Navigating Life with Grace
Confidently moving forward when life intervenes
A beloved reader posed a question that many of my clients ask in various ways, "What happens when I am rocking a solid work focus--and feel the accompanying confidence and sure-footedness but LIFE comes to distract me?"
I don't know about you, but I feel like this is the question of our time, don't you?
How do we navigate life with (a bit of) grace?
From major illness or injury (ourselves or our loved ones) to environmental or social crises in our communities, oh and let's not forget pandemics, loved ones dying, or major upheavals in our lives... what do we do when life becomes uncertain and our attention is drawn away from our work (when we would really like to be more engaged, not less)?
In this love letter, I want to offer you perspectives and practices to help you ride the waves of life and stay the course with the important work you are offering to the world.
Putting it in perspective.
Let's take a beat to consider the world at large - to consider LIFE. It is important to note that personal tragedy and upheaval, climate events, political drama, injustice, and war will continue as long as humans live on this planet. And those events seem to be happening with increasing frequency.
In other words, life rarely cooperates by offering up the perfect conditions. If you are waiting for the conditions to be what you believe would be ideal before starting or simply continuing to do the work you are here to do, I would lovingly encourage you to put the idea of perfect conditions aside, and plan to work side-by-side with the uncertainty of life.
When not if.
When the unexpected comes, and we know it will, it is vital to give yourself the time to be with the shock, the anger, the grief, and the sadness. Just because we know life will present challenges doesn't mean we must soldier on. To make wise choices, please give yourself time, space, and support to grieve, rage, question, and cry. Tend your humanness - offer yourself your own care and connect with beloved others who can support you so you can choose a way forward with clarity instead of confused repression or stoic obligation.
Gather your resources.
Especially when someone near and dear is facing challenges or we are witnessing something heart-breaking or horrifying unfold on the world stage, there can be a tendency to feel guilty for being well-resourced. So many empathic, sensitive souls spiral unconsciously into what I might refer to as sympathy scarcity.
I would remind you that gathering your resources and sinking into awareness and gratitude for what is here for you, now, not only comforts you but expands your capacity to be present for others and to be able to know, and act on, what is yours to do.
Make honest choices.
Only you know your values, priorities, and needs. Too often, women, in particular, make choices based on social norms of caretaking or even guilt or shame. Let's take a breath together, shall we?
There may well be circumstances where you walk away from your work for a time to take care of others or yourself - I celebrate you making that choice. But whatever you do, please do make a choice that reflects what you truly desire.
Your choice may mean that you have less time for your work at the moment, be fierce with your time boundaries. Give the time that you mean to give to yourself, to the challenge you face, and to your work in the world.
Last summer, after we moved and we were in the middle of a basement remodel, and I didn't have an office yet because life was upside down and so very unsettled, I gave myself 2 hours to coach and 2 hours to do a newsletter each week. I balked. I thought, "Why bother?" I wanted more time and I wanted office space and fewer disruptions.
But this was the honest answer. For months on end, I had 4 - 5 hours a week and during that time, I served clients and wrote. I was able to be flexible for contractors. I was able to spend time with my daughter and support my husband as he transitioned into a new job. Even less than what we want will move us toward our desires and eventually, always, circumstances shift and change.
Who do you want to be?
In writing the question, the reader really answered her own question. She says, "I want to meet the distractions with love, then return to my ONE THING."
Ultimately, that is always the answer, isn't it? Choosing who you want to be in each moment and honoring that choice, moment by moment.
So tell me everything - how do you navigate the ups and downs of life and stay the course with your work?