to be alive. Every breath we take, every step we make, can be filled with peace, joy and serenity. We need only to be awake, alive in the present moment.
If we focus on the present then we have less time to fear the future. Fear of what might happen in the future can destroy any enjoyment of the present and also hope.
We can focus on the natural world which is a constant balm to disturbed and uneasy minds.