It’s a popular phrase – “these times of uncertainty.” Implicit in this phrase, at least for me, has been an unconscious belief/wish/hope/expectation that at some point the times will become more certain. When I look around at my life and the world from the vantage point of my sixth decade, I realize I’ve been engaged in magical thinking in waiting for the arrival of this illusive moment.
There are times when we feel like we are on more of an even keel than others. We enjoy the harmony and want it to continue. As is often said, whether you’re feeling happy or miserable, don’t get attached. It will change. There is a wish for things to settle down, settle in and be predictable. At least so we can catch our breath.
It’s not news to anyone in the modern world that we are living in the midst of phenomenal and accelerated social, cultural, political, and technological change. The more connected we are virtually, the more accelerated it feels. The systems we built to get us to the present aren’t going to work for the future that’s coming. The new is unfolding, as it always does, though we can’t see it yet. The birth process can be a painful one and is not for the faint of heart. It’s even more painful when the old systems (which include us – our mindsets and expectations) attempt to control a natural process that cannot be controlled.
This uncertainty brings both excitement and stress into our personal lives. Lately, the pressure feels amplified. We see it around us in the stress of others and feel it in ourselves. Tempers are short. Patience is tested. Outlooks can seem gloomy.
It’s been quite a year for blame, criticism and manufactured fear. It’s also been a very challenging year for lots of people with so much loss and letting go.
So how do we keep our spirits alive and not become paralyzed in order to live generatively and generously? How do we keep ourselves engaged when it’s easier to check out and go shopping, binge watch the latest series, and/or lose ourselves in social media? (To name a few of my go-to’s.) A temporary and false sense of relief followed by a crash similar to a junk food binge. (I’m not saying we don’t need a diversion from time to time. It’s when we become addicted and immobilized that it presents problems.)
Connect. Care. Contribute.
Isolation is a dangerous neighborhood. Our public discourse has become more and more positional; breeding suspicion, distrust and even hatred between us. The answer is not to go to our corners and shore up our positions. It is to connect.
In times of stress it’s important to increase our vigilance around care – for ourselves, loved ones, communities, and the planet we share. Giving ourselves time to integrate conflicting feelings, resting, taking breaks from the onslaught to reflect will sustain us.
Action relieves anxiety. Offer what you can. Service takes us out of ourselves and benefits the greater good. Share your gifts and talents in any way that means something to you. Help is needed everywhere.
The Women at the Well New Year’s Retreat 2017 will focus on these things. Jan 4-6, 2017 in the magnificent redwoods of Pescadero, CA.
Nurture yourself with this quiet time to reflect, renew and re-orient yourself for the year ahead.
Early discount good until Dec. 15, 2017