Countries and communities are planning how to re-open in the next few days and weeks. It will be slow and tentative. We must be mindful of how we do it, not only for public health but also in how we want to be as societies and individuals moving through the world.

Many people have had their lives turned upside down, and do not have a clear way forward in their professional lives. For many of us who were in transition before lockdown, this was perhaps a welcome respite from the pressure of having to “figure it out.” Now, however, as society prepares to exhale, we may feel some pressure if we don’t emerge after 40+ days with our “answer.”

A lot has changed, and yet nothing has. One thing has almost certainly happened, though: we have learned something about ourselves. Perhaps we have recognized a long-dormant part of ourselves. Maybe we have had to admit, finally, that it’s time to let something go. Maybe the fog has cleared, even just slightly.

For those who are anxious about not having a clear path forward, consider these words from three wise ancestors — a mystic, a saint and a poet. All separated by centuries yet with a recurring theme.

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