Bodies Resting, Minds Racing:
Life can get really strange sometimes. It seems like just yesterday, that, without a worry in the world, we were reveling in food, entertainment and gossip. We were only stopping to curse our busy lives – we didn’t have enough time to do what we really wanted, we wished we could just catch a break, and on and on.
Today, in our strange and forced isolated lives, we’ve suddenly started dwelling in life’s deepest mysteries. What’s the purpose of this collective suffering and what is it trying to teach us? Will we ever go back to our normal lives again?
Covid has brought our busy lives to a grinding halt. And has set our minds racing. The strange dichotomy of our thoughts is making us live our daily lives with ambivalence. OK, one side, there’s this unfinished business of our chores – our daily grind as we call it. On the other is this acute pain of existence angst that won’t go away until we find the meaning to our suffering. Even in dire straits, our hearts seems to crave dignity for the human condition.
Man’s Search for Meaning:
Man’s Search for Meaning is a book that Viktor Frankl wrote after surviving 3 years in a concentration camp.
After being freed back into the world, Viktor went on to become the father of Logotherapy, the theory which describes that every human is motivated by a will to meaning in life. While this might not be a unique premise as far as humans having a primary existential angst, his concept is different in its basic tenet. “Life has meaning under all circumstances, even the most miserable ones.”
Frankl had said that it’s usually the “Not the physical pain, but the injustice of it all that hurts.” He points out that life cannot be made unbearable by circumstances, but only by the lack of meaning and purpose. This is why probably this features as one of the top five regrets of people who face an untimely death, “Did my life have a purpose? Did I make an impact? Did I matter even a little to anyone?” We all tend to worry in those final moments, surveys have found.
The point here is what Frankl validates, “Those who have a ‘why’ to live can bear with almost any ‘how.’”
Reframing Our Reality:
So, here’s the run down. We can try to make sense of what’s going or “happening to us”. Or we can use this endless stretch of time to reskill and upskill ourselves to become a better version of ourselves. We can worry, panic and become even more anxious about our uncertainty. Or we can extend our arms (virtually or from 6 feet apart) to support a loved one or neighbor who’s in this with us.
This is not normal, and its OK to feel “not normal”. Any action to reframe our current reality to feel positive and hopeful can lead us a place of purpose and meaning.
Attitude Is Golden:
Our identity is deeply rooted in our eagerness to preserve our self-dignity. And our attitude helps shape how we feel about ourselves and our current lives, so we can stop playing victim to circumstances. Let’s take the example of a Lotus. What can a Lotus teach us, you ask?
Inspite of sprouting from a muddy quagmire, we can stay positive and spread beauty around us. By turning our sunny side up, we can spread good cheer. No matter what the circumstance might be, we can let our attitude decide what we make out of it.
And just why is attitude golden?
Viktor again seems to have the answer. “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
Resources for Corona Times:
- How to Preserve Mental Health while Battling Cabin Fever: READ HERE
- How to Cut Yourself and Others Some (Corona) Slack: READ HERE
- Using Corona (Down)Time to Upskill and Reskill: READ HERE
- Compassion in times of Crisis and Catastrophe: READ HERE
- Introducing Free ONLINE Classes!: READ HERE
- On Personal Wellbeing and Pandemics: READ HERE
- The Corona Manifesto: Surviving Forced Isolation: READ HERE
- Agent Double Duty: Parenting in the Time of Covid 19: READ HERE
- Courage in the time of Corona and Covid 19: READ HERE