Finding Myself in Schrödinger's Dilemma - Kathy Varol

Finding Myself in Schrödinger’s Dilemma


Imagine a box. Inside the box is a cat that is alive. And dead. Both. At the same time. And the cat will remain both alive and dead until you take the lid off the box. It isn’t until you actually see the cat that it becomes alive or dead.

This thought experiment was conceived by Erwin Schrödinger in 1935 to challenge the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics, which posits that a quantum system remains in superposition until it’s observed. Just like the cat in the box, a quantum system exists in two states simultaneously until you know which state it exists with certainty.

Schrödinger’s cat isn’t just a quirky puzzle from quantum mechanics; it’s a profound metaphor for the countless moments of uncertainty that punctuate our lives.

I’ve spent countless hours, days, and even years of my life as Schrödinger’s cat. I’m guessing you have too.

Think about the times when you’ve been waiting in a purgatory of unknowns. Did I land my dream job? Is my date from last Friday night just as smitten as I am? These are moments when reality feels as though it’s been split down the middle, and every potential outcome coexists while awaiting the grand reveal.

This suspense isn’t just a mental exercise; it’s an emotional tightrope. We flirt with optimism but dance with dread. We temper our excitement, falsely believing that if we temper our excitement, disappointment will feel less disappointing.  All the while worrying that entertaining fears or hopes might somehow jinx our chances.

Sometimes, in very small ways, I find myself waiting for my fate to be revealed like Schrödinger’s cat. Waiting to see how an evening will unfold—instead of deciding how I want it to unfold and taking it in that direction. Or waiting for fill-in-the-blank, before allowing myself to act. Before allowing myself to step closer to the outcome I want.

The interesting thing is, when I do this, it’s as though the part of me tied to that event or outcome is frozen like a deer in headlights. Holding my breath. Stuck in limbo.

What’s even more interesting, is that in most of these instances where my insides automatically act as the frozen cat, I have way more agency than I realize. The truth is, learning to identify this internal state of limbo is the first step toward liberation.

With that in mind, let’s take a moment to dive in, and play with the cat.

Close your eyes. Allow yourself a few deep breaths, deeper than you’ve breathed all day (maybe all year!). Let your awareness sink into your being. Within this sanctuary of stillness, ask yourself: Where am I frozen in uncertainty? Notice if you can feel the tension of pending outcomes or the weight of unresolved hopes.

You might not have the power to dictate every outcome, but you can choose how you navigate through the uncertainty. You can choose to unfreeze yourself.

Schrödinger’s cat isn’t just a quantum conundrum; it’s a mirror reflecting our deepest uncertainties. But in this reflection, we also find the strength to confront the unknown.

The real magic happens when you decide to leap out of the box toward what you want. You can choose to no longer be frozen waiting for the right person, or the right timing, or everything to fall into place on its own.

You can choose to start feeling comfortable living within the questions, to not need every answer, and to know that life doesn’t come to us to be perfectly understood but to be lived in every direction we are brave enough to reach.

P.S. If you’re ready to unfreeze yourself, and start bravely reaching, I’d love to help. Check out The Shift Coaching programs I offer. 

This is your invitation to take action, and bravely start the journey to more aliveness, more spark, and more YOU.

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