Fragility and Endurance

(Estimated reading time 3.5 minutes)

What you see depends on where you look and where you look makes a difference.


Our current global crisis reminds me that life is fragile. It’s actually always been fragile; it’s just that I have seldom paid attention. I have made my plans and assumed I would have the time, assumed I had control. It’s the uncertainty in the air that makes me pause to pay closer attention to what I see around me. It’s feeling life’s fragility that distills what matters.

Part of what I see is fear and pain, stress, suffering and heartache, but that’s not all that is here. I also see more beauty than before. I see greater connection than before. I see hopefulness and kindness and courage in countless acts as people find ways to help and support each other, to adapt what they’re doing, to push their comfort levels to learn a new way. I’m deeply grateful to be alive – for simple things like breathing, for flowers and clouds and the rain on my boots as I walk. It’s all here.  I realize that what I see depends on where I look, and where I look makes a difference.

I know that we can fight against this moment we are all in. We can resist it knowing that we did not ask for it, expect it, or want it, or we can let go of what we thought this time should have been, could have been. As we accept that this is the moment we’ve been given (along with all its uncertainty and fragility), we can also choose where to look because where we focus our attention makes a difference.


Knowing that life is fragile and could be gone in an instant, makes me realize that I really want to live. Not just make it through the pandemic, but really be alive in my life. I want to consciously make the most of the time I have. That has me focusing my attention on endurance – building my capacity for the long haul.

Living in a world of COVID-19 is starting to feel more like a marathon than a sprint. Not that I’m a runner, but if I was sprinting, I imagine all my energy and focus would be on that short burst of intense speed – a bit like those first weeks of the pandemic. If I had to run a marathon, I would have to mentally and physically prepare for something different. I would need to think about running at a different pace, and I would need to consider refueling along the way. I would need endurance.

As I think about the pandemic-marathon we’re running, I am considering how to adapt my pace, what I need to do to refuel along the way and how to change my thoughts to prepare me for the miles ahead.  


What do I need to do to develop physical endurance?

• Adhere to all the health guidelines – physical distancing, washing hands etc.
• Get some exercise every day
• Be conscious of what I’m eating and drinking

What do I need to do to develop mental endurance?

• Remind myself I’ve been through hard things before – connect to my coping capacity.
• Focus my attention on the beauty, hope, courage, love, connection and positive things I see around me
• Find something to be grateful for – even if it is that I’m breathing, or I can feel the sun on my face.
• Do something just for enjoyment – read, do a puzzle, listen to music, watch a movie, call a friend, paint, bake
• Connect to a sense of calm – walk outside and look at the surroundings, focus on my breath, listen to calming music, meditate, focus on a calming quote

What do I need to do to develop emotional endurance?

• Acknowledge and allow my feelings whatever they are
• Remind myself that I am doing the best I can
• Journal every day for 20 minutes – focusing only on how I feel. Let go of any idea of correct sentence structure, punctuation or that anyone else is going to read it. Delete the document or tear up the paper when finished.
• Talk to someone who cares.

What do I need to do to develop spiritual endurance?

• Remind myself of what I believe
• Find a way to connect virtually with likeminded people to help strengthen faith
• Find a way to start reintroducing spiritual practises or disciplines into the new routine in a way that works for right now. Start small.

“Have courage for the great sorrows of life and patience for the small ones; and when you have laboriously accomplished your daily task, go to sleep in peace. God is awake.”

Victor Hugo

If you’d like to talk about anything I’ve written in this blog or think coaching might be right for you, I’d love to connect. You can reach me here.


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