From ‘what if?’ to ‘what is’

What is currently happening on our planet is almost unreal. Who would have imagined just a few weeks ago that the streets of cities like New York and Paris would be so eerily quiet, with hardly a vehicle in sight? Who would have imagined airports being empty and thousands of planes grounded? Who could have imagined empty office blocks and millions of people confined to their homes to prevent the spreading of the Coronavirus?

It is indeed a shock and traumatizing. It all happened so fast. We just want this to be over, and we figure it’s only a matter of time. We’re making plans for what we’ll do when things go back to normal—and banking on that happening. But what if life never fully goes back to how it was pre-coronavirus? What if this epidemic is a turning point, and after it, the world is never the same? We are being confronted on so many levels. We are confronted by the unknown. We are confronted with uncertainty. We are confronted by our mortality.

What if…? What if we contract the virus? What if we cannot go back to work? What if run out of money? What if…? 

Our greatest enemy at this moment is not so much the virus. Our greatest enemy is the state of our mind that concocts all these “what if” scenarios.

It is not the situation that causes our suffering, but what our mind does with it.

If ever there was a time we should be consciously watching our thoughts, it is now. Notice that the mind never allows us to be peacefully in the moment. We struggle to just be still and not think about anything specific. Our minds would not allow that.  It either takes us back to the past and fills us with guilt, reminding us what we should have or could have done better to avoid this situation. We should have made better investments, saved more money, not have bought whatever it is. Or, it drags us into the future and leaves us feeling scared and fearful of all the potentially terrible “what if” scenarios that could play themselves out.

There may be a solution though. Amid all this turmoil, consider going from “what if?” to “what is”. To a place of surrender. To accept it is what it is. As simple as that. Realize, no amount of guilt or worry will change that. It only adds to our suffering. It`s like a rocking chair, it keeps you busy but it takes you nowhere. The truth is, yesterday has gone and tomorrow is not here yet. We can only be here now. At this moment, this hour, this day. Once we can manage to do that, something interesting happens. We open up to new beginnings, because now tomorrow is not a threat, but a new day filled with new opportunities. It is a shift in mind-set, a new way of approaching life. We then can start breathing again, and suddenly certain solutions start presenting themselves because the noise has gone and the guilt and fear with it. We become resourceful and innovative, and we find surprising ways to deal with the situation.

Nobody can tell when this will be over, but rest assured that this too shall pass. However, wishing for this to be over, so that we can get back to our old ways of being in the world and going about our business may not be such a good idea. We may just miss the wonderful opportunity to discover that this is actually about new beginnings. That something must die so that something new can be born. Every ending is also a new beginning. Sure, the world will never be the same again. Our own worlds will never be the same again. This thought can be scary, or it can invoke in us a sense of excitement because it actually signals a new beginning.

Kindly supplied by Dr Rudi Labuschagne, Executive Coach & Leadership Development Consultant