If you read self-help books or follow a spiritual practice, you’ve probably reckoned with the concept of uncertainty. Everything is always changing. Nothing is fixed, nothing is solid.
You know that whatever state of mind you are in at this moment is in a state of flux —what is now a molasses force that pulls you down, making it difficult to get out of bed, in another hour will be lighter. William James calls this the “stream of consciousness”—and we’re all in it. Efforts to block the flow will dam it up, but it’s always going to find the crack and start seeping out around the edges. Life cannot help but keep moving, and figuring out how to navigate the waves as they ebb and flow is a life-long practice.
Uncertainty may be the only constant, and goodness knows, it’s a hard pill to swallow. But it’s even harder to manage when systems as we know them are falling apart.
The climate system is being stressed by steady increases in CO2 in the atmosphere; social systems are having to adapt to the surge of hate crimes, extreme disparities of income, and systematic exclusion (ICE, the criminal justice system, and the pharmaceutical influence on medicine are a few of the perpetrators); democracy as a system is under threat.
Rest assured that consciousness—no matter how you define it and no matter what side of the aisle you are on—is being stressed, and each of us as individual conduits are feeling it quite vertiginously.
All this is to say: if you’re feeling like its harder and harder to keep going; if your efforts seem to hit walls and you can’t envision the next five years; if people around you are fraying at the edges and you don’t have the bandwidth to help them, because you’re not even sure how to help yourself…
Well, it’s not only you. I’m not going to say that I’ve got all the answers! I’m struggling too.
But I do know that one thing that works is coming together with other people to share strategies and boost each other’s energy and resilience. It is community that anchors uncertainty, and coming together to share self-care rituals from a variety of different perspectives is key to our mental and physical health.
By “resilience”, I mean simply a set of self-care rituals that you can employ in a moment to to turn unproductive, “stuck” thoughts into momentum and energy.
When the systems are fraying around you, it’s important connect with the larger field that will reset your body and mind to the present, tangible, nonthreatening moment.
The one that we are in most of the time, but our minds, like a leaf in a current, are always drifting away from—to the past (looking for something), or to the future (hoping for something).