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Learning to live with uncertainty

We’ve learned a ton about the new coronavirus in a very short time, but a lot remains unknowable for now.

It’s impossible to know what comes next. The stakes couldn’t be higher. this is a very unstable way to live.

Whenever uncertainty intensifies, the pull of certainty grows stronger. 

Strong opinions are no substitute for facts, but it’s never been easier to spread ideas that ring true while impatiently waiting to discover what's really true. 

I’ve noticed the pull of certainty when it comes to deciding how to spend our sequestered time. 

Some insightful people encourage us to start big projects, hone new skills, or revisit abandoned hobbies. 

Others say we should conserve our energy, slow down, and savor the simple aspects of life we often take for granted. 

Both perspectives resonate, but there’s pressure to pick one over the other—to get it right.  

What if the real opportunity here is to remember that there will never be an objectively, obviously correct way for you to invest your time and energy? 

Instead of deciding whether you should bear down or ease up, you can practice getting better at exercising both options a little more intentionally—with or without a global health threat. 

Sometimes you'll need to nudge yourself out of your comfort zone.

At other times, you'll need to rest and sink deeper into the rich experience of being alive—without any agenda.

There's not going to be a self-help book or formula or Instagram impulse buy that will ever give you an exemption from discovering for yourself what's called for at any given moment.

Nobody can determine for you the blend of effort and rest that fits your unique and everchanging challenges, interests, and needs. 

You will push too hard.

You will take it too easy.

If you abandon all hope in finding the right way, you might discover the surprising relief that comes from accepting how much uncertainty exists in ordinary life—even when things seem to be more predictable again.

This messy approach to exploring your own work-rest rhythm will contribute to your well-being long after our current crisis has been resolved. Who knows when that will be? 

Mindfulness Practice Online

Practicing physical distance and social solidarity creates a rich opportunity to explore new ways to support each other's contemplative efforts. 

With this in mind, I've started hosting the mindfulness practice group online every Wednesday for now. 

The sessions start at 7:00 pm EDT, but I log on at least 20 minutes earlier to help address technical issues before we start.   

I'd love to know what other types of support you're interested in. I created a short survey to make it easier to let me know what days. times, and session durations appeal to you.

I plan to keep this newsletter bi-monthly for now, so if you want to find out about additional online practice sessions, workshops, and classes more frequently, please update your profile to include online session announcements

I appreciate your willingness to collaborate and experiment with me on ways to thrive through this crisis together and emerge more resilient on the other side. 

Conversations with Nick Wignall

Psychologist Nick Wignall returned to The Art of Attention podcast to swap options for responding to the escalating fear and uncertainty related to the pandemic.

"Responding to the Outbreak of Uncertainty"

Nick shares strategies from his experience with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and I describe complementary mindfulness exercises. 

You can also listen to this one on SoundCloud, Spotify, Stitcher, and the Insight Timer meditation app and find a bunch of related resources on the WCBE page for this episode.

Before the severity of COVID-19 became clear, he invited me to be a guest on his new Mind & Mics podcast to talk about what mindfulness really is and how to incorporate it into daily life.

”What is Mindfulness, Really? with Daron Larson"

Nick and I discuss what mindfulness is exactly and how to incorporate more mindfulness into your own life.

Follow Nick:

Free Webinar: Calm is Contagious

In mid-March, IMPACT Solutions invited me to share a few mindful responses to coronavirus outbreak.

I packed the 45-minute webinar with practical ways to bring mindful awareness to our information and self-care habits—not to weigh you down with a ton of things you should do, but to get people thinking about small ways they can sneak mindfulness into this period of disruption.

IMPACT Solutions is an Employee Assistance Provider (EAP). I really appreciate that they decided to make this recording available outside their client network. Your name and email are required to access the webinar, but this is just to help track views. You won't be added to a distribution list. 
Thanks ahead of time for helping us spread the word.

Get in touch to discuss hosting something similar to offer your employees. I'm also available to provide interactive practice sessions to support your team's attentional fitness.

If you're in the IMPACT Solutions network, you're eligible for mindfulness coaching with me over the phone or online video as an Employee Assistance Program benefit. Employees of Ohio State University are also eligible for this mindfulness coaching benefit. 

Attention grabbers

Photo: Kit Spahr

Check out the inspiring Instagram posts people are sharing during Kim Manley Ort's current 30 Days of Perception online workshop. 
If you enjoy this newsletter and think your friends might, too, share it here.

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