lately things in my life have felt uncertain, unpredictable, and downright chaotic. truth is, this is always the case. my homegirl, Pema Chodron, says it best:
“As human beings we share a tendency to scramble for certainty whenever we realize that everything around us is in flux. In difficult times the stress of trying to find solid ground-something predictable and safe to stand on-seems to intensify. But in truth, the very nature of our existence is forever in flux. Everything keeps changing, whether we’re aware of it or not.”
so while everything is changing all the time, there are moments when we are acutely aware, excruciatingly uncomfortably aware. we are thrust into the middle of the manic movement. it tosses us around. it feels dizzying and unstoppable. we often flail and thrash around to try to force something to solidify or clarify or to try to grab a hold of something fixed to keep us flying off the earth’s surface.
how can we handle these storms without losing complete contact with ourselves, with our stillness, centeredness, and intuition that are always pulsing within? how can we move with the chaos, into the change, instead of against it?one thing in the moment
this is deceptively simple and uber-powerful. be where you are. be totally in your experience of what you are doing. right. now.
say to yourself: “right now, i am driving to the store.” then “in this moment, i am waiting at the stoplight.” and “right now, i am noticing the traffic.” or “right now i am looking for parking.” and so on…
it seems basic–and that is why it works!
bringing the brain back to the basics, focusing our attention only on the task at hand, can deliver us into the safe space of the now. unless there is an immediate threat or danger around, most stress we experience during times of transition, originate in our heads.
with this practice, instead of getting pulled into rumination or worry, we only use our brain to experience what is here & now. there’s no room for that thought-spasm that is trying to control a situation over which we have no control.
only present are the thoughts about the actions and observations of this moment.
there may never be any solid ground in our experience of life, as Pema is suggesting in the excerpt above. even in periods of apparent stability, things are always shifting, moving, ebbing, flowing. just when we think we’ve “made it”–in career or relationship, etc. things can change drastically in an instant. which is why, when our feeling of this groundlessness is heightened, it can help to connect with the literal ground and feel its support.
like to garden? great! if not, just find a place to sit or lie down on a rock or in a field or even on your bedroom floor…let yourself be supported by the ground and take in the sensations of where it is touching you. notice it is there, holding you, giving you a place to Be. without conditions.
other ways to ground: walk barefoot on the earth, hold heavy a rock in your hands, meditate with a grounding stone like Tigers Eye, listen to drumming, eat root vegetables, drink holy basil tea. any other suggestions to bring the energy levels down?
move with change
those of us who are regular visitors to the ocean are probably familiar with riptide safety 101.
- don’t panic
- don’t try to swim against the current
swimmers who succumb to rip currents do so because they exhaust themselves with the fight and drown.
let this be motivation to connect to the calm within. take a moment now to find it.
for me, when i bring attention to my physical center…just above the naval and above the lower back and move my awareness inward to meet in the middle from front of the body and back of the body, i can sense a steadiness there. i can also tune into my heart center and find calm there.
find your center. from that steadiness, relax. then move. don’t freeze, flail, or fight. roll and shift and sway and lightly dance into it, allow the change to guide you, and with radical trust, let go.
peptalk to yourself
this can feel like hard, scary stuff. go gentle with yourself. remind yourself when things feel particularly tough, that you are strong, brave, and fabulous for showing up to life.
this is how it is–the reality of life is all about change. moving into, with lovingkindness towards yourself is what it’s all about. suffer less…surrender more. remember that you have survived hard times before and we often emerge from strange churning and chaotic rumblings stronger, wiser, and more connected to our fellow human beings, who are on similar change-filled journeys. send yourself some love right now. you are doing awesome!