Embracing the Unknown: Staying Grounded in Uncertain Times

Are you between jobs, homes, relationships? It helps to learn strategies for sitting peacefully in limbo.

These days, we're facing unprecedented levels of change, uncertainty, and chaos. In this post-September 11 era, in which economic volatility has become a mainstay, we're juggling parenting our parents, managing dual-income households, navigating globalization and living farther away from our families, fighting off digital overwhelm, and, in many cases, dealing with fallout from natural disasters.

In addition to all these outward changes, we're also being called on to transform internally. We are undergoing huge consciousness shifts, and many of us are feeling the call to evolve, and to embrace a new way of being. The majority of my friends, colleagues, clients—and even my own family—are all navigating uncertainty and experiencing some type of transition right now:

My husband, John, is in job-search mode after being laid off, and is wondering where he'll land next, and how he'll support his family in the interim.

Nicole is interviewing for her first job out of school, and is feeling scared, insecure, and unsure about what her future will hold.

Mary and Greg are waiting to hear from a federal agency to find out whether they'll receive the support they desperately need to assist their special-needs child.

Husband-wife team Sonya and Joe are wondering when they'll receive payment from their consulting clients, and if a check will arrive in time to cover their mortgage and utilities this month.

How do we keep our sanity—never mind our sense of inner peace—in the face of so much change? For many of us, living in the unknown can feel worse than receiving actual bad news. It can be unsettling, elicit a loss of control, and challenge the illusion we all hold dear: that we're in charge.

But, if you're willing to keep breathing and stay with this feeling, there is also a place within the unknown that is exhilarating, fresh, and filled with potential and rebirth. If you can move out of ”paralysis by analysis,” living in the unknown can be an incredible opportunity for spiritual, personal, and professional growth. Living in the unknown can provide you with the opportunity to

  • Examine your values (what’s most important to you?) and be willing to explore life from the inside out.
  • Practice gratitude, giving thanks for all you do have. A daily gratitude practice can shift your mood faster than anything else.
  • Define what happiness really means to you.
  • Identify your anchors and what you need to truly rejuvenate and deeply nourish yourself.
  • Live more in the present moment (right here, right now is the only truly stress-free zone).
  • Tap into your introspective side: Step back and take time to explore your fears and barriers to success.
  • Pause and examine how you see things: Do you play the "what if" up game or the "what if" down game; are you an optimist or a pessimist?
  • Build a support network: Get comfortable asking for and receiving help.
  • Imagine the possibilities: Are you open to expanding into an even better life/job/relationship/business than you ever thought possible?
  • Serve others. Nothing pulls us out outside of ourselves faster that working in a place like a soup kitchen.
  • Embrace your body: Breathwork, yoga, and other conscious movement modalities are essential tools for staying grounded in uncertain times.

We're all in the same soup pot, and it makes the journey a lot more savory to huddle around the campfire in good company. I'll save you a spot.

© Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health. All rights reserved. To request permission to reprint, please e-mail editor@kripalu.org.

Renée Peterson Trudeau is an internationally recognized transformational coach, speaker, catalyst, founder and president of Career Strategists, and the author of two award-winning books The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal: How to Reclaim, Rejuvenate and Re-Balance Your Life and Nurturing the Soul of Your Family: 10 Ways to Reconnect and Find Peace in Everyday Life.

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