As coronavirus creeps closer into our communities, we find ourselves facing huge waves of collective fear. COVID-19 is not a killer virus like Ebola, where the death rate was 50%. In fact, COVID-19 Coronavirus has an estimated death rate of 3%. But it is spreading fast. New and unknown, we find ourselves without our usual medical tools of vaccination and medication. We are afraid of the possible number of cases, and of those cases overwhelming already stretched healthcare services. We’re afraid of losing people we love. We are afraid of death and dying.
In a world where we are used to feeling in control, where death is closed off behind closed doors, Corona is breaking through our emotional defences.
Fear can be our friend
Fear is a teacher. If we let it, it can show us what we most value, our deepest needs, and therefore how to come more alive.
What if, instead of panicking in the face of fear, we get curious?
- Ask yourself: What am I afraid of – really? Keep asking the question. And then what? And then what?
- Now, flip it. What does that tell you about what you love and value most deeply?
- And finally, ask yourself: What action could I take today, to express that deepest value? Start leaning into what you love. Now, today.
Get curious with your fear
For instance, let’s say your deepest fear is losing your parents or grandparents (a rational response to the facts, since this age group is statistically most at risk from Corona). You are afraid because you LOVE them. Because you deeply value FAMILY. So now, ask yourself – how can I be there for my parents / grandparents today? What could I say or do, as an expression of my deep love?
Or perhaps you are afraid of the isolation and fear Coronavirus is creating in society. Maybe you worry about your neighbour, who is a working single mom, terrified about how she would manage if schools close down. Or your friend who is a nurse, afraid of what might be coming. You might see, deep down, what you value most is CONNECTION and COMMUNITY. So how could you express that, today? How could you be there, for your community, what conversations could you start, what connections might you make?
Let your fear change you
Can you take it further? When Coronavirus is just a distant memory, how will it have changed you?
Come back to what you value most deeply. Now, ask yourself: How can I live this value more fully, in my every day life? What changes might I make to my routines or behaviours, to bring them into line with this value?
Fear is a teacher. It is a spotlight, shining intensely on what we love and value.
You are bigger than your fear
So, use your fear wisely. Don’t let it run the show, flipping you into panic, withdrawal and overwhelm. Instead, get curious. Sit with your fear. Listen to it. And let it bring your life back into alignment with what you love most deeply.
Elle Harrison (MA Cantab, PCC) is a coach and consultant for Wild Courage Limited. Elle works with people and organisations in transition, helping them stay conscious through change and find the opportunities within it.