“The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.” — Joseph Campbell

In times of chaos and pandemonium, I can’t help but think, “Is all this worth it?” This path that I’m on… the sacrifices I have made, the things I have put off?

Am I living in perfect resonance with my intentions? Does the way of my being match the truth of my being?

What a gift this recalibration! But what a gift — wrought in a paralyzing fear of insufficiency, of wasted time, of uncovering the mythology of our implacable truths, the fragility of our certainty (where all of our security has been harbored). Oh, how safe we thought we were!

In times of chaos and pandemonium, nobody is spared from the reawakening of buried questions, and the doubts we convinced ourselves we had once already conquered. It is in trying times like these that we are reminded of a time long ago when we felt the vulnerability of uncertainty, and when the existential and metaphysical questions were the ones that kept us up at night.

We couldn’t sleep. Not out of fear, but out of the wonderment of how that the blank canvas of life laid before us would be etched. The possibility, and the infinity. We forget that part of our past. And now when we lay at night, it’s the finite that keeps us awake — not out of wonderment, but out of fear. We start to realize that the closest we ever came to conquering the doubts was before we convinced ourselves that we had already triumphed.

And now here we stand! Perhaps more afraid of the cave before us than ever before, because we realize not only that we’ve never entered it, but that it still holds the treasure we forgot we sought.

And yet what an opportunity — a moment of collective solidarity that we never realized we needed. The great equalizer in the universal reminder that we all have our caves and we all need to borrow a bit of courage from one another. Why not destroy our reputations, and become vulnerable? Isn’t it the best way to invoke communal solidarity? Isn’t it only in that simple act that our courage is duplicated, and transferred?

Or has the chaos and pandemonium already stripped us dry of any remaining courage? Will we hide behind our sanctimony, and pride, and focus solely on the preservation of our reputation? Will this moment, which offers us the gift of recalibration, be met with the willful denial that there is any cave at all?

It is what we choose to do with the courage we have left within us that will dictate our legacy to be echoed in eternity. It is how we choose to use the remaining courage that determines whether we’ve lost our spirit — that little voice that tried to remind us that the treasure truly mattered.

at the nexus of media and behavior change, founder @PathosLabs