Covid-19 has hit us like a slap in the face. It has made many of us uncomfortable and fearful with all the uncertainty and the unpredictable nature of these present times. It has certainly made me uncomfortable and fearful. Time seems to have come to a standstill and makes me question, are we still able to find happiness in difficult times?
“Life is no different than the weather. Not only is it unpredictable, but it shows us a new perspective of the world every day.”
― Suzy Kassem, Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem
My father-in-law who is in his nineties, lives with us. A perpetual anxiety of ‘all needs to be well’ has set in – at least for his sake. The state of his health is extremely unpredictable and this is the worst time to go to hospital. There is always this underlying anxiousness because of that.
It was an emotional roller coaster ride reading and listening to the daily developing news about the coronavirus spread. But then, I began to realize that I needed to find my peace in this uncertainty, I needed to learn how to find happiness in difficult times, no matter how dire. Being helpless in an unpredictable situation disturbs me a lot and the only thing I want to then figure out is, what I can do to be at peace.
I definitely understood that I wouldn’t be able to survive this situation if I let the news dictate how I should feel. So, whenever a stressful or panicky thought came to my mind, I started to divert it to the task at hand. Then it slowly dawned on me that the only way I was going to survive all the stress and anxiety would be to just go with the flow and take one day at a time.
It took some effort and mindfulness, but slowly I was able to manage my stress. Now, I am happy most of the time, and more so in the small pleasures of life – like being with the whole family or just connecting with the space around me. It’s really these ‘little big’ things that are keeping me going.
I am happy to be able to notice how the sky is clearer, the air is fresher and there is less noise pollution too! Things have slowed down; there is no longer any hurry to be somewhere all the time.
Everyone was caught up in their own lives, not noticing the little things in the day – like the fresh blue sky, or the little daisies in the neighbor’s garden. Now that we are forced to take life at a slower pace, my days go by with talking to my child, listening to music, cooking new dishes, face-timing and connecting more with my friends and family, and just being with myself.
Looking at all the suffering in the world, I feel incredibly grateful to have food on my plate and a roof over my head.
“The future is only grim because people see it that way. It’s unpredictable. Life is a summer storm of insecure thoughts. There’s an umbrella of precautions to prevent insecurity, but it doesn’t always keep the rain out of your face.”
― Julian Winters, Running With Lions
As we have socially distanced ourselves from colleagues, acquaintances and the like, I feel I have connected more with the people close to me. I realize how much I need the love and company of my friends and family – to feel life and to feel more positive, especially in quarantine.
For me, the lockdown has been a great way to experiment with dishes and share the recipes virtually with people. Now I do group video calls with my friends and we share our cooking tips with each other.
The other day I came upon a unique pancake recipe. It was gluten and dairy-free. And since my son is allergic to both of these ingredients, I was thrilled upon browsing the internet and finding this jackpot. These pancakes were made with oats, mashed bananas and almond milk, and topped with sliced mango and maple syrup. It was delicious and my son loved it. It made me so happy to see his excited little smile. These little moments are adding so much joy to my life!
“Life is unpredictable. The words “always” and “never ever” cannot be uttered by mortals like us.”
― Anupama Garg, The Tantric Curse
To hear and see what many people are going through is heartbreaking. I have now realized how much I took everything for granted, and I feel more and more grateful every day for my family and all the love and support I get.
It’s inspiring to see how so many people have tried their best to give love and support to those who are in desperate need. I feel a deeper connection to everything around me, and maybe, just maybe, this pandemic might have been more of a blessing than a curse.
The biggest lesson I have learned, is to live in the moment – to flow, and to know that not everything is in our hands or in our control; for nothing, really, is certain. Life is unpredictable, and I’m okay with that.
It seems, I have finally realized that I don’t need a lot to be happy, and that we all certainly can find happiness in difficult times, if just open our eyes to it.
A MONK’S INSIGHT INTO FINDING HAPPINESS IN UNPREDICTABLE TIMES
“Have you noticed how when a problem or an issue completely clouds your thoughts and emotions, you start feeling, if only I didn’t have this problem, my life would be perfect? It’s an illusion. Was your life perfect when the current problem wasn’t there? Probably not. Chances are, you were shrouded by some other problem at that time.
In a small town lived a young boy who everyone thought was a simpleton, just a pickle shy of a barrel. They would put him a simple test by offering him a choice between a 50 paise and a one-rupee coin. Much to others’ amusement, he always went for the 50 paise coin. They would make fun of him and laugh at his ignorance.
One day a man said to the boy, “It’s not a game they play. Everyone fools you and laughs at you. Don’t you know that one rupee is twice as much as 50 paise?”
“Sir,” the boy replied, “don’t you know that the day I pick the one-rupee coin, they would stop offering it to me?””
The game’s over the day you start getting clever with life. Get tangled in your own web and it’ll get too complicated. Get cozy instead. Read the complete story here.
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Want to go deeper into the subject matter of dealing with the thought of uncertainty and the unpredictability of these ongoing times? Here are some insightful reads that will help you contemplate and reflect upon life, and inspire you to free yourself on your journey to transformation.
A Lost World – It’s a lost world, too complicated. Chalk out your own path if you don’t want to lose your way
Beautiful Life – What if there was no death and everyone were immortal? Would life be better if it was eternal?
The 84th Problem – Here’s a beautiful parable showing the possibility of a life without any problems at all.
A beautiful piece of writing for you before you leave:
“You’re doing it wrong.”
“Son, I’ve got a gun to your chest and you’re telling me that I’m doing it wrong?”
“Closer isn’t better.” He disarmed her with a swift motion, then offered the weapon back to her. “The further away you are, the less unpredictable I can be.”