This past weekend my husband and I needed to have a crucial conversation with our middle schooler, but due to schedule conflicts, his mood swings and poor timing, this talk kept getting postponed. My anxiety around wanting to have this conversation sooner than later continued to mount, but in the midst of all these swirling emotions and feeling ill at ease, I was able–for a moment–to stand back and observe my discomfort, knowing it would pass.
Last week I experienced a similar moment at work while in the midst of heavy catch up after having been out of town for weeks. The emails, meeting requests and deadlines danced by in pairs, daring me to teeter right over the edge into a sea of overwhelm, but I kept breathing, and feeling, and asking, “Can I be where I am right now and be ok?”
Learning to accept my present state (read Being with what is) and feel my feelings (read Feeling=Healing) has been one of the most powerful lessons I’ve ever learned, and it will always be a work-in progress.
Over time, I realized three things: 1)if I can accept where I am without trying to change, it can provide a sweet sense of freedom, 2)I won’t die, drown or implode if I allow myself to truly feel what I’m feeling and it’s key to healing and 3)joy and bliss-just like pain and fear-come and go, too. Don’t get too attached to any one feeling–they’re all here today … and gone tomorrow. Kind of like the weather in Texas.
Some of the things that have helped me learn to “be with what is,” include:
Having a strong support network, a tribe, that can provide support and validation for the incredible, messy journey of being human (check out our Personal Renewal Groups and consider joining a group or facilitating groups for women in your area as a RTA-Certified Facilitator; these powerful groups have had an enormous impact on my healing over the past 12 years).
Practicing self-compassion and being gentle with myself (especially when I know I’m “triggered” and navigating intense emotional terrain). Consider my upcoming retreats, which are very focused on cultivating self-compassion.
Keeping the big picture (read cultivating a 30,000 foot view) and being around friends who can help me pull back and gain perspective.
Breathing and conscious movement: whether it’s through pranayama (balancing breath work), yoga, qi gong, energy medicine or walking with a dear friend–these practices really helps us navigate strong emotions, which are simply “energy in motion!”
Here’s a gift to support your process. Download Ch. 2 Peace Begins with Me: A Journey to Wholeness from my life balance title Nurturing the Soul of Your Family or order your copy on Amazon or anywhere you find books. I’d love to hear how navigate “being with what is,” on our Live Inside Out page.
Subscribe here to Live Inside Out, a weekly blog written by work life balance teacher/speaker and Career Strategists president, Renée Peterson Trudeau. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Good Housekeeping and more. Thousands of women in ten countries are becoming RTA-Certified Facilitators and leading/joining self-renewal groups based on her award-winning curriculum. She is the author of The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal and Nurturing the Soul of Your Family: 10 Ways to Reconnect and Find Peace in Everyday Life. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and 12 year-old son. More on her background here. View all her services/offering here.
Photo: Central Market, Austin, TX. Every year, my husband’s band The Austin Samba School, plays at an amazing Day of the Dead concert in Austin. Fifteen foot tall dancing puppets, like the one pictured here, are part of the performance. The audience loves the invitation to explore their mortality as the ghoulish puppets come to life.