Last weekend I saw the film Interstellar with my 12 year-old; I really enjoyed it. It was set in the future, a time when our soil was polluted and food supply and fresh air were dwindling. People had to re-engineer how to live and be in the world and seek out radical new solutions for survival.
As I pulled up in the parking lot to attend a yoga class yesterday (a necessity for me these days), I had an epiphany. I wonder, if in some ways, we’re not facing similar circumstances like the characters in the movie? If the level of uncertainty, busy-ness and transition most of us seem to be braving … is the new normal? If the thought, “Soon we will return to calmer times,” …. is obsolete?
Stress management gurus are concerned about what online addiction and digital overwhelm are doing to our bodies and psyches; neuroscientists are saying the level of multitasking we’re attempting may have long term negative effects on our cognitive functioning; politicians and economists are all in disagreement around what most needs our attention right now and mental health and wellness experts are saying we’re reaching epidemic levels of emotional and physical dis-ease. As I travel and speak around the US and beyond on life balance and stress management, I’m seeing exactly what the experts are describing. Additionally, my friends, family and just about everyone I encounter are navigating tremendous intensity and numerous life transitions.
So I’m pausing. And asking a lot of questions about where we are collectively and where we’re headed. I’ve always been fascinated by the work of futurists (when I was in college, I loved following the work of Faith Popcorn) and am wondering if it isn’t time for us to come together and re-think, re-calibrate, create a new set of tools and prepare for a whole new world –like they were forced to do in the movie. A place where things are permanently moving faster, feel more challenging and that requires us to re-frame and cultivate a whole new perspective and approach. A world where practices like self-renewal (read more), taking retreats (read more) and spending chunks of time in nature (read more) aren’t luxuries–but essential to our physical and emotional survival. A world where we partner, collaborate and co-create solutions.
Building your new toolbox—getting started:
-on a scale of one to ten (ten being the high end), how stressful/chaotic is your life these days?
-how is your emotional and physical well-being now compared to five years ago?
-what necessary shifts or changes have you made in order to adapt to these times (if any)?
-what practices/tools help you navigate these intense times (dinner with XYZ, walks around the lake, unplugging all day Sunday, etc.)?
-what are three words you’d choose to describe how you want to feel moving forward?
Ultimately, if our world is changing as fast as we think it is and if it doesn’t look like things will slow down but will actually keep speeding up, we’re going to be required to make both internal and external changes in order to survive and to create sustainable lives. And if we don’t …? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Happy Thanksgiving to all Live Inside Out blog readers. One way my family is choosing to nurture ourselves in these crazy times is to schedule unplugged nature immersions as often as we can. This week, we’re ditching the cranberry sauce and headed to the CA Pacific coast to play with the seals and whales. I hope wherever you are this holiday, you’ll take some time to step back, unplug, walk in the woods, snow or on the beach and reconnect with what matters most. (If this post left you feeling skittish, read 10 Ways to Become Comfortable with Chaos).
RESOURCE: What keeps me sane in these crazy times? Gathering with like-minded women in a nurturing setting and reconnecting with who we are. Learn more about joining a Personal Renewal Groups for moms or becoming a RTA-Certified Facilitator and leading self-care groups/retreats in your area here. We need you!
Subscribe here to Live Inside Out, a weekly blog written by stress management and life balance teacher 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: The new boardwalk bridge that extends out over Town Lake in east Austin. My new “go to” walk when I need to release stress, find my center and re-calibrate. Something about walking over water that’s so healing.