How to Be Alive Now

Humans need connection and protection to thrive but, given either or both may be unavailable, I hypothesize that the central adult human task is to gain the perspective, approach, and skills to be able to, within oneself – with self-kindness, without self-judgment, and without the external support of others or from one’s environment – feel all, think all, experience all, function, assess, pause or initiate, all at once, no matter how many burdens one has, how small or large they may be, or how fast new ones keep coming, no matter how vulnerable, uncertain, impaired, hurt, or threatened one is or feels, no matter who is present or missing, no matter what is happening, no matter what has happened, no matter what is to come.


In sum, the end in mind is to gain enough awareness and skill to be able to care for the self as fully as possible through handling reality realistically.

This is no easy task.

What do my reviews of research literature and my education, training, and professional and personal experience suggest can support acquiring and deepening one’s skill with becoming and staying aware?

Self-kindness. Self-care. Beginning with the end in mind. A schedule. Practicing skills during slow times so they are readily available during challenging times.  Acknowledging intensity. Easing or elevating one’s inner state to a stable range. If not in danger, pausing. Differentiating between possibilities (a range of equally likely outcomes) and probabilities (the likelihood of this outcome occurring over that one). Becoming aware of, and jettisoning, legacy beliefs that no longer serve. Acknowledging that opposites can both be true. Adjusting. Appreciating. Catching judgment and replacing it with compassion. Looking at money. Learning a new skill. Creating something. Gaining basic knowledge of how the human heart, mind, and brain work. Gaining knowledge of effective relating with self and others. Self-kindness.

The human brain can be counted on to help. It has evolved to recover stability – to be resilient – and to be altruistic. Extrapolating from there, restoration through self-kindness is likely.

I think these times call for nearly heroic bravery, awareness, attention, determination, and inventiveness.

“This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.”
– Rumi
(Scottish Poetry Library translation from the original Persian and Arabic.)

Of possible interest:

Illustration by Derek Zheng for Chapter 7 of Twig: 枝丫 by Anne Giles.

All content is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional advice. Consult a qualified professional for personalized medical, health care, and professional advice.

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