“The root of suffering is resisting the certainty that no matter what the circumstances, uncertainty is all we truly have.”
~ Pema Chodron

One thing is certain—our “normal” has changed. Life as we know it has been forever altered. No one knows exactly how life will be, but an important thing to remember is that we all have a choice in how we perceive and move through the changes to come.

One of my favorite authors, Pema Chodron—a Buddhist nun, said “We can make ourselves miserable or we can make ourselves strong. The amount of effort is the same.” These are wise words for a weary soul—words that can empower us when we don’t believe we have the courage to continue on this unsettled path.

There is much to learn about our new state of flux—our new state of “normal”. This starts with exploring whether our normal was really all that great. Was it enough? Did we take it for granted? Do we really long to return to what we thought was normal… or do we just want to get back to a time when we felt safe?

Normal is safe. It is familiar. It includes all of what we find to be comfortable. It also includes the things we once found uncomfortable, but over time have become more comfortable simply because we accepted or adapted to our previously discomforted state. But can we grow without discomfort? Probably not. As I have said many times, discomfort always accompanies evolution. We must stretch our edges in order to expand not only our awareness but also our way of moving through the human condition. By consciously and proactively overcoming our challenges, we can eventually master this thing we call life and reach a whole new level of evolution.

This COVID-19 event may appear to be biological in nature, but it is far more than that—this experience is providing us with the greatest opportunity in our lifetime to evolve both as individuals and an eight million person collective soul. We can either let this break us down or we can decide to raise ourselves up, connect with our soul and others’ in a much deeper way and transcend the uncertain discomfort to reach a new, but much deeper normal.

Although the world has seemingly shut down, evolution does not go “on hold”. There is no “pause” button when it comes to our growth unless we choose not to pay attention to what will help us evolve. Our discomfort can be our guide to a greater tomorrow for each of our individual souls as well as the world as a whole. While every soul on this planet has been affected by COBID-19, it is what we do with our experience, our new understandings, and our challenges that will make the difference in moving forward.

Pema Chodron also said, “Sticking with that uncertainty, getting the knack of relaxing in the midst of chaos, learning not to panic—this is the spiritual path.” It is true—what is stirred within us during our times of uncertainty often leads us to our greatest achievements, our biggest insights, and our highest potential. Are you watching what is going on within you? Are you listening to your deepest thoughts? Are you sensing the need to do something differently? If so, these will all lead you to your next normal. You just have to weather some discomfort in order to get there.

For many years, I’ve said that the soul will be our salvation. I always unapologetically added that I know this sounds a bit dramatic. But the truth is, our experience of COVID-19 has allowed and even forced us to stop and take a look inside. Our seeming entrapment is actually our freedom. As we learn to lean into our discomfort instead of resisting it, we will find our true soul path. This time of our lives has disarmed us in many ways—appearing to take away our rights, our freedom, and our norm. But the “in-between” times—the times between knowing who we are and what to do—are always the most productive in examining who we really are as souls. Uncomfortable or not, this time to explore our deepest self will pave the way to our future.

Spoken through the words of a psychologist, there is no such thing as “normal”. Every single individual on this planet has their unique expression of the concept. Spoken through the words of someone who sees the world through evolutionary eyes, normal is always a thing of the past—the past year, the past week, the past, day, the past minute, and even the past second. We are always changing, leaving behind that which no longer fits. And in this case, we have certainly outgrown our old ways—and the world around us seems to agree.

Partway through his research, even Charles Darwin changed his theory of evolution from “survival of the fittest” to “those who adapt the best”. It is important that we use our privilege of conscious evolution to examine how we will navigate the changes to come. Here are some tips on how to do this:

  • When you wake up in the morning, acknowledge your willingness to learn something new about yourself each day.
  • At the end of the day, stop long enough to explore what it is that you learned most.
  • Observe fearful thoughts. Are they founded in fact or laced in uncertainty?
  • Ask yourself, “In what ways can I adapt myself today to make a better tomorrow?”
  • Explore whether you are resisting change—and why.
  • Are you spending a great deal of time worrying about the future? Can you instead use your energy to explore the possibilities ahead?
  • In the Chinese language, the symbol for crisis and opportunity is the same but interpreted differently depending on how it is used in a sentence. How can you create an opportunity out of your uncertain and uncomfortable times?
  • Be honest with yourself about how you changed for the better when faced with difficult times.

In my book, Soul Health: Aligning with Spirit for Radiant Living, I say that our soul’s evolution depends entirely on our willingness and ability to balance our lives in such a way that we create an environment for unobstructed growth, which is our soul’s most natural state. When we become uncomfortable with uncertainty and open to allow our new normal to emerge, we allow our soul to thrive.

We are all in this change together. And I look forward to learning with you, growing with you, and creating a new normal with you—whatever that may be. The journey of the soul is not fully predictable, but it is certain. I find comfort in knowing that our soul will be our guiding light—if we let it.

“If you’re invested in security and certainty, you are on the wrong planet.” ~ Pema Chodron


For more information about how to become comfortable with uncertainty,
consider Pema Chodron’s book—my personal favorite of her collection.