As the external uncertainties in life continue (coronavirus numbers climbing, black lives matter protests, social distancing, working from home, the delayed return to school for our kids, travel restrictions, and our fragile economy), I’ve been thinking a lot about all the aspects of life that we take for granted, the ways we live on auto pilot, and how change, especially when it’s outside of our control, has an effect on every aspect of our existence. Right now I think it’s easy to say that most people are living with extra emotional heaviness, and while we can all acknowledge that change is inevitable and constant, and there’s little in life that we can actually control, the current lifestyle restrictions, uncertainty from day-to-day, and constant change is difficult. These feelings are multiplied when the natural stresses of our human journey are also taken into consideration: stress at work, conflict or difficulty at home (relationships or parenting), break-ups, loneliness, or starting over (physically or emotionally). Even changes by choice can feel overwhelming right now: self-improvement goals, buying your first house, changing jobs/careers, writing your first book, or starting a new relationship. It can feel impossible to heal and grow when everything around us feels so unstable.
There is comfort and peace that comes with predictability. How do we navigate this crisis and pandemic in a healthy and thoughtful way that allow us to grow and feel safe, or even create stability, when everything feels upside-down? I believe our attention needs to be internal instead of external.
- Create boundaries around what you’re consuming: eat healthy, reduce caffeine and alcohol, and minimize exposure to negative media. Feed your body and soul in ways that allow you to feel hope and peace, instead of anxiety.
- Take time for yourself to “escape” from the stresses of this new normal: laugh, explore, dance, daydream, focus on your breathing, pay close attention to your thoughts, and even closer attention to your inner voice. How we talk to ourself shapes most of how we perceive our life and make decisions.
Our greatest changes start within, and I believe each of us contains the necessary power and insight to control how our external journey influences our internal journey. Even more, I believe our internal journey will shape and change our external journey in wonderful, meaningful and lasting ways. Here are some of the things I’ve been thinking about lately as I’ve been working to process the loss of social freedom, struggled with sleeping, and experienced a decline in passion toward some of my dreams and goals:
- By embracing and truly accepting the aspects of life that are outside of our control, we release the desire to try and control the uncontrollable.
- The ability to shift your life in a new direction is deep within; not external but internal.
- When you’re feeling unhappy or lost, or you’re waiting for something to change or feel better or heal, choose a different mindset and open your guarded heart to the possibility of wholeness, and the other pieces will naturally fall into place.
- Growth starts in the heart, and it can take a long time to see the rewards of your consistent efforts, but no one is more worthy of your effort and diligence than yourself.
- Pay attention to the areas where you’re uncomfortable and dissatisfied; pay attention to your desires and biggest dreams. They are in you for a reason, waiting for you to open-up and release your deepest and greatest potential.
- Surviving is heavy and letting go is freedom, so don’t hold onto things you can’t control, can’t answer, and can’t change.
Life is a journey, not a destination, and we are simply in an uncomfortable season right now. While non of us would choose most of this change, and we are all desperate for life to feel more comfortable and free, there is so much potential for internal growth and self-love right now. Diamonds are created under pressure, and I believe we all have hidden beauty in our spirit that is awaiting discovery. . . maybe, just maybe, the tension and discomfort we’re currently navigating is exactly what we need to grow and bloom. Listen to yourself. Truly pay attention, acknowledge your feelings (happy, sad, fearful, lonely, etc.), and embrace what you’re experiencing. When we stop resisting all the energies living within us, or telling ourselves stories about how we should feel or act or live or behave, we are able to discover our true magic and elevate our spirit to a new level of peacefulness and belonging. This kind of self-love frees the heart of hurt, loss, heaviness, disappointment, fear, and uncertainty; all negative emotions that we hold onto to “protect ourselves” from additional pain, which actually restrict us from experiencing the kind of happiness we desire and freedom we deserve.
I encourage you to remember that each day is a new start, and that the efforts you direct toward your internal health will reward you with deeper self-awareness and appreciation, while releasing your spirit, heart, and mind of heaviness and hurt that doesn’t need to go with you from season to season, and chapter to chapter. With internal healing and connection naturally comes shifts in yourself that beautifully and powerfully influence the external journey. If there are things about your life that you wish were different but you don’t know how to change, look within and show-up for yourself day after day. The answers you’re looking for are already inside of you. I wish you peace and blessings in this time of uncertainty, and hope each and every one of us will look back on 2020 with appreciation for the growth we achieved and self-awareness we gained by being forced to live uncomfortably for an extended period of time. We are more adaptable, capable and resilient than we give ourselves credit for, so let’s make something great out of this unfortunate time. We’ve got this!