Finding Our Way

The word “disaster” comes from the Latin negative prefix “dis” (without or away) and “astro” (planet or star). When this word was formed, misfortune was thought to occur because of the unfavorable position of the stars.

While most of us have moved away from believing our fate is controlled by the position of the stars, we have come to rely on other guiding orientations that we use to structure our day. In the same way our ancestors looked to the stars for direction, predictability and meaning, we tend to find comfort in the structure of what’s around us. Our routines. Our drive to work. Our favorite restaurants. March Madness brackets. Packing lunches for our children before sending them off to school. Stopping at the grocery store to pluck a few needed items off well-stocked shelves.

But now, things are different. In a time of uncertainty and unknowns, we find ourselves without the direction we typically use to guide our days. It is as if the sky is without stars. We feel lost. We aren’t sure of the way out.

But maybe we are looking in the wrong place.

Certainly, the order and structure that give life the shape we know have disappeared. Your job may look different – or may even be in jeopardy. You may have become a home school teacher to your children overnight. You may feel scared of the unknowns or mad that you are missing out on plans you were looking forward to. You may be missing the fun of sporting and cultural events, or even the camaraderie that happens over a restaurant meal. 

But if we look close enough, we may notice our constellations are still there. They are within us. There are constellations of hope and collaboration and kindness and compassion and altruism, shining in our hearts when our hands cannot reach out. 

We will find our way if we stay focused on our own internal stars. We’ll find goodness in the darkness – where the light can shine brightest. 

Be safe, and be good to one another.

Author: Alyssa Forcehimes, PhD

An expert in behavior change, substance use disorders and empathic communication, Dr. Alyssa Forcehimes serves as President of The Change Companies® and Train for Change Inc.® She lives in Arizona with her husband and two daughters.